Transport and Urban Development
Cities play a major role in fostering sustainable mobility solutions. German cities are deploying a broad range of tools and measures to tackle air pollution, improve access to services and enhance safety. This includes the continual improvement of public transport, the promotion of walking and cycling, and new concepts for urban logistics. City administrations, public transport operators, and planning and design offices possess a rich and diversified body of knowledge reflecting not only their success stories but also lessons learned from setbacks.
Car ownership has long been considered a defining symbol of adulthood, success and even social status. Public transport, on the other hand, is often seen as a mode for the under-privileged. However, the negative consequences of our love for cars have become apparent. Air pollution, congested commutes and increasing fuel prices have triggered a rethinking of our transport habits, especially in urban areas. Renewed emphasis on the development of public transport, cycling infrastructures and pedestrian-friendly urban space has changed paradigms and travel patterns. A growing number of urban households have abandoned car ownership, opting instead for car-sharing programs. Urban renewal programmes, car-sharing programs, transit investment, cargo bikes, e-bikes and better mobile information all support car-free living, a trend that is becoming associated with a higher quality of life.
Throughout history, transportation has been fundamental to defining and creating urban form. Trends like sub-urbanization, the car-oriented development of the 1960’s and 70’s and the German reunification have strongly influenced urban development in German cities. While certain urban regions have experienced shrinking and aging populations, leading to high vacancy rates, other cities and suburbs have gone through construction booms. In both cases, comprehensive urban renewal and transport development strategies helped to maintain equitable living conditions.