There are 81 large cities in Germany alone, each with more than 100,000 inhabitants. The following figures illustrate even more clearly the scope of the tasks in urban mobility in Germany: there are 109 large cities and metropolitan regions in Germany, each of which is home to at least 50,000 people. These 109 cities and metropolitan regions are home to 40 percent of the German population, but their areas cover just 7 percent of the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany. A high population density in a relatively small area – the consequence: extreme challenges to provide efficient mobility solutions.
To make matters worse, more and more of us are moving to cities. The UN predicts that by 2050, about 75% of humanity will live in urban centers. Meanwhile, there is a growing realisation in us that urban space is too precious to devote a large part of it to an inefficient mode of transport such as the car. The car, as the preferred mode of individual transportation, is responsible for air pollution, noise and poses a risk to users and remaining road users. On average, 1.3 people sit in a car on trips in Germany, which is highly inefficient. The global pandemic COVID-19 has even exacerbated the use in so-called individual transport, as commuters no longer dare to use public transport vehicles.
In addition to the social and health problems, inadequate urban mobility costs vast sums of money. Congestion and associated inefficiencies in mobility are common in and around urban areas (not only) in the EU. In the European Union, their costs add up to almost 100 billion euros annually, or 1 percent of gross domestic product GDP. On top of that, 3,700 people globally die every day in road accidents – these are 1.35 million people per year and a reality that we should change as soon as we can.
Urban mobility concepts thus play a crucial factor for growth and employment and for sustainable development in cities. This is because only mobile cities will be considered livable for existing and new residents. Urban mobility of tomorrow is hence, a top priority in metropolitan areas; the urban mobility of the future will determine the attractiveness of a city.
Many cities in Germany, such as Munich, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, and Berlin, have therefore adopted an Urban Mobility Action Plan. The various measures are then mapped and tracked in mobility competence centers in the cities. The challenge of sustainable mobility has taken hold of cities all over Europe, and in many cases, experiences are being exchanged and presumed 'best practices' formed. Paris, for instance, has made a name for itself as a so-called 15-minute city. Here, all inner-city districts are to be reached within 15 minutes. Copenhagen is the bicycle city of the north, a title that actually applies to all Dutch cities as well. In addition to that, solutions for improving mobility are also being developed in southern Europe, where electric two-wheelers play an important role.
Here at MOTION, we are dedicating a separate category to urban developments. Efficient mobility in urban centers is a sign of quality of life. In the future, the younger generations in particular will opt for cities that offer a livable environment that is sustainable, free of traffic jams and equipped with a rich mobility mix to choose from. Stay tuned for our exciting urban topics on MOTION.