This is how we will move around the city in the future!

Germany’s big cities suffer from exhaust fumes, traffic jams and noise. That has to change: our own car is becoming less important – buses, bicycles and rental cars are becoming more popular. The smartphone plays an important role in this.

There is something for every road user: rental bikes, trams, underground trains and various trains are waiting on Berlin's Friedrichstrasse.

JNow everything should go very quickly. The new Federal Minister of Transport, Andreas Scheuer, announced a funding program for local buses after just a few days in office. With 107 million euros, they are to be retrofitted with exhaust gas cleaning systems. The aim is to reduce nitrogen oxides in the most heavily polluted cities.

It is a component of the “Clean Air Immediate Program” that the old managing government agreed with cities and states for the metropolitan areas in November. The impending driving bans forced action. The controversial and quickly weakened government proposals for free local transport were added. It smells of activism. “All of this will not be enough and will only work in a few years. In the short term, we will probably not be able to avoid driving bans in individual cities, ”says Peter Vortisch, head of the Institute for Transport at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT).

Driving bans would be the worst case scenario

Driving bans – that is the worst case scenario for German transport policy. It is proof that large German cities are suffocating in traffic. That the limit values ​​for pollutants are exceeded because the cars are not clean enough and because too many of them are crowding into the metropolises. It is proof that cities still have a long way to go before they can organize their traffic in an environmentally friendly, congestion-free, space-saving manner and with little noise for residents.

Transport scientists and urban planners have been racking their brains for a long time about how this can be achieved. The idea of ​​a car-friendly city with wide streets, city highways and plenty of parking space that is as free as possible – these concepts of the 1960s and 1970s have long been obsolete. They have produced traffic jams, a lack of parking spaces and unacceptable emissions on the main roads. Since then, many new proposals have been born.

They always follow the same basic idea, namely to first reduce traffic by bundling living and shopping and, if possible, also work in new city districts in order to shorten the necessary distances. Of course, this takes decades before it encompasses the whole city, and sometimes it cannot even be implemented in the old building districts. There remains traffic. Driving a car is to be made less attractive, local public transport with S-Bahn, U-Bahn and tram is to be expanded and cycle and foot traffic to be increased. Apps on the smartphone are intended to bundle information about the individual modes of transport and make use more convenient.

But there was no patent recipe among the ideas. Because every solution creates opponents, especially among motorists. And so far every mayor has shied away from conflict with them. “Many citizens are not prepared to do without their car and a parking space and prefer to stand in traffic jams voluntarily,” says Peter Vortisch.

But the rethinking has started. Car traffic has already lost some of its importance. In German metropolises, the share of the distance traveled by car or motorcycle has decreased from 65 to 54 percent over the past 15 years. This is the result of an evaluation by the KIT for the FAS

Although this is significantly less than the national average, which also includes rural areas, the car remains the dominant means of transport. The share of local public transport has risen to a third, that of cycling has doubled – so “green” traffic has increased. It is particularly pronounced among the metropolises in Berlin, Leipzig and Munich. However, Essen and Stuttgart are far behind.