News from Berlin

Article by Cristina Lynn

 

I have just returned from the 11th World Parking Symposium held in Berlin in late June.

Two days of presentations were capped off by a tour of various facilities in Berlin including a city car park, the car park serving the main Berlin train station and a technology park where trials are being conducted in EV charging and driverless micro transit. The tour also took in a visit to Curry 32, one of the traditional curry-wurst eateries in the heart of East Berlin.

All the presentations were interesting and generated a lot of discussion; however I just want to concentrate on a few highlights.

 

Cities make mobility – mobility makes cities

 

Cyclist in Berlin

 

The Key Note presentation was by Florian Lennert, Director of Intelligent City, an organisation which pursues applied research, knowledge-transfer and innovation at the interface of smart mobility, renewable energy systems, intelligent infrastructure and future city design.

One of his main messages was “cities make mobility – mobility makes cities”.

Berlin for example was not shaped by the motor vehicle (like many European cities) but by electric mobility systems both horizontal (the streetcar was pioneered in Berlin) and vertical (the first electric elevator was built by Von Siemens in Germany in 1850). The Berlin Summer Fair of 1896 was substantially an ode to electricity. It is interesting that it has taken 130 years for the concept of electricity, as related to transport, to be considered innovative.

In his presentation Florian made reference to a household survey by the London School of Economics (LSE) of 1,000 residents each in Berlin and London[i]. The report investigates how people’s attitudes towards transport modes, technology and travel frames their willingness to adopt new and more sustainable forms of transport. The key trends promoting new urban mobility are:

Urban change – denser, mixed use cities and a greater interest in urban living have lowered car dependency and increased the number of residents benefiting from greater accessibility.

New alternatives to the automobile – car use and ownership have levelled off in most cities with advanced economies as public transport, pedestrian and cycling infrastructure is upgraded.

Digital technologies and transport innovations – the mobile internet and smartphones have opened up new opportunities for accessing the city. The digitalisation of consumption is encouraging access-based services over more traditional ownership models, opening up hybrid forms of public transport, taxi services and shared car use.

The survey identified six mobility user type groups:

  • Traditional car-oriented
  • Pragmatic transit-sceptics
  • Green travel-oriented
  • Pragmatic transit-oriented
  • Technology focused-individualists
  • Innovative access-oriented

Which category do you belong to?

 

Read all the highlights:

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