February 12 2013

Urban Mobility: Thinking Ahead is Half the Journey

My commute to the university is not very long: I take a train, another train, and I’m as good as there. Still, almost every morning I ask my mobile app to tell me which way is the quickest. Maybe today I’ll switch at a different stop? When exactly will the next train arrive – is there time for a quick spin by the café for some coffee?

Modes of transport/ public transport Berlin

It’s incredible how much I rely on the public transport schedule that my phone provides me with. What is even more incredible is that it almost works every time. When it comes to urban infrastructure systems, Germans certainly live up to their image of being timely and efficient. However, there is one challenge still to be tackled: I can take the overground and underground train, busses, and even the boat with one ticket – but what about bikes? What about cars? In the attempt to being truly sustainable, I believe urban planners should try to find a way to make cars and bikes part of the public transport system as well.

In a time where urban infrastructure systems are faster, more secure, and intelligent, the next challenge will be to combine different modes of transportation in order to establish a sustainable urban environment. Think about it: instead of waiting for that next train to arrive only to take it another five minutes – wouldn’t it be much easier to hop on to a bike and be at you destination in no time? Same goes for cars. Growing up in Berlin, it’s rather unnecessary to own one. But every once in a while you’re in a hurry, you need to carry furniture or want to go somewhere, the public transport can’t take you – having the option to rent a car along the way via your public transport ticket will narrow down your car usage to only these occasions.

One project, aiming to combine different modes of transport is momiles – a mobility system combining the use of bikes, cargo-bikes, and cars with one card.

The city of Düsseldorf even tried out a system, in which one card would combine public transport with car-rental and bike-rental partners.

Do you know of any other best-practice examples of public transportation?

Credits: Image by Luise Letzner. Data linked to sources.

Luise Letzner

Originally from Berlin, Luise Letzner currently pursues a Masters at HafenCity University in Hamburg, Germany, in Urban Planning. She also holds a B.A. in European Studies from Malmö University, Sweden, where she focused on inner-city redevelopment projects, place branding, and the concept of urbanity. She worked as a concept strategist and social media manager for several online agencies and in trend research, where she investigated new forms of communication via mobile and online technology, as well as trends within city marketing. Apart from Sweden, she has lived in France, Switzerland, and the U.S. and is fascinated by different approaches to the creation and use of public spaces within city centres. For The GRID, she investigated current urban and environmental design projects in Berlin and Hamburg.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 12th, 2013 at 9:54 am and is filed under Engineering, Environment, Infrastructure, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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