Department: Mobility and Urban Development

Copyright: DLR

The city – the motor of economic and social development
Today, more than half of the world’s population is already living in cities. According to UN forecasts it will be around 75% in 2050. The significance of the city as an economic and living space is constantly growing. Mobility in urban areas is a topic where the social, economic and ecological challenges of the 21st century are becoming especially clear.

Urban spaces – global laboratories for changes in mobility
Many new mobility trends are appearing in cities today: In the inner-city neighborhoods of European cities, high rates of growth are being recorded in public transport and cycling; cycling infrastructure is being further developed. In addition, new provision such as car and bike sharing is emerging. Elsewhere, for instance in the large cities of Latin America, innovative transport concepts are also being implemented: efficient fast bus routes, the extension of cycle path networks or urban cable cars, for example.

One topic – many factors
Urban traffic is not only formed by residents’ mobility patterns, but also decisively by the character of urban spaces. These areas encourage or hinder certain transport modes and their use: sprawling areas of low density favor, for example, motorized passenger transport; mixed and compact urban structures, on the other hand, may encourage walking and cycling. Conversely, urban transport shapes cities: New transport provision makes destinations more reachable and more attractive, thus entailing changes in land use patterns and contributing to socio-spatial changes. At the same time, however, increased transport volumes in cities also leads to traffic jams, noise and air pollution, thus lowering the quality of life in cities and adding to global warming.

From the neighborhood to the metropolitan region
Our work focuses on researching the interrelationships between transport demand, urban transport provision and urban spatial structures. At the same time, transport and city planning interventions are also taken into consideration and evaluated, e.g. with regard to their impact on mobility patterns, the environment and quality of life. We also analyze both trends at city-wide level and the interrelationships with the suburban area or smaller-scale changes, for example at neighborhood level.

International and interdisciplina
Our research is internationally comparative and employs diverse methods, from empirical social research to spatial analysis, from mathematical models to scenario techniques. In the process, we cooperate closely with other departments in the institute, for instance in analyzing group-specific mobility patterns, urban delivery traffic, and the acceptance of new technologies and mobility concepts.

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