Mobility is an issue that affects everyone. Today, a large variety of means of transport are considered a matter of course. Whether in their leisure time, in business travel or tourism – people appreciate rapid accessibility by car, bus, train or plane as an integral part of their quality of life and a prerequisite for the smooth functioning of business transactions.
In the future, it will no longer be possible to ensure mobility through one single transport mode or one particular technology, but the focus will be on interlinking various modes of transport.
Mobility in the metropolitan region of 2030
How will people move from one place to another in the future? For reasons of climate protection, the optimum solution can only be one that is not based on private cars. Cities without any cars are no option for the time being, but fewer cars are.
A fundamental change in transport habits will occur in the future. To guarantee a high level of mobility and the related quality of life, it will be necessary to connect all types of transport to form an integrated transport system.
The project “Perspektive 2030” (2030 perspective) addresses the development of mobility and communication until 2030.
If we time travel to the year 2030, we will find ourselves in a much denser and more metropolitan city of Munich. Housing is characterized by modern, energy-saving high-rise buildings, expanded constructions of post-war modernism with additional levels as well as renovated old houses. Nevertheless, as much green space as possible has been preserved: Floor space, infrastructure and green spaces have been re-designed in a balanced proportion.
Thanks to the restructured transport network, Munich has become a “city of short distances”. The links between the city of the future and the surrounding region are getting closer. Due to a strong influx of migrants to the Munich area, more and more people move to neighbouring towns and villages. As a consequence, commuter traffic will increase further. Because of the limited road capacity in the city and the rising petrol prices, many commuters depend on public transport.
By 2015 alone, the traffic in the Munich area will increase by about 15 per cent.
To cope with the large amount of traffic, attractive alternative means of transport are provided.
The population must be encouraged to switch from using private motor vehicles to public transport or to non-motorized travel, for example by bicycle.
Transport hubs enable people to conveniently change from one mode of transport to another. An intermodal transport system interconnects the various modes of transport and allows speedy travel. A wide variety of services are provided at transfer points, for instance luggage and bicycle storage or gastronomic facilities.
There are good connections between the towns and villages outside Munich, which also have access to the nearest regional centres through centrally located local train stations. Each of the latter is connected with the neighbouring centres and with the core of the metropolitan region, the city of Munich. There is a high-frequency short train service between the centres. A comprehensive rail network for suburban and regional trains, which run frequently until late at night, makes it less attractive to use the motorways. Motorways are beginning to be converted to railways.
Environmentally friendly measures such as commuter tickets, car sharing schemes, shared taxis or walking busses for school children are promoted. The increased use of electronic communication devices, which are getting ever more affordable, may result in reduced travelling activities by members of low-income households. In addition, those families are likely to use more economic modes of transport, such as bicycles.
To realize this vision, the transport and mobility policy of the city of Munich has made the principles of sustainability and efficient use of resources the focus of its attention. The spatial structure is consistent with the idea of the “city of short distances”, and the urban development concept is in line with the motto “compact-urban-green”.
Certain signs of overloading are caused by the growing number of people working and living in the metropolitan region and the related increase in commuter flows, particularly with regard to private motor vehicles. The expansion of the transport systems, the modernization of traffic management systems and the coordination and integration of different means of transport are measures that should help to avoid increasing the pressure on the existing structures. To implement them, innovative approaches and creative funding solutions are necessary.
Cooperative project teams devise concepts and innovative strategies to maintain and improve the mobility of all road and transport users while ensuring that these measures are compatible with other urban development requirements.
The Innzell Initiative is a joint project of the state capital of Munich and BMW, where representatives of politics, business, science and administration discuss traffic-related issues and develop possible solutions. The “Mobinet” project, supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, originated here. During this project, which ended in 2003, partners from industry, academia and government developed future-oriented political and practical concepts. The focus was on shifting road traffic to public transport systems, optimizing the traffic flow on main roads and providing information for travellers.
The “Arrive” project continues working on the solutions developed by “Mobinet” and is an important element of the cooperative traffic management policy in the region of Munich. It aims to find integrated solutions to present traffic problems.
The “MORO” and “SUM” projects address the development of residential and industrial areas and the related streams of traffic.
A MORO work group dealing with the spatial development of the Greater Munich Area seeks to disseminate the idea of sustainability in the development of the Munich region. In addition to exchanging examples of model solutions and agreeing on space-saving development principles, a detailed area monitoring system was established in each of the ten participating municipalities.
A project on housing development and mobility (SUM) aims to create favourable conditions for the development of residential areas which comply with environmental requirements and are affordable in the long term. The first stage focuses on regional points of view, examining the potentials of land in terms of developing regional public transport as well as the cost of housing and mobility at individual level, while in the second stage, the municipal point of view takes priority, including an analysis of the fiscal impacts of the designation of land for housing and follow-up analyses of potential development land and problems related to transport development.
Transport habits will probably change in the future. The conditions in the Metropolitan Region are certainly excellent and can be further developed. This process will take some time, though. What is important, however, is that the first steps towards greater future mobility have already been done.
The author studied architecture in Germany and Florence and started her career as a freelance architect and curator of monuments. She worked in Munich, Regensburg, and finally as head of department in the urban development/planning division of the city of Halle (Saale). Elisabeth Merk teaches at the Stuttgart Hochschule für Technik. Since 2007, she has been in charge of the Munich municipal planning and building control office.