CITIES MOVE PEOPLE – PEOPLE MOVE CITIES
Whichever way you look at it, cities, people and movement belong together. Mobility was, is and will remain a fundamental need that we have to, and want to, meet. And we want to do so with human-, environment- and climate-centred mobility for everyone. But what does this mean in practice? The answer to this question has changed over recent years and decades. Some time ago, the cities set out to overcome the model of the car-centric city and promote sustainable, forward-looking and climate-friendly mobility. Never has the political and social consensus on the need to transform, change and renew our transport systems been greater.
To achieve this goal with all the stakeholders involved, to develop new ideas and find new partnerships, we need trade fairs like polisMOBILITY. The cities are key players in the transport transition. But there are many other actors that want to contribute and must do so – the Federal Government, the Federal States, transport companies, industry, the skilled trades and the logistics sector – we need all of them to transform mobility. All the theme worlds that polisMOBILITY has called into being and presented can also be found in our cities – whether that is “Mobile en route”, the “Green city” or “Planning & building”. The mobility of the future is an essential component of the human-scale city of the future. As “the voice of the cities”, the Association of German Cities (Deutscher Städtetag) is proud to be the patron of this event.
Do we need more mobility or less? The compact city
Even though the cities have already taken the first steps, there is still much to do. If the transport sector wants to deliver its agreed contribution to reaching the climate policy goals by 2030 and 2045/50, it must continue to reduce its emissions and noise pollution significantly. The share of fossil-fuel vehicles must fall considerably, and vehicles must be used more efficiently.
polisMOBILITY 2022 has embraced the mission of shaping the cities of the future together. The city of the future is a compact city. We must avoid expanding residential districts without connecting them to environmentally friendly transport systems. More cooperation between cities and their surrounding regions is needed. By developing high-density neighbourhoods with housing and leisure amenities for all income levels, distances can be reduced.
But that future is still a long way off – the quick wins will have to be achieved in other areas: We need car sharing in regional commuter traffic with convenient facilities for changing vehicles on motorways and highways. We need more and more attractive park-and-ride parking. And from the perspective of energy security and climate protection, we must also review the maximum speed limits on motorways and other roads.
When we hear the words “mobile” or “getting about”, our cars shouldn’t be the first thing that comes to our minds. That is why we need good alternatives in situations where the distances are longer. This means demand-responsive public transport provision with a much greater density. By the same token, good cycle path and foot path networks, mobility stations, sharing systems and cycle parking can increase the attractiveness of ecomobility.
Who do the roads belong to?
If we really want to make public spaces more attractive to spend time in, if we want to turn our city streets and squares into places for interaction and community, then we must change how we use public space. This will affect parked traffic first and foremost. Cyclists and pedestrians need more space so that they can get about safely and conveniently. And because more space won’t appear by magic, we need to redistribute the existing space in a different way. The goal is the right mix.
The cities want to shape many things: space, the modal splitand traffic on the roads. To do so, they need the scope to be creative. Specifically, they need the decision-making competences and the freedom to try out new models. The cities want to make traffic on their streets more efficient, more environmentally friendly and safer. Traffic safety, attractive living environments and recreational spaces, good design, but also acceptable traffic flows are high on their lists of priorities. The cities know best which speeds are required and appropriate on which roads.
The subtitle of this year’s polisMOBILITY is “Moving Cities”. These words stand for the future of mobility and urban life. I’m delighted that this is an issue that moves people – literally and emotionally. We need to look to the future. polisMOBILITY will bring together so many different stakeholders in a forum where they can share their ideas for tomorrow’s mobility. The event is an extraordinary opportunity and one we must take.
I hope you will all discover some exciting, new ideas at polisMOBILITY. Let’s listen to other people’s suggestions with an open mind and enjoy some excellent discussions!
President of the Association of German Cities (Deutscher Städtetag)
Mayor of the City of Münster
Markus Lewe, President of the Association of German Cities (Deutscher Städtetag), Mayor of the City of Münster