In today’s society, we still want to be able to make our own, individual decisions about where and when to travel. Car ownership has traditionally been one of the most popular ways of fulfilling that need. However, the desire to be the master of one’s own movement is now making cycling a very attractive option, especially in towns and cities. Spatial structures, settlement patterns, flexible working hours and the increasing popularity of travelling for pleasure are causing traffic flows to separate off from each other, which means it is no longer so easy to pull the strands together. The transport planning of the future will therefore focus more on shared usage and on creating links between the different modes. It will also address the issue of energy. Linking the different modes will help improve the way existing infrastructure is used and, in particular, will help make urban transport faster and more environmentally friendly. Another advantage is that it will allow cities to run all their urban transport on electricity. It is easier to switch trains, buses, cars in car-sharing schemes, and bikes to electric drive technology than it is to make the same changes to private cars. Other journeys could be undertaken with, for example, hybrid cars that use renewable energies. A series of pilot projects has recently shown that sharing cars and bikes will be an option for many people, but that better public transport also has to be part of the equation.
This question was answered by Prof. Andreas Knie of the Innovation Centre for Mobility and Societal Change. More information can be found in his book Schlaue Netz – Wie die Energie- und Verkehrswende gelingt (in German, Oekom-Verlag 2013, co-authored with Dr Weert Canzler).