A new mobility culture is needed

Modern technology from electromobility to digitization alone will not be enough to herald the turnaround in traffic to climate neutrality by 20245. Individual and societal attitudes must also change for the transformation. In other words: a new mobility culture is needed. This is the conclusion of a current study by the German Academy of Science and Engineering (Acatech), which was created as part of the “Integrated Urban Development and Mobility Planning” project.

As a premise, the interim report establishes that the current environmental and climate policy challenges force action. The world cannot rely solely on technical progress, but must also go hand in hand with a change in awareness among the population. Human behavior is strongly influenced by the social and structural context, as project manager Helmut Holzapfel emphasizes. “A cultural change is required for the mobility turnaround. To do this, we need to rethink our behavior, our settlements and our everyday lives. We have to think differently and act differently when it comes to mobility. In short: we need a new mobility culture,” he states.

The authors of the Acatech report see an essential approach to ecologically, economically and socially sustainable mobility in leaving the routines that have shaped mobility behavior up to now. It’s not just about the question of whether someone is traveling by bike or car. “In fact, other decisions are also closely linked to urban design and the transport system: where we live, where we work, what activities we pursue and how we get to these places,” explains Acatech member Klaus J. Beckmann, who is also a manager at the project contributes. As an example, he refers to the decision for a specific employer, which can have a very long-term impact on individual mobility behavior. For example, the place of residence determines the start and end points of routes, has an influence on the choice of means of transport and is just as relevant for individual mobility behavior as other personal activities and everyday routines. In addition to spatial and traffic structures, individual factors such as norms, values ​​and attitudes or socio-demographic factors also shape mobility behavior.

In the opinion of the Acatech experts, the long-term goal must be to avoid traffic – where possible – or to reduce the space required, to shift to other means of transport or to improve the technology. Economic incentives, clear rules and certain prohibitions can also influence or even control mobility behavior. (awm)

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