Headline: Blog

The IASS blog contains contributions from employees in all IASS departments and covers a huge range of themes. In addition to discussing the latest research findings and events, the blog authors comment on political developments.

 

Saving energy doesn’t have to mean social imbalance – but we will need to change our habits

Confronted with the illegal war of aggression launched by Russia against Ukraine, the German government is keen to reduce Germany’s dependence on energy imports from Russia as quickly as possible. Various technical solutions, along with a diversification of energy import sources, have dominated this debate. The possibility that consumers could change their energy consumption patterns has hardly been considered so far. Yet studies in behavioural science suggest that the savings that could be achieved in the near term are significant and could help to strengthen energy security.

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Reshaping the city – a top-down or a bottom-up process?

The debate on “Kiezblocks” (similar to the concept of low-traffic neighbourhoods) in Berlin has so far been driven by civil society. Now, the engagement of more than fifty of them has got the new red-red-green government coalition in Berlin to anchor Kiezblocks in their coalition agreement. Even researchers and the public administration are starting to take the idea seriously. But how does an idea go from a demand to a democratically taken decision, and then to implementation? Are these processes a symbol of participative urban planning, or is their being taken up in the coalition agreement instead a top-down government programme? Does it even matter? In this blog post, we hope to shed some light on these questions.

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German Election

The Desire for Continuity in Change

The SPD's success in the Bundestag elections is surprising, even though the polls predicted this outcome in the days and weeks leading up to the election. In July, polls by infratest-dimap and the Elections Research Group suggested that the SPD could win as little as 15-16 percent of the vote and a neck-and-neck race between the CDU/CSU and the Greens seemed likely. But things turned out differently, and now the Social Democrats are the victors, even though the SPD's 25 percent win is a far cry from the results returned by previous SPD chancellors.

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A win-win for cyclists – measuring effects of the transport transition on air quality

Recently, the team of the “Climate Change and Air Pollution” (ClimPol) project published an article in Environmental Research Letters detailing the results of a measurement campaign conducted along Kottbusser Damm in Berlin-Kreuzberg. In short, we found that the implementation of a protected pop-up bike-lane along the street reduced the amount of air pollution cyclists were exposed to by 22%. On its own this is a significant, but perhaps not unexpected result. However, to set these results in their proper context, first we need to rewind back to 2018.

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Women, gender, and mobility

The subject of women and mobility has been widely discussed in media, at events, and in politics since 2019. Again and again the core message of these debates has been: “Women’s mobility is different to men’s. They have other needs and requirements”. But what does that mean exactly? How can these differences in be explained and what are the implications for the mobility transition?

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Cycling through times of change

In Berlin, one unique change that has continued to develop over the past few months is the installation of “Pop-up” bike lanes on busy streets around the city. Citing the pandemic, city officials have been fast-tracking plans for new, protected bike lanes in order to allow citizens to travel safely by bike and avoid overcrowding in public transport. A recent IASS Study shows that these new bike lanes are strongly supported by people who identify primarily as cyclists, pedestrians, or users of public transport, but are disliked by those who identify as car drivers. While these results are unsurprising, they capture Berlin’s quite recent citizen-led shift in transport policy, ultimately culminating in the recent Mobility Law of 2018. That does not mean, however, that these new bike lanes are without criticism.

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Open letter

Covid-19 pandemic: Researchers and scientists call on government to enable safe walking and cycling

Scientists from the fields of mobility research, psychology and health sciences call for the provision of a mobility infrastructure in the face of the corona pandemic that enables the required spacing and promotes people's health. As society is faced with the COVID-19 pandemic, limiting contact between potentially infected and uninfected people is a primary public health concern. This necessitates urgent changes to public spaces to enable safe mobility and physical activity.

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The transatlantic mobility challenge

The annual conference of the parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is an important venue for stakeholders to highlight the blind spots of international climate protection efforts. The transport sector was one of them at this year’s COP23 in Bonn, missing from most countries’ climate pledges under the Paris Climate Agreement. In this neglected policy area, Germany and the U.S.

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