In the course of the pandemic many European cities seized the opportunity to accelerate the transition towards more sustainable urban mobility. Moving with the times, planners in Berlin created a number of pop-up bike lanes. IASS researchers have examined the impact of these innovations during the initial phase of the pandemic. Their findings show that the bike lanes are widely accepted and have encouraged cycling uptake. In addition, cyclists’ exposure to nitrogen dioxide decreased with the creation of the bike lanes.
The Berlin Senate has set itself the goal to make the city "climate-neutral" by 2045. For that to happen, the everyday lives of Berliners are going to have to change in a number of areas, including housing, mobility, and energy use. To get the ball rolling, the Senate has taken up an initiative from civil society and created the Citizens’ Assembly on Climate Change, which brings together randomly selected citizens to discuss climate mitigation measures in the city. The IASS will be providing scientific input for the work of the assembly.
Scientists at ETH Zurich have built a plant that can produce carbon-neutral liquid fuels from sunlight and air. The next goal will be to take this technology to industrial scale and achieve competitiveness. In a paper published in the scientific journal "Nature", researchers from Zurich and Potsdam describe how this novel solar reactor functions and outline a policy framework that would provide incentives to expand the production of "solar kerosene".
Retail traders often fear that reducing the amount of urban space made available for parking private vehicles would have a negative effect on their businesses. A survey conducted by researchers from the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) on two shopping streets in Berlin shows that traders have a skewed perception of their customers’ mobility habits. The findings of this research will facilitate better informed decision-making around urban land-use planning.
The use of autonomous vehicles is being trialled in cities around the world, with applications ranging from garbage collection to freight forwarding and public transport. Many of these trials examine not just technologies but also the social acceptance of autonomous vehicles. A new study by researchers from the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) and the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) looks to Singapore to explore how societies can best support the introduction of autonomous vehicles.
Berlin's Mobility Act aims to strengthen eco-mobility by improving conditions in the city for cyclists, pedestrian traffic, and public transport. How do changes in mobility infrastructure affect air quality? Researchers from the IASS have evaluated the impacts of two trials: a bicycle lane and a community street space. Their measurements show that air pollution decreased significantly during these traffic trials.
A partial transition of German road transport to hydrogen energy is among the possibilities being discussed to help meet national climate targets. A team of researchers from the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) has examined the hypothetical transition to a hydrogen-powered transport sector through several scenarios. Their conclusion: A shift towards hydrogen-powered mobility could significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and greatly improve air quality - in particular, heavy duty vehicles represent a low-hanging fruit for decarbonization of road transport.
The Senate Department for the Environment, Transport and Climate Protection in Berlin will close Friedrichstrasse to vehicles for five months. A section of this major thoroughfare is to be transformed into a car-free zone from 29 August. Experts anticipate increases in pedestrian and bicycle traffic. Researchers will study how the closure affects air quality, with scientists from the IASS helping to measure and evaluate its impact on air pollution levels.
The Covid-19 pandemic is having an effect on our mobility behaviour. As a reaction to the crisis, pop-up cycle lanes have been set up in Berlin to allow for safe cycling with the required physical distance. How have these new cycle lanes been greeted by the city’s road users? The first preliminary answers to this question can be found in the results of a non-representative online survey of 1,661 Berliners carried out by researchers from the IASS Potsdam and the TU Berlin.
Pop-up cycle lanes are currently springing up across the city of Berlin. The temporary routes are to be converted into safe cycle lanes by degrees. But what do Berliners think of them? A research team has launched an online survey to find out.
As well as helping to make sustainable mobility more visible, the STADTRADELN campaign exposes the weak links in Potsdam’s cycling infrastructure. As an online IASS survey reveals, the campaign only managed to convert a few people to cycling: nearly all of the participants were already regular bike-users.
How do daily newspapers in Germany report on the subject of urban mobility? For a study by the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) that explores how current and future urban mobility are reported on in the German media, a team of researchers examined a selection of articles from daily newspapers. The study reveals that sustainable forms of mobility are seldom discussed. Similarly, the climate crisis is rarely mentioned in articles relating to mobility and transport. If the articles have one thing in common, it is the implicit assumption that the car-friendly city is desirable.
Seit 2020 ist ein Abschnitt der Friedrichstraße für Menschen zu Fuß oder mit dem Fahrrad geöffnet und für dem Autoverkehr geschlossen. Das Berliner Verwaltungsgericht hat im Oktober verkündet, dass auf diesen circa 500 Metern der Friedrichstraße wieder Autos fahren sollen. Jenseits des Juristischen Streits dreht sich die Debatte darum, ob der Einzelhandel leidet, wenn Kunden nicht mit dem Auto kommen können. Aber diese Debatte greift zu kurz.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
From "four-year-old runs into car" to "cyclist falls under turning truck” – the wording of police reports and newspaper articles often shifts responsibility for road-related harms away from motorists. This shapes the way we think about road incidents and puts the brakes on an emerging shift in mobility.
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.
The transport sector is climate policy’s problem child. While emissions reductions have been achieved across every other sector since 1990, transport-related emissions have climbed by 3.7 percent between 1990 and 2018.
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.
On Berlin’s Karl-Marx-Allee a handful of parking spaces (173 to be exact) may soon be replaced by a green median. This has generated much public debate, with local politicians trading arguments on why these particular parking spaces are so worthy of protection. It seems that for some, parking spaces are still sacred cows.
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.