"On the Fast Lane into the Transport Transition": 3rd Regionalkonferenz Mobilitätswende in Ludwigshafen

Shaping the transport transition cross-regionally / Planning security is requested through the master plan of politics / Fuel cell drives for commercial vehicles are focused

[Translate to Englisch:] Bildquelle: Metropolregion Rhein-Neckar
Image source: Rhine-Neckar Metropolitan Region

Cars are still the dominant means of transport of everyday mobility in Germany. 57 percent of all roads and 75 percent of all passenger kilometres are covered by car. This is a result from a study of the German Federal Ministry of Transport. In German agglomerations like the Rhine-Neckar Metropolitan Region, persons drive 22 kilometres per day by car, in spite of short daily routes (an average of 37 kilometres per person). In the region, these are still for the most part vehicles with internal combustion engines. According to a survey of the division "Energie und Mobilität" (energy and mobility) of the Metropolregion Rhein-Neckar GmbH, 1.724 (0,12 percent) of the total of 1,4 million registered vehicles in Rhine-Neckar were electric in 2018. "We need a complete rethinking and a fundamental change in awareness concerning the mobility – there is no energy transition without transport transition. Liveable cities are created when the interests of drivers are no longer unilaterally the centre of attention regarding the distribution of claims for use," said Bernd Kappenstein, manager of the division "Energie und Mobilität" of the Metropolregion Rhein-Neckar GmbH, today at the launch of the third conference on transport transition "Regionalkonferenz Mobilitätswende" in Ludwigshafen.

Around 500 representatives from economy, science and politics accepted the invitation of the Rhine-Neckar Metropolitan Region and the Karlsruhe TechnologyRegion (TRK), in order to discover innovative mobility projects and discuss solutions for the future of mobility. On the forecourt of the Pfalzbau, participants and citizens had also the opportunity to inform themselves about the current state-of-the-art of alternative drive technologies, for example at the info booths of the Karlsruhe Transport Authority (KVV) and the Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Neckar (VRN) or during a test drive with a fuel cell car of the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI). The State Secretary in the Ministry for Economy Affairs of the State of Rhineland-Palatinate, Andy Becht, emphasized in his welcoming speech the importance of the topic: "It's the same with mobility as it is with society: Diversity is the key! Not everyone has the same needs and requirements on mobility. The overarching aim is clear: lower CO2 values. This aim has to be achieved with every drive technology in many ways. We should work on it and forward the development while remaining open to all types of technology."

Transport transition remains a community task
Kappenstein agreed with the words of the state secretary and referred to the fact that in a century with an increasing need for mobility and a diversity of mobility forms, a way of thinking in larger dimensions is decisive and may not stop in regional borders. The Chair of the Supervisory Board of the TechnologieRegion Karlsruhe GmbH, Lord Mayor of Karlsruhe Dr. Frank Mentrup, emphasized this point of view: " The 3rd regional conference on transport transition in Ludwigshafen shows how closely the Karlsruhe TechnologyRegion and the Rhine-Neckar Metropolitan Region collaborate on solutions for one of the central challenges of the present. Future-oriented mobility that meets the requirements of the people and contributes at the same time to the climate change, is only feasible across various regions."

Jutta Steinruck, Lord Mayor of the City of Ludwigshafen, welcomed the collaboration of the regions and pointed at the same time to the common challenges: "The increasing traffic and the environmental pollution in the cities make our mobility we were living in problematic and inefficient. We have to shape the mobility of the future better and more intelligently, with patterns of mobility that will be more diverse and complex." Stefan Dallinger, chairman of the Rhine/Neckar Region Association (VRRN), highlighted the importance from the viewpoint of the region that mobility bases and requirements for the residential, business and industry location Rhine-Neckar have to be still represented well in the future: "As smoothly as possible moving traffics – whether on rail, on the bike or on the road – are essentially important location factors of our region."

Clear course of politics is required
The discussions on the podium made something clear: The regions Rhine-Neckar and Karlsruhe have a lot of knowledge and expertise in economy and science in order to actively shape new mobility. Kappenstein emphasized that in order to expand such alternative mobility concepts together in a socially acceptable and economically successful way, a clear strategic course of politics is necessary:" The transport transition means for companies investments and risks in particular. Thus, we urgently need a common master plan that provides legal certainty and that puts huge projects on a resilient basis." Jochen Ehlgötz, managing director of the TechnologieRegion Karlsruhe GmbH agreed: "Due to the political frameworks and new opportunities in the field of mobility, we face fundamental changes in our daily working and living environments. Cities and regions will change and will thus have to face great tasks. The regional conference provides mobility actors with the opportunity to discuss as well as develop common strategies, which are technologically feasible and at the same time broadly accepted by society, independent from the state and sector." Anne Klein-Hitpaß from Agora conclusively put this in a nutshell: "For a transport transition we need a change in awareness and we need particularly a political framework that supports this change as well as rewards it. Briefly, this means: From the ministry or the guildhall into the heads and on the streets!"

"Verschlafen wir die Verkehrswende?" (Are we missing the transport transition?) and "Durch Bewusstseinswandel zur Verkehrswende – wie gelingt uns dieser Weg?" (Through a change in the awareness to the transport transition – how do we manage this?) were the titles of the two subsequent discussions. The tenor: When looking at the climate-friendly drive models in Asia, it becomes clear that Germany had counted on internal combustion engines and powerful vehicles for too long. Nowadays, there were also many approaches for a climate-friendly and interconnected mobility in Germany. The transport transition in the region is in full progress – even though belatedly. At the same time, many different drive systems and mobility concepts will coexist. If designed and used intelligently, this diversity unlocks considerable potentials, concluded Kappenstein.

Hydrogen as growth topic in the region
As announced in April, the European Union intends to prescribe a rate for, amongst others, clean buses starting in 2021. According to that, at least 22.5 percent of all buses newly purchased have to be emission-free until 2025. In the Rhine-Neckar region, they see advantages in using hydrogen especially in the field of such large and heavy vehicles, like buses, trains and commercial vehicles. "The hydrogen and fuel cell technology is a growth topic to us. In the Rhine-Neckar region, we aim at becoming the model region of hydrogen," emphasized Kappenstein. For this purpose, they want to create a partnership with the Karlsruhe TechnologyRegion and the RhineMain region.

In the afternoon, participants of the regional conference had the opportunity to comprehensively inform themselves in four expert forums with a total of 20 lectures about the solutions of the region in the public transport (e.g. on demand traffic"), drive technologies (e.g. hydrogen), logistics and freight transport (e.g. "low-noise nocturnal logistics") as well as mobility concepts from an urban planning point of view (e.g. "climate-friendly staff mobility").

Contact person 
Nils Fabisch
Metropolregion Rhein-Neckar GmbH
Phone: +49 621 10708-351
Email: nils.fabisch@m-r-n.com