A new report looking at attitudes and behaviour of urban residents in relation to daily travel in Berlin and London finds that:

  • changes in urban mobility are no longer following traditional patterns of motorisation
  • policy makers need to embrace an increasing number of alternatives, including cycling and walking, as main modes of travel, as well as bike and car sharing, multimodal travel options and electric vehicles
  • smartphone applications now support people’s travel decisions as they move through the city, opening up possibilities for smarter mobility services that respond flexibly to user needs
  • it is the combination of understanding user behaviour and using transport policy to target specific groups of users that will bring about change towards more sustainable travel

The report is by LSE Cities at the London School of Economics and Political Science and the Innovation Centre for Mobility and Societal Change (InnoZ). It is supported by the German Federal Ministry for Transport, Building and Urban Development and Deutsche Bank’s Alfred Herrhausen Society. It was released yesterday in Berlin.

The report identifies three key trends promoting new urban mobility:

  1. Urban change - denser, mixed use cities and a greater interest in urban living have lowered car dependency and increased the number of residents benefiting from greater accessibility
  2. New alternatives to the automobile - car use and ownership have levelled off in most cities with advanced economies as public transport, pedestrian and cycling infrastructure is upgraded
  3. Digital technologies and transport innovations - the mobile internet and smartphones have opened up new opportunities for accessing the city. The digitalisation of consumption is encouraging access-based services over more traditional ownership models, opening up hybrid forms of public transport, taxi services and shared car use

According to the report, "Berlin and London share considerable shifts away from traditional patterns of urban mobility. They are dynamic cities, experiencing extensive socio-economic pressures with high levels of national and international in-migration and related processes of inner-city gentrification. Both cities have forward-thinking city governments that have implemented progressive land-use and transport planning policies through investing heavily in public transport, walking, cycling and the public realm. Furthermore, both cities have thriving tech industries and are using this economic specialisation to foster innovation in electric vehicles, car sharing schemes, smart cards and mobile travel apps."

The report believes that the above combination of factors mean that Berlin and London are ahead of the curve in relation to changing travel patterns and therefore of relevance to other cities. The report notes that despite this similarity, there are differences between the two cities including in policy areas.

Based on surveys of 1000 residents in each city, the 49 page report has much useful information on how transport choices and attitudes in two key cities are changing that will be relevant to and useful for place management professionals. The report segments those surveyed into six distinct mobility attitude groups that will also have potential wider relevance.