How Karlsruhe, Germany is tackling transportation challenges

As cities develop and populations continue to grow, there is one common challenge most places face: transportation. In southwest Germany near the French border, Karlsruhe, the second-largest city in the state of Baden-Württemberg, has had a three-prong plan in place since 2012. Working together with the administration, public and relevant companies, Karlsruhe developed the framework for a sustainable urban mobility system that not only highlights transportation development, it also ensures equal mobility opportunities for everyone in the city. Let’s take a look at how this plan will help the city meet the goals of its Urban Development Concept 2020 and act as a role model for other cities across Europe to follow.-Bruno De Man 


Modern mobility solutions

 Transportation and mobility largely depend on settlement structures and land use, with articles in publications like Intelligent Transport arguing, “The only way to work effectively is to forge a strong connection between urban development, mobility and environmental quality.” The city of Karlsruhe is looking at all three elements to determine the next steps in its mobility plans. The city is already seen as an expert in international transport projects, developing cross-border transportation solutions. In addition, Karlsruhe has designed and implemented a number of sustainable and low-emission transportation solutions. Case in point: the city has become Germany’s second bicycle capital, increasing bike traffic from 16 to 25 percent in a 10-year time span. Over the past two years, the city has also acted as a living lab for the state’s testing of automated and connected driving, working on technology for automated shuttles and buses, as well as automated car sharing systems. As for linking its transportation system, Karlsruhe launched the first TramTrain light-rail system, directing trams from the urban network over to the mainline, giving citizens more accessibility in terms of mobility throughout all corners of the city.

As Karlsruhe embarks on the “Smart Mobility for the Karlsruhe Region” initiative, it’s looking to step forward as Germany’s premier smart city with a modern mobility lab that “allows interested parties from around the world to experience first-hand innovative software solutions and new mobility concepts,” explains Vincent Kobesen, CEO of independent technology provider PTV Group, who are working together with the city on the project. The new lab will help establish a real-life traffic prediction system for the region to enhance urban planning strategies and make day-to-day traffic management as efficient as possible, creating a model that can easily be replicated in other cities throughout Germany, as well as around the globe.