Polish and German municipalities experience sustainable mobility in Essen

As part of European Mobility Week 2017, Polish and German municipalities explored the potential of sustainable mobility for liveable cities and municipalities from 19 to 21 September. adelphi organised and moderated the three-day workshop, the highlight of which was a multimodal excursion in Essen.


For three days, around 35 municipal government stakeholders, including mayors, exchanged views on “sustainable mobility as a contribution to municipal climate protection.” The workshop was part of European Mobility Week, which takes place every September. The city of Essen, European Green Capital 2017, served as the workshop setting. For some time now, the city in the centre of the Ruhr has been focusing on climate change mitigation measures with a particular focus on better connecting the various modes of transportation (“intermodality”). This includes the development of a bike paths network under the leadership of the Ruhr regional association and in cooperation with the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. One prominent example is the first "biking highway" in Germany, RS1, which is set to cross the Ruhr area for more than 100 km by the end of the construction period.

Before embarking on an exploration tour by bike, foot and public transport, adelphi organised a two-day expert dialogue for the participants. They were surprised at what even small municipalities can achieve in the short and long term when mobility measures are planned wisely and implemented accordingly. The main focus was on approaches to promote cycling, since there is an increasingly strong demand for safe and bike-friendly infrastructure in Polish cities as well. The issue will become even more important in the coming years in smog-laden inner-city metropolitan areas. For smaller municipalities, focusing on strengthening bicycle traffic, which in Poland is often undertaken in parallel to the construction of bypass routes, is a proven instrument to revalue town centres and connect districts. The issue of accessibility already depicts a "new paradigm of mobility planning" in cities and municipalities, explains mobility researcher Daniel Krajzewicz from the German Aerospace Center (DLR).

Anne Klein-Hitpass from Agora Verkehrswende and Marcin Korolec, former Polish Minister of the Environment and current head of an NGO promoting electro-mobility, had differing opinions about which role electric vehicles should have in a new, sustainable approach to mobility. This topic was discussed controversially with the plenary and was particularly relevant for German cities due to the diesel scandal.

For the third time, the municipalities of the project "Polish-German cooperation on low-emission economy in cities" met to exchange ideas on the low-emission economy. The event also offered a platform for the project’s city partnerships to further develop their joint low-emission projects. They are currently elaborating their project sketches, with the first steps towards implementation being planned this year.