Potsdam Project Group 'Mobiliy and Climate'

Cities have become important players in the mitigation of climate change and air pollution. Typically, actions on climate change and air pollution are planned separately, but we present a case for the city of Potsdam in which these two topics were considered in coordination. The city of Potsdam established an initiative entitled ‘Mobilität und Klimaschutz’ (Mobility and Climate protection) to evaluate and prioritize planned mobility-related measures and to consider their impact on a variety of areas – including climate change, air quality,  and noise. To carry out this process, the city partnered with scientists from the IASS project ClimPol, who brought expertise in air quality and climate change to the table. The project, which ran from 2013-2015, brought together representatives and perspectives from a wide variety of city departments, ranging from traffic management to climate protection to public relations. The initiative had a significant impact on the prioritization and thereby implementation of measures, especially those related to transportation, which was a focus of the initiative. For example, a measure to refurbish a section of road will likely influence traffic management, but more than that it could also influence noise levels depending on the surface used, and also air quality if traffic flow is changed, or mobility options if it integrates construction of a bike lane. The myriad effects of the different measures were evaluated in this project to be able to highlight and prioritize those with the highest benefit to the greatest number of goals. To learn more about the initiative and/or the process, please check out the paper (see abstract below), read the news brief, or if you would be interested in such a collaboration or more information contact Erika von Schneidemesser.


An Integrated Assessment Method for Sustainable Transport System Planning in a Middle Sized German City

Schmale, J., von Schneidemesser, E., Dörrie, A.

Published in Sustainability 2015, 7, 1329-1354; doi:10.3390/su7021329

Abstract: Despite climate change mitigation and sustainability agendas, road transport systems in Germany and the resulting environmental burden are growing. Road transport is a significant source of emissions in urban areas and the infrastructure has a significant impact on the urban form. Nevertheless, mobility is a fundamental requirement for the satisfaction of the human desire to socially and economically engage in society. Considering these realities and the desire for sustainable development in a growing city (Potsdam, Germany), an integrated assessment  methodology was co-developed among scientists and practitioners to prioritize a suite of transport-related measures. The methodology reflects the city’s qualitative and quantitative goals to improve public transport and promote sustainability, capturing synergies in categories that include environmental considerations as well as road safety, eco-mobility, and quality of life. This approach applies a multi-criteria analysis (MCA) to derive a practically relevant solution for the local traffic and mobility problems that fosters ownership and accountability of all involved. This paper reflects on the process of developing the MCA, and the different aspects that were found important and required consideration during the process. Recommendations on specific traffic-related measures and the assessment of their effectiveness are not given. The aim is that such process information could foster greater collaboration within city departments and similar transdisciplinary efforts.