I started this blog as part of a year-long study abroad in Hamburg, Germany which was funded through a German Academic Exchange Service undergraduate scholarship. Through interviews and observation I was hoping to profile German transportation advocacy efforts and put together a packet of best practices that New York (and U.S.) organizations could use in their work for more sustainable transportation.
MOBILITY AS A FUNDAMENTAL GOAL
What I found was that there was a more fundamental issue that needed addressing first, namely the basic understanding of the goals of our transportation system. In the U.S. there is a lot of debate about mobility versus accessibility, which often seems to hamper both advocates and experts in their efforts to promote sustainable, integrated transportation planning. Many in the U.S. shy away from focusing on mobility because of its association with auto-mobility. However, instead of seeking to correct this auto-centric misinterpretation, we’ve decided it’s best to just concentrate on accessibility, essentially backing ourselves into a corner, leaving us with one last little bread crumb in our transportation toolkit.
This phenomenon is much less, if at all, present here in Europe. Mobility is the topic of conversation in transportation planning. Prof. Udo Becker at the Technical University in Dresden says our biggest challenge is how to create transportation networks that support “more mobility with less traffic.”
CURRENT PURPOSE OF THE BLOG
My year abroad ultimately led to a paper on mobility and its usage in U.S. transportation planning which I completed for an urban studies class at Hunter College in my final semester in 2011, where I graduated with a Bachelor in German Language and Literature. This blog now serves as a tool to help me further edit that paper as well as apply what I’m learning now as a student in transportation engineering (cand. Dipl.-Ing.) here at the Faculty of Transportation and Traffic Sciences “Friedrich List” at the Technical University in Dresden.
Any translations (German-English) on these pages are my own unless otherwise stated. For the most part I’ll try and use secondary and, where possible, primary statistics. All sources will be cited. Content provided on third-party websites that are linked on these pages is entirely the responsibility of those third parties.
ORIGINAL STATEMENT OF INTENT
“This work seeks to find ways to strengthen our work as transportation advocates through a comparative study of Hamburg, Germany and NYC. The research that goes into it is funded by an undergraduate scholarship from the German Academic Exchange Service (Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst – DAAD.) My focus is on ways to shift modal share from personal automobile usage to mass transit, bicycles and foot.” (from Sept. 2009)