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16 Jun 2020, 15:03
David Reay

Germany launches competition for green mobility projects as pandemic takes toll on public transport

Clean Energy Wire

Germany’s Environment Ministry (BMU) is offering hundreds of thousands of euros in funding for innovative green mobility projects. The Future Competition for Sustainable Mobility, or #mobilwandel2035, aims to stimulate creative mobility ideas from municipalities, regional networks, companies, universities and clubs, focusing on the digitisation of transport, easing traffic and improving rural living. The ten most ecologically and socially sustainable projects receive up to 150,000 euros to develop a transport concept for 2035. Up to five will share a further 4 million euros to implement their plans. The Ministry said the competition reflected the fact that more people are moving from rural areas to cities, as well as a wider digitisation trend caused by the coronavirus crisis. “We want #mobilwandel2035 to provide new impetus for environmentally and socially compatible mobility in communities," added environment minister Svenja Schulze.

The announcement came as a Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) report suggested traffic conditions in Germany will be worse after the coronavirus pandemic than before it. The MOBICOR survey, which looks at the sustainability impact of mobility behaviour caused by the crisis, predicts a significant increase in car journeys over the next few months if trust in public transport is not regained. However, it also found that Germans are largely willing to ride a bike or walk if conditions are right.

The corona crisis has shaken up thinking on sustainable mobility, with many people now less keen to use public transport and shared vehicles. Instead, vehicle journeys are surging. This is a problem for Germany’s energy transition, as emissions from the transport sector were already stubbornly high. But experts predict that the crisis may ultimately lead to fewer private journeys as more people work from home and walk or cycle to complete short journeys.

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