Project Details

Agora Verkehrswende

Study: Cities as places of transport turnaround: Embedding urban mobility in national policies
On the basis of country examples, the study examined which steering models and strategies for urban transport are being pursued at national level and where their strengths are seen to support cities in introducing policies and measures for CO2-free urban transport. Nine OECD countries and regions (as a reference for the federal government) were selected and examined for the study.

Project goal

This short study addressed the promotion of CO2-free urban transport and focused on strategies and policies at the national level. The question arose as to what commitment by federal policymakers is possible and necessary, in addition to the traditional framework of federal policy, e. g. for public transport, to support the cities in their efforts to turn traffic around. The task of the study was to examine nine OECD countries or regions and their specific focus on CO2-free urban transport. The strategies and policies described were examined to what extent they could provide a stimulus for federal policy.


From the perspective of an ideal-typical national approach to the implementation of CO2-free urban transport with the ambitious setting of climate protection targets, the definition of responsibilities and rules for inter-ministerial cooperation, the establishment of coordination and dialogue mechanisms with cities and the corresponding support and promotion of climate protection measures, not everything appeared to be a one-stop-shop in the country examples examined.

It became clear that in all countries, governments directly or via medium planning levels have an influence on the design possibilities of urban transport in general and on CO2-free urban transport in particular, each with specific approaches and control systems, which are usually the responsibility of several ministries or authorities. In very few cases, the design of urban transport is explicitly oriented only towards CO2-free traffic, but it is often linked to other important urban transport issues, such as air pollution control or technology development. Most of the countries under consideration explicitly pursue national climate protection targets, but no specific reduction targets formulated for cities or for urban transport could be identified. In contrast, cities often set their own goals, for example within the framework of local mobility planning.

In most country examples, national assistance or guidelines for the creation of integrated urban mobility plans play a central role as steering instruments to achieve local and national goals. Accordingly, these countries also have monitoring systems for urban transport.  The cooperation and dialogue processes that the national level maintains with the cities are clearly different. There is an example of a rather distanced interaction between the national and urban levels, as well as for close dialogues based on partnership and more formal processes.

Role of Rupprecht Consult

Author of the study

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