The car is the dinosaur of mobility

Vladimir Putin imploded the German model. That model of broad outsourcing of defense burdens to NATO and the US, as well as the supply of energy to Russia, has failed. The third pillar of the model, the outsourcing of sales through exports, is also shaky.

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Countermeasures are being taken with the massive expansion of renewable energies and a special fund of 100 billion euros for the German armed forces. Now is the time to reduce dependence on exports, which primarily affects the automotive industry and the Chinese market in particular.

Federal cabinet adopts energy aid package

On Wednesday, the federal cabinet launched a € 1 billion citizen aid package.

According to the car lobby, one in seven jobs is directly and indirectly dependent on the car. Even if this was an exaggeration, the aim was to underline the immeasurable importance of the sector. This has always represented a concentration of risk and is becoming an incalculable risk to the soundness of the economy.

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The enormous need for resources and space, the poor quality of life in cities, however, make the car a technological dinosaur. The current crisis may seem like an existential meteor impact, requiring disruptive changes in mobility.

After the war, entire neighborhoods were demolished on the streets

Those who despair over current traffic policy should remember how the ruins of cities left in postwar Germany were often “polished” further to make them fit for cars against less resistance. Unfortunately, this ideology still has an impact in many places today.

This specific post-war mood can be explained by the desire for a new beginning and a suppression, to remove the remaining urban beauties as well. A striking example is the destruction of the two relatively well-preserved railway stations in the Berlin district of Kreuzberg.

Car-obsessed senator for construction, Rolf Schwedler, blew up the Anhalter Bahnhof in 1959 after the planned demolition failed several times. The demolition of the Görlitz station followed in the 1960s – for a planned “Südtangente”.

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At the time, Schwedler had not only planned a large-scale demolition in Kreuzberg. During his tenure, all trams in West Berlin were closed. This ideology continues. The tram lines to the west experience more delays, while the A100 continues to make its way through the city as a kind of “east tangent”.

It left the unfinished four-leaf clover of the highway at Berlin-Schoeneberg, from which a “Westtangente” was supposed to lead to a huge motorway interchange south of Potsdamer Platz. A courageous citizen initiative had prevented this, thus making a large park on the Gleisdreieck possible.

Corridors through Frankfurt and Hamburg

It was no less brutal in Frankfurt. There, too, the extent of the war’s destruction was so exaggerated in a specially made “rubble model” that it later had to be hidden for decades in the attic of the Hessian State Chancellery in Wiesbaden.

Urban planners of the time wanted carte blanche to turn the historic center into a car-friendly state. They got it too, had the remaining damaged buildings demolished, and several corridors cut through what was once medieval Frankfurt.

In Frankfurt, too, the climate for a different transport policy was poisoned until the 1990s. It took nine years, believe it or not, to fill a gap in the 740m long Konstabler Wache tramway network! Construction of the Ringbahn, planned since 1992, will finally begin in early 2022.

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Wide roads were also driven through the destroyed city in Hamburg and later motorways were built specifically for commuters in the surrounding area, for example to Lüneburg or Elmshorn. In 1958 it was decided to close the trams. Cars make their way through the city in free space.

Compared to Munich, on the other hand, Hamburg has very small metropolitan and suburban railway networks, which have only recently been expanded. The angry citizen prevented new tram lines. Here, too, the path from a car-friendly city to sustainable mobility seems to be very difficult.

In Copenhagen and Basel, people were smarter

Many other European metropolises should be car-friendly, even in Copenhagen the corridors should be cut through the fabric of historic buildings. Eventually, as in Basel, the population has kindly decreased. This has laid the foundation for sustainable urban development.

In administrations, in politics and in society, the self-fixed concept of mobility must finally be abandoned. The need for self-sufficiency and resilience should now increase the pressure for more economical use of resources and for reorganizing mobility.

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A fundamental debate is needed on our future mobility. How many cars will we need in the future? Is 15 or 25 enough instead of 45 million? So how should our mobility be organized, which creative spaces would arise mainly in cities?

The transport industry warns: possible cost trap with the 9 euro ticket

While some rejoice over the introduction of the 9-euro ticket on 1 June, the Association of German Transport Companies is concerned.

Electrification already allows for a great variety, from e-scooters to simple e-bikes and motorized cargo bikes to compact and light vehicles. You need much less traffic space. Housing and green areas could take their place.

Fast cycle paths, new tram lines, reactivated and newly built railway lines in rural areas, a European high-speed network and new freight train lines would create huge and sustainable investments and greatly reduce today’s dependencies.

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