Sustainable Mobility – what it is exactly

People use different modes of transportation depending on their goal. Need to get to work in the city from the suburbs? Take a regional rail train. Want to pick up groceries? Drive your car. Need to get through downtown quickly? Jump on the subway. Want some fresh air during your commute? Ride a bike. Unfortunately, for the individual commuter, it is not sustainable to have his bike, car, and subway pass always at the ready. Commuters often have to plan, prioritize, and choose. However, some public transportation systems and transportation companies are working together to devise sustainable mobility plans. Sustainable mobility is the simultaneous usage of multiple modes of transportation: bus, train, subway, car, and bike. The idea behind most projects is simple: people who already use public transportation are more likely to also use share-a-car or share-a-bike programs when given access.

Sustainable Mobility in Düsseldorf

On March 1st2012, Düsseldorf, Germany began its trial run for “Mobile in Düsseldorf” (MiD). Like many European and especially German cities, Düsseldorf has a complex public transportation system including busses and trams as well as street, city and regional trains. Recently, though, Düsseldorf has become a test laboratory for two car-sharing programs. Düsseldorf became the first city with competing car-sharing companies when DriveNow (a subsidiary of BMW) and Car2go (a daughter company of Daimler) began placing cars around the city for the residents to share.[1] These car-sharing programs expanded upon the business mobility that Nextbike created in 2008 when it began offering rental bikes.[2] Until now all of these programmes – public transportation, car-sharing, and bike-sharing – were separate. But with the idea that all of these programmes have similar customers, Düsseldorf’s regional transportation authority, the Rheinbahn, began offering an all-in-one ticket, “Mobile in Düsseldorf.” For 74,90 Euros a month, customers have access to Düsseldorf’s public transportation, Car2go, and Nextbike. MiD includes a monthly pass for all public transit systems as well as 90 minutes of Car2go usage per month, and 4 hours of Nextbike usage per day.[3]

Sustainable Mobility aimed at younger customers

Rheinbahn’s target customers are the student and young professional, who have not yet invested in a car and who still heavily rely on public transportation.[4] To attract such customers, each transportation system has concentrated on apps and mobile devices that enable customers to find and book a car or bike from their cell phones. Yet this heavy reliance on young customers could be MiD’s downfall. As of the beginning of May there were only 15 subscribers.[5] Organizers hope that by the end of the year the program will develop, but 75 Euros per month may be a little too much for financially unstable young adults to commit to. It may be necessary to try to appeal to older adults as well.We believe Rheinbahn is on to a good thing here, and hopefully with time and patience MiD might yet be successful.

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