Fostering sustainable mobility in North Rhine-Westphalia (Germany)

By News Editor / Updated: 05 Sep 2016

The traffic and urban planning approach in North Rhine-Westphalia, which has been orientated towards car use throughout the last decades, has reached its limits.  New mobility solutions and strategies are required to promote economic development and improve the quality of life in Germany’s municipalities – in urban and rural regions.

North Rhine-Westphalia’s new mobility network, Zukunftsnetz Mobilität NRW, is supporting municipalities and districts to develop and implement sustainable mobility strategies and concrete measures. It serves as a platform for exchanging knowledge and information, and regional co-ordination. In short, the network facilitates a cross-sectoral dialog across municipal and district borders while at the same time offering information and training.


The Ministry of Transport of North Rhine-Westphalia, together with the Rhine-Sieg Transport Association (VRS), initiated the Zukunftsnetz Mobilität NRW to support the development of sustainable mobility measures and the implementation of mobility management across NRW.

It serves as a platform to enable a cross-sectoral dialogue among municipalities and districts and to exchange information and knowledge. It is the successor to Netzwerk Verkehrssicheres NRW, the former municipal statewide network for road safety.

Several public and regional transport associations, and the NRW’s Ministry of Transport co-fund the network. The head office is at the VRS, whose goal is to transform from a mere public transport association into a mobility network. 

In action 

Four regional co-ordination offices across NRW support local authorities to implement mobility management measures. They provide consulting, information, networking opportunities and other services free of charge.

An important first step for local administrations is to acknowledge that it is necessary to collaborate to ensure future mobility – in many cases adjustments to existing work and planning patterns and co-operation arrangements within the administration are necessary.

The key to communal mobility management is an integrated mobility concept (i.e.  Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan). Like a master plan for mobility, this concept combines concrete solutions from the fields of infrastructure, construction, planning law, consultancy, and information and public relations, to create a single, unified strategy.  A mobility manager is the central, managerial point of contact and co-ordinates processes, giving impetus and ensuring communication between the various specialist sectors and departments.

Specifically,  the Zukunftsnetz Mobilität NRW offers the following services:

  • Qualification and  training
    • A seven-day course on communal mobility management - continuously offered to employees of local administrations (for an extra fee)
    • Transferring knowledge - research, best-practice examples
    • Trainings and seminars - moderation and presentation techniques, internal communication
    • Symposiums and conferences - exchanging knowledge with experts and professionals
  • Networking
    • Regional expert groups - for practitioners from local authorities in different fields of mobility management / sustainable mobility
    • Facilitating the regional exchange of knowledge and information
    • Facilitating the vertical exchange of information between local and state level
  • Consulting
    • Implementing a mobility management scheme within the local administration
    • Target-group-specific mobility management measures
    • Information and workshops regarding specific measures and/or the comprehensive ‘communal mobility management’ approach
    • Information regarding funding opportunities/programmes
  • Handbooks and materials
    • Brochures and handbooks: for example on mobility hubs, carsharing, mobility for senior citizens
    • Work materials: for example, for teachers and schools
    • Rental equipment for events

Zukunftsnetz Mobilität NRW is in its first year, and the response from municipalities and districts in NRW on becoming a member has been very positive. Symposiums, conferences and expert groups were popular and received positive feedback. In 2016, face-to-face meetings with the top administrative levels of municipalities and districts are taking place in all of the four regions to inform them about the benefits of membership and to conclude their accession.

The most tangible outputs were the communal mobility management training courses. Three took place in 2014-16 (two when the network was the Netzwerk Verkehrssicheres NRW)) and a fourth one will start in early 2017. In June 2016, the first 57 municipalities - cities, towns and districts –received their official membership certificate. They are considered as the founding members of the network.

Overall, the network has trained 55 municipal and district administration employees as mobility managers. The Zukunftsnetz Mobilität NRW plans to make this training a permanent offer.

Theo Jansen, the head of the mobility management department at Transport Association Rhine-Sieg (VRS), the head office of Zukunftsnetz Mobilität NRW, said:  ‘A different mobility culture is necessary and possible. The Zukunftsnetz Mobilität NRW supports municipalities on their way to sustainable urban and rural mobility.’

Challenges, opportunities and transferability 

Many municipalities in NRW have already taken on the challenge to tackle their current mobility and traffic challenges and to realise a transition towards a competitive, resource-efficient and multi-modal mobility system. They key to this is implementing a mobility management scheme within the local administration.

The Zukunftsnetz Mobilität NRW aims to support local administrations as a regional platform for planners and practitioners to exchange knowledge. Local initiatives and actions already taken in NRW’s cities, towns and districts are co-ordinated and aligned to attain the best possible results. Through the support of NRW’s Ministry of Transport, there is a genuine opportunity to bring forward the topic of sustainable urban mobility in the region. 

In Depth 
Urban mobility planning
Public and stakeholder involvement
North Rhine-Westphalia
Dennis Priester
Dennis Priester
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05 Jul 2016
05 Sep 2016