Online Panel Discussion

Ways to a new mobility in Mannheim

26 May 2020
ZEW Mannheim

*Due to the Covid-19 pandemic the discussion took place online.*

Confronting the corona pandemic, the climate crisis takes a back seat. In industry and politics, voices are already being raised that want to reverse previous environmental protection measures in favor of the economy. But climate experts warn against wasting time and call for investments in sustainable technologies. The "Fridays for Future" movement, which has become a recognized player in the climate debate, is also currently experiencing quieter media coverage. But the activists continue to advocate more climate protection, albeit now on the internet.

At the digital event, the question of how we can and must rethink mobility in times of corona and climate change was examined. The focus was on the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region. As one of five model cities in Germany, Mannheim is a pioneer in nitrogen dioxide reduction. The aim is to help shape the mobility transition, for example by limiting particulate matter and reducing emissions. At the same time, mobility should remain fast, efficient, and affordable for citizens.

Will Mannheim live up to its claim of being a "model city"? Will measures in public transport such as cheaper tickets and more frequent services be sufficient to reduce pollutant emissions and make urban mobility fit for the future? Meanwhile, given the corona pandemic, shouldn’t we place much more emphasis on the expansion of cycle networks, e.g. to avoid infection hotspots such as public transport? With this in mind, we examined to what extent the economic stimulus packages that have just been launched can be used to combine ecological sustainability with economic recovery. Does the avoidance of emissions also lead to humans becoming more resistant to crises?

The event started with a keynote speech by the ZEW mobility expert Dr. Wolfgang Habla, summarising current research results on transport policy measures. Afterwards ZEW President Achim Wambach, the first mayor of the city of Mannheim, Christian Specht, board member of Stadtmobil Rhein-Neckar, Miriam Caroli and Laura Hober of "Fridays for Future" discussed with each other. Julia Wadle, editor of the Mannheimer Morgen, moderated the event. The audience was invited to contribute to the discussion with their own questions vía Zoom.