It’s all in the mix
Neighbourhood parking, bike parking, mobility hubs – ideas for a new mobility concept in Adlershof
The Technology Park Adlershof is growing and continues its success. On the flipside, however, the local transportation infrastructure is under pressure. Congestion, lack of parking, and public transport that is groaning under the strain. What can we do about it?
During peak traffic hours, one can tell things are going well in Adlershof because everything is standing still: traffic jams, jam-packed S-Bahn trains, and overcrowded tram stops. The site’s success is taking its toll. The campus is attracting more and more people. By 2030, it is estimated that companies and institutes will have 40,000 employees (currently 20,000). Adding to this are students and residents, whose number is also expected to double from 10,000 to 20,000. But the limits of the local infrastructure are already being tested, much to the frustration of commuters. It’s a tough insight to make: the traffic situation is having an effect on the people working in Adlershof who are finding it increasingly stressful. The results of a representative survey conducted by the Health Network Adlershof, which will be presented in September, give reason for concern.
WISTA is bent on tackling this issue and, as a first step, has commissioned a preliminary mobility study with the German Aerospace Center (DLR), including a simulation of the current and future traffic volume on the site until 2030. This will be the basis of a concept aimed at smoothing the traffic flow.
On the one hand, 40 percent use public transport to get to Adlershof, and 20 percent go by bike (which, after all, is twice as much as the Berlin average). On the other hand, one third continues to take the car to work. Nothing currently indicates that motorised transport will become less important, further exacerbating parking and congestion issues. During low-traffic periods, the campus can be crossed by car in 5 minutes. During extreme peak hours, however, it can take up to 30 minutes to complete the 3-kilometre stretch. Studies are now forecasting peaks of up to an hour. ‘However, this is probably not going to happen because people will soon start looking for alternatives,’ says Prof. Peter Wagner of the DLR Institute of Transportation Systems. According to Wagner, who bikes to work and is not personally affected by congested traffic, the main problem is motorised private transport. Of course, he says, traffic light switching could be adjusted to alleviate the situation in the short term but that will not be enough in the long term. The DLR researchers are sure that time loss during peak hours (7-8 am and 5-6 pm) in Adlershof will double.
It’s time for a change, according to Lukas Becker, project head for mobility issues at WISTA, but not for banning cars. ‘Many people depend on them; we can’t be an attractive business location and throw out the car drivers,’ he says. ‘Our goal is to grow! WISTA is a tool to promote innovation and business,’ he exclaims. ‘How can Adlershof grow if it is impossible to get here?’ Consequently, he says, it is essential to tackle these transportation challenges soon. Naturally, it is also important to persuade as many people as possible to take the bike, or public transport. The latter must be made more attractive through a higher frequency on the rails, longer trains, and better punctuality.
The ‘Mobility Adlershof 2030’ concept, which is going to be developed in the following three years, will likely take up most of these issues. Becker tells us about some of the measures that are planned: ‘We are thinking about a neighbourhood garage, initiated by WISTA, which could also offer services like a bike repair shop and a DHL parcel locker.’ Bike-only parking spaces are also planned. Additionally, a measure that could be implemented quite quickly is to emulate the cargo bike sharing model currently used in Adlershof’s old town to change delivery traffic. Lastly, it is planned to set up a mobility hub at Adlershof’s S-Bahn station, which provides access to bikes and electric scooters of various sharing companies.
Becker knows full well that a successful mobility concept must get all stakeholders to join forces – including Berlin’s Senate, public transport companies, and the entrepreneurs working on the site. It would be beneficial, says Becker, to have a ‘mobility coordinator,’ or ‘moderator,’ whose job is to reconcile all the relevant ideas and interests. Moreover, researchers should be integrated into the project. Becker: ‘Adlershof could become a testing ground for new ideas that could contribute to transforming transport elsewhere.’
By Chris Löwer for Adlershof Journal