Mobility in the city: clean, safe, stress-free

Mobility is an indispensable foundation of our economic, social and cultural activities. The research agenda “Sustainable Urban Mobility” of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) outlines how science and practice can shape the way to a humane and environmentally friendly mobility system. With the competition “MobilitätsWerkStadt 2025”, the BMBF calls on municipalities to submit proposals for model projects. The funding measure “MobilitätsZukunftsLabor 2050” aims to develop systemic innovations for the mobility of the future. Both funding measures are complemented by the BMBF's participation in the European funding measure “ENUAC” and the single research projects “CADIA”, “BüLaMo” and “MOBICOR”.

The mobility sector is full of dynamics: Digitization, electrification and automation have the potential to fundamentally change mobility. At the same time, attitudes and mobility behavior are also changing; for example many people are increasingly using means of transport flexibly and linking them together - they are traveling multimodally.

On the right track to sustainable mobility

The BMBF wants to contribute with the research agenda "Sustainable Urban Mobility" to the fact that the change in mobility is accompanied by greater sustainability. So far, the transport sector has placed a considerable burden on people and the environment, including climate-damaging greenhouse gas emissions, local pollution, noise and, not least, the consumption of land and resources. In addition, the infrastructure is partly overloaded and not easily accessible to everyone, which restricts individual mobility.

Sustainable mobility is shaped and becomes concrete locally. The research agenda therefore focuses on cities and peri-urban areas. Sustainability, thus, encompasses ecological, social and economic aspects. The task is,

  • to minimize transport-related emissions and resource consumption,
  • to ensure individual needs, health, safety, free development and participation of all population groups, and
  • to strengthen social welfare, competitiveness and quality of the city's business location.

The BMBF supports local authorities, among others, to work together with relevant players from business, civil society and science, to agree on these requirements and to find locally suitable answers.

How do we accomplish the transformation?
Technological approaches alone are not enough to solve sustainability issues in the transport sector. Rather, these must be brought together with individual preferences and design options. Therefore, the research agenda relies on a systemic approach. Changes occur in the interplay of technologies, urban and infrastructure planning, social behavior as well as societal and individual needs. By promoting sustainable urban mobility research, the BMBF aims to identify the starting points which are suitable for a mobility of the future.

How can research contribute to sustainable mobility?
Transformation of the mobility system is a longstanding process - at the same time, effective impulses to relieve the cities are necessary and possible in the short term. The objective of the funding is, firstly, to bring sustainability innovations into practice. Secondly, a sound basis for long-term innovation and transformation management is to be created.

The BMBF is currently supporting innovative sustainability concepts in mobility with various funding guidelines and research projects:

The BMBF supports around 50 municipalities with the competition "MobilitätsWerkStadt 2025" to shape the transformation of the mobility sector in cooperation with key players and multipliers from business, civil society and science. The common task is to develop sustainable, innovative and tailor-made local mobility concepts. In 2021, 14 model projects have entered a three-year implementation phase to test the mobility concepts in living labs.

Funding guideline (only in German)

Further information (only in German)



The BMBF is funding 12 inter- and transdisciplinary research projects that create new systemic solutions and impulses for sustainable mobility concepts of the future. The projects examine the interplay between transport infrastructures, mobility needs and behavior, they analyze how mobility is influenced by spatial, socio-structural, regulatory and cultural factors, they identify interactions and point out suitable starting points for changes towards more sustainability. In the process, system- and orientational knowledge is improved and sound foundations are developed for long-term innovation and transformation management.

Funding guideline (only in German)

Further information (only in German)

The BMBF is contributing two million euros to the European funding measure "Urban Accessibility and Connectivity". In this measure, 23 organizations from 16 countries are funding applied research to achieve a reduction in emissions and negative environmental impacts in the mobility and transport system, as well as safe, accessible and affordable transport systems.

Funding guideline (only in German)


The "Bürgerlabor Mobiles Münsterland" wants to show that a bus-based system can indeed be an attractive alternative for commuters, and thus reduce the problems addressed. For this to happen, however, public transportation must change: It must become faster and be usable more often, should be integrated into the area, comfortable and inexpensive. To achieve this, "BüLaMo" in the model region in the district of Coesfeld is relyingaims to implement on a coordinated overall system of public transport that includes the "strong axeis", a fine-grained development ofinfrastructure provision in the area and customer-friendly linking of transport measures.
Over a project period of three years, the project team, with the help of the citizens in the district of Coesfeld, will test how an individual local passenger transport system can become so attractive that the car is increasingly left behind and the individual offers are used.

Further information (only in German)


The "MOBICOR" project investigates Corona-related changes in the everyday mobility of people in Germany. In addition to the question of how the spatial and virtual mobility behavior of road users develops during the Corona pandemic, the focus is on the question of the permanence of the changed mobility.

Further information (only in German)



Connected and automated driving in road traffic is being researched by the "CADIA" project as part of a Japanese-German research cooperation. The focus is on the diffusion of CAD (Connected and Automated Driving) vehicles and mobility services as well as on factors influencing social acceptance.

Further information

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