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02/28/2023 | Scientific points of view

Preventing mobility poverty: Demands and suggestions for policy and planning practice

In cooperation with project partners, researchers at the University of Kassel have published a policy brief. This is intended to show how mobility poverty can be reduced in planning practice and how social participation can be improved through mobility instead.

Image: Alena Fischer
Public relations work of the Social2Mobility project team with cooperation partners at the Mobility Market Langenhagen 2022. From left to right: Alena Fischer (University of Kassel), Franziska Henkel (University of Kassel), Aykut Ilaslan (City of Langenhagen), Calla Wilhelm (Hannover Region), Oliver Langer (City of Langenhagen), Moritz Engbers (Hannover Region).

A policy brief is a political recommendation for action in the form of an overview of existing challenges and possible solutions. The recommendations are a result of the research project Social2Mobility, a cooperation of the Department of Transportation Planning and Systems at the University of Kassel with the Hannover Region, the Mobility Research Group at Goethe University Frankfurt and WVI Prof. Dr. Wermuth Verkehrsforschung und Infrastrukturplanung GmbH from Braunschweig.

"A sustainable transport system should not only minimize the ecological consequences of transport, but also ensure social participation for all people, especially vulnerable groups," says Professor Carsten Sommer, project manager of the research project and head of the Department of Transport Planning and Systems at the University of Kassel. "We have found in the Hannover Region that not everyone has equal access to mobility," explains Moritz Engbers, a project staff member from the Hannover Region. "With the policy brief, we are providing planners with assistance to make mobility more equitable and enable social participation." In a next step, some of the measures developed are to be implemented in three municipalities in the Hannover Region in order to reduce mobility poverty. Mobility poverty is defined as the limited ability of a person or population group to be mobile - for example, due to poor transportation infrastructure or individual factors such as physical or financial barriers or fears.

In their policy brief, the researchers address, among other things, the following demands and recommendations for action to expert planners in transport, spatial and social planning in administrations (local and district administrations as well as state and federal ministries):

  • In order to reduce mobility poverty, social, spatial and transport planning must work together. The three specialized planning can learn and benefit from each other by working together.
  • The participation of vulnerable population groups in transport planning processes should be strengthened and can take place, for example, in cooperation with social institutions or with the help of real laboratories.
  • Social and spatial planning can use transport demand models to evaluate transport measures specifically with regard to the needs of vulnerable groups.
  • Transportation planning must take into account the diversity of different life situations and the resulting mobility needs.
  • Measures to increase mobility and social participation of vulnerable groups must be as low-threshold as possible.

The full policy brief can be found here.



Prof. Dr.-Ing. Carsten Sommer
FB 14 - Institute of Transportation
Department of Transportation Planning and Systems
Tel.: 0561 804 3381
E-Mail: c.sommer[at]uni-kassel[dot]de