"The future of mobility
means the combination
of different means of transportation modes"

We talked to Dr.-Ing. Martin Kagerbauer, Institute of Transport,
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)

Dr. Kagerbauer, you are a transportation researcher at KIT and conduct the research on MOIA in Hamburg together with the Technical University of Munich. Transportation research - what is so exciting about it?

How people get from A to B has always been interesting for me. Right now, I am particularly interested in the interplay between different means of transport and integrated mobility concepts. Thanks to digitalization and networking opportunities, a lot is happening here at the moment. New mobility services are currently entering the market and are being talked about. Researching the effects of these new concepts is extremely exciting.     

What’s so fascinating about these new concepts?

I see a large potential for sharing services such as ridepooling  to drive a mobility revolution - especially in combination with changing mobility habits and existing means of transport. The challenge lies in providing mobility even without car ownership, especially in metropolitan areas, without restricting the distance people can travel. But at the end of the day, public acceptance is the key to the success of the mobility revolution. 

What challenges do we face with regard to mobility change?

Amid a growing number environmental problems in particular, there’s a lot of pressure to act now. Regulatory measures such as the Passenger Transport Act also play a role. We can solve these problems if we can put together a colourful bouquet of different environmentally-friendly and emission-free mobility options, and if all offers are equally attractive. The aim here is to optimise existing services, as well as create new ones, in order to ensure that people can always get to where they want to go. For me, this change, or rather the future of mobility, means a combination of different transportation modes, offers and services which are consistently geared to the meet the challenges of the people. 

How do people choose which mobility service to use?

Research shows that time and cost are the main criteria for mobility-related decisions. Convenience and comfort also play a role, as does environmental friendliness. Ultimately, people choose the mobility service that is best suited to them in the current situation and brings the greatest personal benefit.

Have you observed a change in transportation behaviour due to trends such as increasing urbanisation, digitalisation, and increasing environmental awareness?

Definitely. Digitisation is the main driver  here. Particularly in urban areas, new digital offerings are reducing "dependency" on one's own car. We see that environmental awareness is also becoming more important, which has led to an increase in public transport usage and sharing services.

From a demographic point of view, we are simultaneously observing two opposing trends: young people in particular are no longer using cars as frequently as before, but they are using other means of transport and mobility services. Older people, on the other hand, use cars more than they did 10 to 20 years ago.

In the Land of Engineers, technical innovations are often referred to as solutions for mobility-related problems. Do you see sharing concepts as technical or social innovation?

Both! Of course we need new technology to establish new concepts. But acceptance is at least as important. No technology helps if it is not used. It is immensely important for suppliers to involve users in the development process in order to increase acceptance and to eventually ensure the success of the technology. In concrete terms, this means accepting their wishes and needs and adapting the offerings so they are more user-oriented. On the other hand, the behaviour of the population must also adapt. This is an interplay between supply and demand.

What does it take to change mobility routines?

Try it out, try it out, try it out. Pilot projects with innovative services are good. But the beneficial effects of, for example, pooling offers on transport and the environment only become visible with larger fleets. It is precisely for this reason that we need to make new offers tangible in practice so that people can learn how to deal with them. This is why MOIA in Hamburg is also important – because users can experience the positive effects firsthand. This has effects on people’s routines. But it takes some time - that's why we have to be patient before we see the effects.