The shortage of housing is a problem in many large cities and metropolitan areas. The building sector has for years failed to meet its environmental and climate targets. A position paper by the German Environment Agency (UBA) and the Commission for Sustainable Building (KNBau) at UBA investigates how affordable housing can be built without harm to the environment and human health. read more
Transport | Noise
The transportation sector in the EU accounts for more than one third of the energy used in the Community and is responsible for more than 25 percent of EU greenhouse gas emissions. Steadily growing levels of traffic, particularly in the commercial transport sector, in all probability cancel out the savings that can potentially be realized from improved engine technologies and the use of alternative fuels. Traffic generates not only greenhouse gases, but also particulate matter and NOx, which constitute a serious health hazard. It also generates noise, which at high levels is disturbing or even unhealthy for many people, not to mention its negative impact on quality of life.
Around five percent of Germany’s surface area is currently used for traffic – which means that we’re very far from the goal of cutting land use to 30 hectares daily for human settlements and transport infrastructures.
The fact that traffic noise occurs virtually everywhere and all the time is mainly attributable to increased transport, plus the growing number of noise pollution point sources such as lawn blowers and large outdoor events. Another factor is that many people have become much more susceptible to environmental pollution, particularly when it comes to noise. Noise pollution from cars, trains and aircraft can only be substantially reduced by implementing a broad and harmonized range of measures involving vehicle and road technologies, tax regulations, and traffic and urban planning.
A comprehensive sustainable mobility plan would need to (a) prioritize persuading all concerned to use eco-friendlier means of transportation; and (b) include emission reduction measures that use latest generation technologies. Such measures should aim to promote the use of quiet, low-emission vehicles, low-emission driving techniques, and eco-friendly driving routes. Supremely important in this regard is adjusting emission limits to today’s advanced technologies. Our goal is for spatial planning to be coordinated far more closely with traffic related considerations than is now the case. This would improve the quality of life in both urban and rural areas and would at the same time enable us to reach our air quality and noise reduction objectives, among others.
Energy consumption in the transportation sector should become a more important feature of the debate over the post-fossil fuel era and the shift from non-sustainable to sustainable energy resources. To this end and in the interest of reducing our carbon footprint, we need to incrementally increase our supply of renewable energy for the transportation sector.
The continuous monitoring necessary to achieve this energy supply objective, as well as scenarios for greener transportation in Germany, will be enabled by instruments such as the Transport Emission Model (TREMOD). This tool provides a key database for transportation sector emission reporting within Germany and internationally, as well as for various environmental representations for the scientific and business communities, in that it allows for analyses of all transportation modalities. TREMOD also lays the groundwork for the elaboration of concepts that embrace all forms of transportation such as multi-modality, increased energy efficiency, and innovative ways to power the motor vehicles of tomorrow.
In view of the fact that one of the mainstays of sustainable mobility is without a doubt the bicycle, at the behest of the Federal Transport Ministry and under the aegis of Germany’s national bicycle transportation master plan, since 2008 we have been lending our support to and overseeing projects such as publicity campaigns, research, traffic safety improvement programs and much more – all with the aim of getting our fellow citizens to use bicycles as much as possible for their daily transportation needs.
Our nation needs to adopt an environmentally sane and sustainable attitude toward vehicular traffic and the noise and pollution it generates. This necessitates a dialogue involving all sections of society concerning both urban and rural development in Germany – a dialogue that we at the UBA intend to be active participants in, in keeping with our responsibility to safeguard public health and the environment.
Impact of coronavirus pandemic on public transport
The coronavirus pandemic and the increased use of digital formats that it has triggered is resulting in changes in public transport. Fear of infection and changed work conditions caused demand to drop in 2020/2021 in Germany. Measures such as the 9-euro ticket have proven that it takes innovative approaches to make public transport more attractive. A recent study has evaluated ideas on the topic. read more
European Mobility Week: Sustainable mobility creates connections
Sustainable mobility connects people, towns and places. During European Mobility Week (EMW) from 16 to 22 September 2022, communities throughout Germany and all over Europe will put their creativity and resourcefulness on display to show that sustainable mobility can create ties between us in many – and better – ways. read more
Federal Environment Ministry and German Environment Agency name winners of innovative mobility actions
Temporary play streets, street sponsors, a cargo cycle festival or a “walking machine parade” are among the diverse actions promoting more sustainable mobility which cities, municipalities and nonmunicipal actors such as businesses, associations and schools registered in the competition. Fürstenfeldbruck, Karlsruhe, Kassel and Leipzig are winners of national prize for European Mobility Week. read more
Germany complies with air quality limit values nearly everywhere in 2021
Germany again had no exceedances of the particulate matter limit values in 2021. The 40 µg/m³ annual mean limit value for nitrogen dioxide (NO₂) is estimated to be exceeded at only one to two percent of the measuring stations close to traffic. More action necessary to protect health. read more
Creating sustainable links between cities and urban hinterland
Despite their separate administrative remits, cities and the urban hinterland are nevertheless closely linked and mutually dependent upon one another. A new strategy paper titled UMLANDSTADT umweltschonend shows how to link work and private life, recreation and mobility in cities and the surrounding areas, in order to increase the quality of life and to better protect the environment. read more
Aviation and maritime transport – Roadmaps to accelerate e-fuels
In this online workshop on 16 November 2021 policy roadmaps for accelerating the uptake of e-fuels in air and maritime transport developed by Öko-Institut, CE Delft and DLR on behalf of the German Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt) will be presented and discussed. read more
European Mobility Week: Safe and Healthy with Sustainable mobility
Sustainable mobility can promote health and safety. Walking, cycling or using public transport improves mental and physical health and keeps people fit. Low speeds and a traffic system which is geared towards pedestrians and cyclists are all part of greater safety in transportation. European Mobility Week which takes place from 16 to 22 September features citizen actions in towns and cities. read more