Traffic peaks increasingly challenge our mobility system – due to high financial cost and loss of private and productive time. Measures like mobility pricing or more regulations are postulated, besides the expectation that new technologies (e.g. automated vehicles and respective traffic organization) might solve the problem. In this context a discussion took place at the VöV Podium “ÖV-Verkehrsspitzen brechen – aber wie?” with experts from the Swiss Federal Railway, VöV, economiesuisse and ZHAW/INE (www.voev-zh.ch).
From the systemic perspective traffic peaks are only the tip of the iceberg. To cut them in a sustainable way and avoid side effects, impact factors need to be addressed. Spatial structure, economy, society and working world are already discussed in this context. Less attention is given to the underlying basis, our mobility paradigm: increasing mobility is considered as a basis for economic and social development and for competitiveness. Especially in Switzerland, a high quality standard of transport infrastructure and services is taken for granted, while benefits of more and more mobility (demand) seem to be obvious without questioning the benefit-cost ratio.
Thus, from a perspective of sustainable development we would need to mentally decouple increasing mobility from our idea of wealth and economic development. Increasing mobility demand and supply need to be questioned asking:
- how much mobility is sufficient,
- which mobility is reasonable from a social and economic perspective
- and to develop flexible solutions related to regional frame conditions in order to increase efficiency in terms of cost, energy, time etc..
A strong and positive vision of our future is needed as a basis for that – not only reflecting our idea of future mobility but the quality of life we are aiming for.