Strategic Asset

Sustainable mobility

Mobility in different EU countries

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During the meeting in Darmstadt 2018 we talked about sustainable mobility strategies. The  discussion aimed to examine the differences in different EU countries, taking into account the specific situation of the housing social sector.

The general feeling is that car is still the main transportation modality all over Europe. Electric cars (also in car sharing mode) are starting to become more common, but they are still not a massive presence in Europe. Public transportation situation is quite scattered, with some big difference across countries and from big cities to small cities.

Bicycle, also electric, is a good chance in northern countries (e.g. Germany, Sweden) while it’s not really used for daily mobility in the rest of Europe.


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The mobility situation is patchy, there are some differences in each region.

  • Car is the main transportation system, it can also enter in the city center, but there are some limitations
  • There is car sharing in many cities, but the electrical car sharing is available mainly in big cities (e.g. Milan).
  • There are bike lanes, but they are not very used, because in Italy bike is mainly conceived for leisure activities, not for commuting.
  • There bike sharing is available in many city centers.
  • Pedelecs for heavy transports it’s not common.
  • Busses connect city centers, different cities and there are bus lines also at a regional level.
  • The tram is available only in few cities.
  • Metro is an option only in big cities (but also in some smaller like Brescia).
  • There are local trains that connected different cities, but they have bad connection at regional level.
  • Fast train create good connection between cities and regions, but they are expensive.
  • There are no boat connections, except for Venice and lakes.

People in Italy go by car, for example in Turin 79% of the displacements are by private car.

In new districts there are no compulsory facilities for sustainable mobility at national level, it depends mainly on single municipality building codes.

On the other hand there is a compulsory number of parking lots for new urbanizations (one per flat).

It’s required, due to a national law, that each big city (>100’000 habitants) adopt a “PUMS” (urban plan for sustainable mobility). This national law is from 2017 and local authorities will have to prepare the plan before the end of 2019.

Currently it’s under development a national plan for sustainable mobility.

There is an interesting example of car-sharing system in Alto Adige region that offers 23 stations in a total of 11 municipalities, thanks to a cooperation with Deutsche Bahn (Flinkster) and all the Flinkster network partners there are 3000 vehicles available in Italy, Austria, Germany, Switzerland and Netherlands.

The facilities compulsories at building level are:

  • 1 parking lot per dwelling in new building; if is not possible to allocate parking lots in renovation, the owner has to pay a monetary compensation to the municipality.
  • Bike parking, electrical car and bike recharge stations depend on local building code.
  • There are no compulsory facilities for car sharing.


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In Sweden the mobility situation is patchy between big and small cities. Generally talking:

  • Car is the main transport, it can also enter in the city center.
  • People use also electric cars to move around cities and regions.
  • There is car sharing in every city and in some cities (e.g. Göteborg) it can be used also at regional level.
  • Electrical car sharing is available only in some cities.
  • Bike is a very common mean of transport (also in winter period) and there is a good bike lanes network in every city.
  • There is bike sharing in every city center.
  • There are pedelecs for heavy transport in some cities (e.g. Växjö and Göteborg)
  • Busses connect city centers, different cities and there are bus lines also at a regional level.
  • There is a tram system only in few cities.
  • The metro is available only in Stockholm.
  • There are local trains and fast train connection at regional level.
  • Boat connections are only in big cities on the sea.

The mobility facilities depends on the city plan and agreement on development cost. They are not compulsory by law, but the cities often try to make the developers responsible for this. The situation is different in the cities around Sweden.

There is a 25% support for buying pedelecs or e-bikes for private persons.

There is a support for buying electric cars up to 6000€, and for installation of charging module up to 50% or maximum 1000€ per unit.

The facilities at building level are:

  • Number of parking lots in new buildings depends on location and size of apartments (normally 0.4-1 per apartment). Parking lots are not compulsory in renovation, adaption to demand is common. Mobility management can reduce the number required.
  • Bike parking in new buildings depends on apartment size (2-4 per apartment), there are rooms in the buildings for store bikes. Bike parking is not compulsory in renovation, adaption to demand is common.
  • Electrical car recharge station are not compulsory, in new buildings there is often 10% coverage and preparation for more.
  • There is no demand for e-bike recharge station, people recharge them at home.
  • Carsharing is not compulsory, but is often used in city to reduce expensive underground parking.
  • In new buildings there are parking for boxbikes and in some case boxbike pool to reduce ratio.


The mobility situation is different between big and small cities.

  • Car is the main transport, it can also enter in the city center.
  • Electric cars are becoming to be more common.
  • There is car sharing or electrical car sharing in every city center, but it can’t be used at regional level.
  • Bike lanes are very well developed and they are used during the whole year.
  • There is bike sharing in the city center, but is not very good because people don’t respect it, damaging the bikes.
  • Pedelecs for heavy transport is in a test phase.
  • Bus and tram work fine, connecting city center and different cities, but busses have big impact on air quality.
  • There is metro only in big cities (not in Darmstadt and Bremen).
  • Local trains connect cities and regions, but they are not always on time.
  • Some cities have boat connection in the center.

The plan for 2025 is that people will use less cars and more public transport.

To promote cycling a range of German cities has introduced “cycling street”, i.e. streets where bikes have priority over cars.

To reduce delivery transport in urban areas a parcel distribution by tram is the object of a research.

Already the food delivery is mostly done by bike.

It has become quite common for business to reorganize their car pool with corporate carsharing concepts involving also electrical cars.

Municipalities demand electric charging infrastructure to be provided in larger housing developments (as demanded by EU Building guideline).

Local laws (Stellplatzordnung, Stellplatzortsgesetze) that demand the construction of a certain number of  parking lots per new constructed apartment are questioned. Some cities as Hamburg and Berlin have scrapped those laws and let the market decide, others like Munic have reduced the factor of traditionally 1.0 per flat down until 0.4 per flat for social housing. Bremen allows developers to reduce the factor to 0.2 per flat when they provide a “mobility concept” consisting of either carsharing or tickets for local transport.

The facilities at building level are:

  • Number of parking lots in new buildings varied from 0.8 to 0.2 per flat, as written above. Parking lots are not compulsory in renovation. This is a big issue. The parking lots are very expensive compared to the free parking on the streets.
  • Bike parking in new buildings varied from 1 to 2 per flat, but tenants demand for more efficient space solution for bike storage.
  • Tenants demand for electric car and bike recharge station is growing.
  • Providing carsharing for tenants can reduce the number of parking lots that have to be provided in new buildings. Gewoba starts to develop mobility studies and concepts for neighborhoods. Selling power to e-carsharing providers can improve energy production schemes of new buildings and district heating.


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The mobility situation is very fragmented.

  • There is the car domination, but they are driving away from diesel. Most town centres are accessible by car.
  • Charging points are now in all major parks and in service stations on Motorways; they are now free, but this is a no longer situation.
  • Carsharing is not so common.
  • Bike lanes are fragmented, so the ride is difficult and dangerous. Somewhere the bike lane is only a white line without protection on an existing road. There are some cycle routs at regional level.
  • There is bike sharing in London and some city centre. In Manchester and Sheffield they have just been removed because of vandalism.
  • Pedelecs is only for private use.
  • Bus works fine in city center, busses are under cost pressures in regional mobility.
  • There is a good tram system in some city centre (e.g. Sheffield, Manchester).
  • There is metro only in a few major cities.
  • There are local trains connecting cities and region, but the service is very poor, it requires an upgrade. North-South is well connected, but Est-West is poor connected.
  • Fast trains connect only big cities.
  • Boat connection is not common.

In Sheffield city region 71% of people usually use car.

Commuting into Birmingham is currently split 50-50 between car and public transport.

In London only 15% of commuters use a car, but the vast majority of people travel to work by car and the West Midlands as a region is significantly more reliant on cars.

National Government sets out the “National Planning Policy Frameworks” for England and how these are expected to be applied. This national politics planning promotes sustainable transports.

Within this context, applications for development should:

  1. Give priority first to pedestrian and cycle movements, both within the scheme and with neighbouring areas; and second (so far as possible) to facilitating access to high quality public transport, with layouts that maximize the catchment area for bus or other public transport services, and appropriate facilities that encourage public transport use.
  2. Address the needs of people with disabilities and reduced mobility in relation to all modes of transport.
  3. Create place that are safe, secure and attractive, which minimize the scope for conflicts between pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles, avoid unnecessary street clutter and respond to local character and design standards.
  4. Allow for the efficient delivery of goods and access by service and emergency vehicles.
  5. Be designed to enable charging of plug-in and other ultra-low emission vehicles in safe, accessible and convenient locations.

All development that will generate significant amounts of movement should be required to provide a travel plan and the application should be supported by a transport statement or transport assessment.

“Clean Growth Plan (2017)” sets out how UK will meet its carbon obligations under the Paris Agreement. Considers several sectors (including housing). There is a chapter dedicated to “Accelerating the Shift to Low carbon Transport”.

Local Planning policy should align with the National Planning Policy Framework, specifically:

  1. bike storage was incentivized until recently;
  2. planning beginning to insist on electric charging points, but there are variation at a local authority level;
  3. transport plan are required for planning on every site.

In Sheffield transport assessment is required as part of planning applications dependent on development size.

The stated aims are:

  1. attract more users to public transport;
  2. provide appropriate access for the private car but not be dependent upon the car;
  3. provide cost effective travel choices, particularly for the socially excluded;
  4. improve public transport services to areas with poor access;
  5. encourage economic regeneration without increasing the level of car traffic;
  6. improve and protect the environment.

Requirements vary with local authority, scheme and sometimes officer so the situation is really fragmented.

The facilities at building level are:

  • For new buildings they aim to have 200% off road/in-courtyard car parking facilities for houses; 100% car parking facilities for apartments; 50% car parking provision for town centre apartments developments; and 100% car parking provision for conversions.
  • Sheds with bike locking or anchorage facility are provided for new buildings.
  • Electric car or bike recharge is not currently planned.
  • Carsharing is not expected for new or renovated building. Bolton at Home is exploring for providing staff electric car sharing facility, but not for new or existing housing schemes.


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The mobility situation is very different between Paris, where there is any kind of transport, and the rest of France.

  • Car is the main transport, it can also enter in the city center.
  • Electric cars are only in city centers, they have recharge station in public parking.
  • Car sharing and electrical car sharing are not diffuse.
  • Bike lanes are only in city centers.
  • There is almost no bike sharing (except in Paris).
  • No pedelecs for heavy transport.
  • There are few bus lines in cities and in regions.
  • Tram is in city centers and in restructured areas.
  • Metro is in city centre and partially in area near center.
  • There are local trains started from city center only.
  • Some cities have boat connection in the center, but are only for touristic purpose.

In Paris people are used to go by foot, walking is 47%, and by public transport (metro, busses) 37%. Private cars are only 11% and taxis about 5%.

In Paris region area car dominates with more than 50%, followed by public transport (metro, train, tram). Walking is just a way to go from home to transport station.

People don’t use bike, but there are bike parking in common places of buildings.

Since 2014 there are electric recharge station for car in subterranean parking (10% of the parking).

Regulations are on administrative regional level (region councils) in streets, buses and train policies. There is no other obligation for housing companies than bike parks and electric stations in subterranean parking.

The facilities at building level are:

  • 1 parking lot for dwelling in new buildings.
  • There are bike parking in new buildings, but the number depend on the number of dwellings.
  • There are electric car recharge station in case of subterranean parking in new buildings (10% of number of parkings).
  • Bike recharge station either carsharing are non expected.

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