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#MobilityLifeBalance

Therapy for Gridlock

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Tags: AutonomousDriving, Efficiency, #MobilityLifeBalance

Traffic jams are annoying, but they are part of our day-to-day lives. How can we combat these time-consuming and money-swallowing delays? The aim is to strike a better balance between the desire for mobility and an improved quality of life.
Andreas Neemann, July 01, 2019
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Andreas Neemann wrote his first ZF text in 2001 about 6HP transmissions. Since then, the automotive writer has filled many publications for internal and external readers, showcasing his passion for the Group's more complex subjects.
As is the case every year, the peak holiday season of 2019 started once again with long traffic jams on the motorways. Before hitting the beach and enjoying the pleasant breeze and the sound of crashing waves, holidaymakers first have to survive the shimmering waves of heat radiating from the asphalt surfaces of motorways while waiting in kilometers of traffic.

Costly traffic jams quickly becoming longer

Costly traffic jams quickly becoming longer

Traffic jams are not just a phenomenon we see during the holiday period. According to the figures provided by ADAC, there were some 723,000 traffic jams in Germany in 2017. The total length of all these traffic jams combined was calculated at around 1.45 million kilometers. This meant that the combined traffic jam length had more than tripled since 2011 – with the figure for this year standing at just 450,000 kilometers.
Despite these shocking figures, Germany is not the worst nation in the world for traffic jams. A ranking of the cities most susceptible to traffic jams all over the world, which was put together by sat-nav manufacturer TomTom, reads like a list of mega-cities in newly industrialized countries. Sitting in first place is the Indian city of Mumbai, followed by Bogota and Lima in South America.
The daily madness of traffic jams is not just something that tests the patience of those sitting in them, but it is also a significant economic factor. When sat in traffic jams, vehicles consume more fuel, emit more pollutants and generate more noise. The delays caused by gridlock also cost companies a great deal of money. Experts estimate that the economic damage caused to Germany by traffic jams stands at around EUR 250 million. Per day!

Intermodality: the intelligent networking of means of transport

Intermodality: the intelligent networking of means of transport

We need to reconsider our own attitudes and behavior in terms of mobility and reduce the number of vehicles on the roads. Both of these tasks are, however, easier said than done. After all, population growth, increasing individuality, and the need for mobility around the world are on the rise. The passenger car is and will most definitely remain an important means of transport. However, it is clear that a well-functioning public transport system makes cities less susceptible to huge traffic jams. This approach has been verified by the two neighboring cities of Tokyo and Yokohama and their 38 million residents. Although the Tokyo-Yokohama area boasts the title of the most densely populated metropolitan region in the world, it only sits in 25th place in the world rankings for the most traffic jams. This can be attributed to a number of reasons, including the extremely efficient metro system that transports 8.5 million passengers every day.
Another decisive factor for the urban mobility of the future is that the various means of transport are well coordinated – intermodality is a sure winner. Luxemburg, for example, is setting up park-and-ride car parks on arterial roads to cities as part of a large-scale project to encourage car drivers to make the switch to the (free) trams. Electric scooters are currently enjoying a rapid increase in popularity as a means of transport for covering the last mile to the destination. The people who use these electrically powered scooters usually start their journeys in a passenger car, bus, or train. The bicycle is of course also enjoying booming popularity – both with and without an electric drive. In many European cities, private journeys in cars are currently being eschewed for bicycles. Even tradespeople and delivery services are increasingly making the switch to this mode of transport. Metropolitan areas such as Amsterdam and Copenhagen are now clearly giving priority to cyclists in the planning of the transport infrastructure. Bicycle rental stations in locations close to train stations are making it easy for people to get on board with intermodal offerings. New transport concepts, such as inner-city railways, also ensure that people in locations in which the infrastructure is either overloaded or simply not in place can also enjoy mobility.
Another decisive factor for the urban mobility of the future is that the various means of transport are well coordinated – intermodality is a sure winner.
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Traffic jams are an everyday sight in many cities

Autonomous solution on a small or large scale

Autonomous solution on a small or large scale

Self-driving vehicles could prove to be an important addition in the future, particularly if they are used as shuttle buses and robo-taxis and thus cause the number of private passenger cars in cities to fall. App-supported “ride-hailing” services – the summoning of an autonomous lift – can be offered at a higher frequency and thus complement the traditional public transport offerings well. The authors of a study by the consultancy firm Berylls Strategy Advisors have predicted that self-driving cars in various sharing models will account for up to 28 percent of inner-city journeys in 2035.
Today, automated driving functions are already making driving simpler on those occasions where traffic jams cannot be avoided. Modern assistants look ahead to find alternative routes. If you are already in a traffic jam, you can at least benefit from having a traffic jam assistant that moves the car forwards and brakes automatically, thus making an uncomfortable situation slightly more comfortable.

120000000 new cars
are predicted to be registered in 2040. Currently, 80 million new cars are registered every year.

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