What does soft mobility actually mean? The term comes up again and again in the news - or when searching for vacation offers. But what does it mean? Surely you know that some of the biggest environmental problems of our time are due to the way we humans move around. For example, air pollution in cities - and not least global warming.
This is exactly where the concept of soft mobility comes in. In this article, I would like to introduce you to it - from the definition, advantages and disadvantages, measures and vehicles, to cities that already actively exemplify it.
What is soft mobility?
Behind this is a concept of politics with regard to the traffic turnaround. Inner cities in particular are to become far more sustainable, environmentally friendly and socially acceptable. after all, the accident rate will also be significantly reduced. Environmentally friendly forms of transportation are to be promoted as part of soft mobility. So the use of public transportation, sharing concepts, the Cycling and, of course, walking.
Tip: Please also have a look at the article about the E-scooter sustainability an. In it, you'll learn how to use them in the most environmentally friendly and healthy way possible.
Soft mobility - advantages & disadvantages
Here I would first like to give you the advantages, but also the disadvantages, that soft mobility brings with it.
Proponents of soft mobility justify the concept of a traffic turnaround with the increased volume of traffic in cities. The infrastructure is not able to cope with this, resulting in frequent traffic jams and stop-and-go traffic. This phenomenon can be observed especially in the vicinity of leisure facilities, shopping and recreation areas. One of the main advantages of soft mobility is, above all, that an unnecessarily high volume of traffic is avoided by promoting space-saving, alternative forms of transportation. Free public transportation by bus and train could play a significant role in this regard.
Because the streets in the inner cities are also available for pedestrians, possible confrontations between careless pedestrians and motorists are also automatically reduced. Many cities are already undertaking initial experiments - with success. More on this in a moment.
Here I have another clear list of benefits for you:
- Public safety increases
- Less congestion and stop-and-go traffic
- Soft mobility counteracts the environmental problem of Climate change counter (promotion of low-emission means of transport)
- Car-free areas encourage the influx of young families with children
- Promotion of public transport
- Attractive city concepts reduce the need for outbound travel
- Quieter city centers
Tip: In this context, be sure to check out the post about the Life without car on!
Representatives of conventional transport policy see no reason why the volume of traffic in cities should be reduced. Rather, they point out that hardly any parking spaces could be created outside the cities and that this would even result in a loss of sales for local restaurants. But I see this differently.
Soft, sustainable mobility really only knows winners. It makes life in cities more attractive, healthier, more environmentally friendly and safer. The concept decelerates our society and, above all, is a forward-looking means of combating the Air pollution. If this can indeed be called a disadvantage of soft mobility, it is certainly the cost intensity of the changes in urban areas. But since it makes our lives better in the long run, it's probably more of an investment than a cost.
Soft mobility measures and strategies
Within the framework of soft mobility, strategies are being developed that serve the traffic turnaround. All this with the aim of increasing the quality of life in the city. To this end, for example, subsidies for air traffic are to be reduced and instead the Expansion of infrastructure for bicycles will be pushed. Incentives to buy a low-emission electric car will also be increased by political measures in the interests of soft mobility.
For example, the mineral oil tax will be raised or supplemented by an eco-tax. The tax revenue finances parking space management, for example. Soft mobility even aims at a Road reconstruction so that nature has significantly more space and traffic can be calmed down. Shorter distances can prevent urban sprawl in the surrounding area.
Vehicles of sustainable mobility concepts
The transport turnaround envisages first and foremost that people will walk more and the cities with a Bike or explore public transportation. Also offers like rentable Pedal scooter or E-Scooter receive subsidies. Of course you can also create your own Buy scooter. Prices will probably rise as part of the transportation transition. Either way, it's a great, land-saving and sustainable alternative to the internal combustion engine car.
Gasoline or diesel cars are to be banned in certain areas of the city in the future. Electric cars will be given preference in the long term. The policy envisages a massive expansion of the charging infrastructure in this regard.
The electricity needed for electrically powered means of transport, such as E-cars, e-bikes and e-scooters could also come from private households in the future. Both for their own use and for external use. The already growing concept is called Wallbox sharing.
Soft mobility on vacation
Admittedly, there are not many. But there are already some cities that exemplify the concept of soft mobility. A very good example is the Austrian city of Werfenweng. Anyone arriving by bus or train automatically receives a guest card on site. With this so-called "SAMO Card", the Werfenweng shuttle, as well as the entire e-car fleet of the city can be used.
A Europe-wide, uniform ticket system for public transport could accelerate development in other cities as well, for example. Never before in history has there been such freedom to travel as there is today, and by promoting or standardizing local public transport, this freedom can be usefully supplemented. However, it must be taken into account that not every country has the infrastructural possibilities that prevail in Germany.
So is soft mobility a sensible concept?
Soft mobility is the concept for the mobility of the future. The advantages for people and the environment outweigh the few disadvantages. In particular, the use of renewable, i.e. non-limited energies, such as electricity from solar, hydro and wind power, makes this concept so viable for the future.
Do you have questions, suggestions or your own experience with soft mobility that you would like to share? Then just write me a comment.
PS: On the mobility blog you can find out so much more about the possibilities of making our mode of transport more sustainable. If you can't completely do without a car with an internal combustion engine, for example, you can find out more in the article called Sustainable drivinghow you can still use it in the most environmentally friendly way possible.