Mobility, like energy, is a key condition for economic growth and sustainable development. As the global population increases and at the same time more and more people enter the middle classes, demand for mobility will also keep on growing in the future. The challenge will be to meet growing this demand despite the ever-decreasing availability of resources. Mobility must therefore be designed to increase efficiency and minimize waste, but at the same time we must not lose sight of other crucial aspects such as safety, access to mobility, or air quality. The solution must surely be to combine efficiency, resource conservation and individual transportation pleasure.
This applies not only to energy use but also importantly to the space required for mobility, especially in urban areas. The continuing trend towards urbanization means that more and more people live in places with limited space available for infrastructure. Given the wide variety of mobility needs and local conditions, one possible solution alone will not be enough. Volkswagen is therefore working on a variety of approaches, from innovative vehicle concepts right through to research into innovative urban developments such as Micro-City. However, these solutions can only be fully effective if they are networked together at the right time and in the right place. They require the efficient interplay of people, infrastructure, technologies and means of transport. Volkswagen calls this “intelligent mobility”. Volkswagen has been addressing this issue in related research projects for over 20 years. In addition to analyzing traffic and mobility developments, the work focuses on specialist strategic advice – both within the Group and in open discussions with external stakeholders.
Volkswagen is currently working on concepts and concrete solutions with 14 other companies from different sectors in six cities across the world within the framework of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s Sustainable Mobility Project 2.0 to develop pragmatic approaches to the challenges posed by sustainable mobility.
Another current discussion platform is "Urban Mobility 2030", a film showing effective traffic solutions in their relevant context from both a traffic management and the individual user’s perspective.
The third aspect of our mobility research is the trialing of “demonstrators”. One example is the digital “Intersection Pilot” used in the UR:BAN (Urban Space: User oriented assistance systems and network management) research project funded by the German federal government, which uses intelligent traffic lights to improve traffic flow at intersections. It has already proven to be effective in trials during the reporting period.
Modern information and communications technology plays a key role in intelligent mobility. Having more comprehensive information available at all levels makes for more efficient planning, decision making and driving. This applies to the information exchange between traffic lights and vehicles, for example when the “Intersection Pilot” improves traffic flows at intersections, just as much as to the provision of up-to-the-minute information on alternative routes, and is equally useful to the organizations that operate or plan transportation systems and infrastructure projects.
Another key technology, automated driving, will open the way for a wide variety of new solutions that will make a difference to both stationary and moving traffic.