Young people in Stuttgart rarely use the car to travel to work or to their place of education, a current survey showed. Public transport, on the other hand, is becoming increasingly popular. While 59 percent of young people used public transport to work or education in 2005, numbers had risen to 78 percent ten years later. The figures for car usage have been decreasing from 34 percent to as little as 14 percent over the same time period. The number of licensed vehicles registered to the age group 18-25 has also decreased by 76 percent since 2000, while the overall number of young inhabitants of Stuttgart increased by 13 percent. This illustrates the immense loss of significance of the car among young people in Stuttgart.
If we look at the time period between 2005 and 2015, we can see that public transport usage has increased among all inhabitants of Stuttgart. Distances covered by bike are also increasing. The same is true for pedestrians. Car use as a means of transportation, however, shows a clear downward trend. These facts regarding the increased significance of the eco-mobility network need to be made visible in the context of urban planning and construction.
The German Federal Environmental Agency presented the following conclusion in its study 'Environmental Awareness and Environmental Behaviour of Young People', dated January 2016: „The proposal to change cities and local communities in a way that will allow individuals to be dependent as little as possible on the car, but enable them to overcome distances on foot, by bicycle or with public transport, has met with great approval by young people. At 84 percent, support from the younger generation is even somewhat higher than the overall approval rate of 82 percent“. This suggests that our proposal for the extension of pedestrian zones will meet with widespread support in the populace.
From the results of the most recent citizens’ survey, it is possible to identify various trends illustrating that the planned extended pedestrian zone will be able to fulfil many of the population’s demands. A majority of 57 percent expressed a desire for more parks and green spaces. The transformation of the city centre provides a lot of room for such measures. Results are even more evident with regard to traffic volume. Across all age and professional groups, 68 percent of Stuttgart inhabitants believe that the federal capital suffers from too much traffic. Every second inhabitant believes that air quality in Stuttgart is poor. An extended pedestrian zone will make a noticeable difference in reducing high traffic volumes. Since green spaces improve air quality, the project will also make a direct contribution to a better urban climate. And the reduction of traffic volume is directly addressing the root cause of air pollution. 38 percent of respondents consider noise pollution in Stuttgart too high - which again is directly connected to traffic volume. Here, an extended pedestrian zone will create oases of tranquility and spaces to relax and enjoy.
For pedestrians, Stuttgart has developed several concepts: As early as 2011, the former chief mayor Dr. Wolfgang Schuster (CDU) signed the „International Charta for Walking“. This was included into the Traffic Development Concept 2030, which includes a firm commitment to the promotion of pedestrian traffic. An extended pedestrian zone realises one aspect of this proposal. In addition, the city is currently working on a traffic concept for pedestrians that stipulates connecting inner city areas with the city centre through so-called „promenade routes“. An extended pedestrian zone takes those initial plans to their logical conclusion.
The Bezirk Mitte, where the extended pedestrian zone will be located, is currently suffering from a considerable lack of playing areas for children. According to the Playing Area Plan, the number of square metres for playing areas has to increase by two thirds. With an extended pedestrian zone, this lack of playing space could be solved or at least amended.
In its Bike Traffic Concept of 2010, the City of Stuttgart put forward ambitious goals: within ten years, the share of bike traffic - measured against all journeys made inside the city - was to increase from 6 to 20 percent, or to an absolute minimum of 12 percent - no less than a doubling of the bike traffic share. In order to achieve this, the bicycle infrastructure has to be expanded massively, and the extended pedestrian zone will become a showcase for a bicycle-friendly city. The already existing Main Cycle Route 1 between Fellbach and Vaihingen runs directly through the inner city, and the planned Main Cycle Routes 2, 3 and 4 are fitting seamlessly into the city’s Bike Traffic Concept. Besides allowing for a widening of existing cycle paths, the extended pedestrian zone offers an opportunity to massively increase the number of secure and roofed bicycle racks. The spatial and structural requirements are already in place today.
The city's Clean Air Plan is currently undergoing its third update. Its central points emphasise an urgent need for action with regard to air pollution control in Stuttgart. The critical air measurement station at the Neckartor is located in immediate proximity to the extended pedestrian zone. By calming traffic and creating new green areas, our project will contribute to a compliance with legal limits and to the improvement of air quality in Stuttgart.
The Noise Action Plan for the reduction of damaging noise pollution is another obligatory component of local politics and government. Expanding the pedestrian zone and increasing speed limits for the city ring road will help silence traffic, the main source of noise.
The central aim of the City of Stuttgart’s logSPAZE concept is the reduction of conventional motorised delivery traffic in the city centre. Numerous deliveries could be carried out with small electronic vehicles, cargo bicycles or transportation aids like rolling pallets, handcarts, etc. Space for suitable micro depot locations is available. The City is actively working to win over more businesses beyond the two firms currently involved in the logSPAZE pilot project. This will be facilitated with the implementation of an extended pedestrian zone.