20 August 2019

The numbers are in: sustainable mobility is on the rise in Freiburg

Bicycle and public transport use are exceeding expectations in ICLEI Member Freiburg (Germany). In 2018, 81 million passengers used public buses and trams and, today, 34 percent of trips in Freiburg are undertaken by bicycle.

The increase in bicycle use in Freiburg has been attributed to a number of improvements to cycling infrastructure – about 170 improvement measures, in fact! These have spanned building priority bicycle routes, underpasses and ramps; updating right-of-way rules for safer cycling; widening bicycle paths; installing better bicycle path lighting; and more. The network of bike paths and lanes has almost doubled in the last five years. These improvements have required significant investments, including support from the State of Baden-Württemberg.

The city’s public transport subsidiary – known as Freiburger Verkehrs AG (or VAG) – focused in 2018 on planning for the future of the city’s public transport, including gathering public feedback, e-mobility studies, and preparing for new e-buses and transit lines. The VAG mobile app has been downloaded 278,500 times, prompting the city to expand its capabilities.

VAG also recently launched a bicycle-sharing programme called Frelo. Initial measures indicate that these bicycles are being accepted by the city even more so than expected.

Companies, such as IKEA, are working with VAG to increase multimodal mobility in the city through offerings such as electric vans or cargo bikes for delivery of purchased goods.

Overall, the modal split in Freiburg – which measures the different means of transport used to move around the city – has shifted. Today, 79 percent of trips are taken as a pedestrian, by bike, or by public transport. This is up from 61 percent in 1982.

Work is not, however, done. Next up, Freiburg has a goal to reduce transportation accident rates in the city, which are still quite high. In addition, VAG has invested in – and is continuing to work on – accessibility, to ensure that more sustainable urban mobility options are open to all.

For more information on Freiburg’s sustainable urban mobility (in German), click here.