A group of ten selected ELEEP (Emerging Leaders in Environmental and Energy Policy) Network members met in Stuttgart, Germany, and Paris, France, from 30 September through 5 October 2012 to explore how the two regions are implementing visions of sustainable transportation policy and to investigate the ways that businesses and civil society are contributing to the evolution of the concept of mobility. This was the fifth and final ELEEP Network study tour of 2012. The ELEEP Network and its activities were sponsored by the European Union and the Robert Bosch Stiftung, with additional contributions from other supporters.
The participants had the opportunity to compare a number of elements of transportation policy and business development in the field of mobility in Germany and France – with Stuttgart and Paris serving as case studies. Among the subjects covered and compared during the study tour were: current regional infrastructure and policy planning, car and bike sharing, electric mobility (including the demonstration of electric bikes and other non-car vehicles), and corporate strategies for capitalizing on emerging trends in transportation (Daimler and Michelin).
In terms of regional planning, both Stuttgart and Paris intend to implement significant infrastructure development projects, which will dramatically alter the transportation landscape in both regions. These programs, Stuttgart 21 and Grand Paris, are both highly contentious and come with large, currently (partially) unfunded price tags. While the Grand Paris project would reorient the regional transportation system to enable suburban commuters to travel to other suburbs without entering central Paris, the Stuttgart 21 project would increase the number of connections passing through the city and reorient the flow of train travel through city as well.
Throughout the tour, participants enjoyed the opportunity to test a wide variety of vehicles that are being promoted as part of emerging sustainable transportation strategies in both cities. These tests included driving electric cars of Paris’ Autolib system, as well as the bicycles of the city’s Velib bike-sharing program. Participants also rode electric bikes in both cities and were able to test electric scooters and other vehicles.
In Germany, the tour also included a short trip to Tübingen, which - with 90,000 inhabitants - served as a small city example on the trip. Participants met with the city’s Lord Mayor, Boris Palmer, and with the city’s head urban planner, Tim von Winning, for a guided tour to selected points of interest of transportation planning in Tübingen’s city center.
Transportation within the cities was conducted with public transportation whenever possible and the participants traveled between Stuttgart, Tübingen and Paris by train.