Aachen is the cultural and scientific centre for the greater region which holds 570,000 inhabitants. Due to the bustling activity of its universities and public sector, Aachen was appointed as a model German region for electromobility since 2010 and for mobility management during 2009-2011 by the German Federal Ministry of Transport.
Aachen is a very young city, with 21% of the population being between 20 and 29 years old. Altogether, 38% of the population is below 30. Nearly 40,000 students attend Aachen’s four major colleges and universities (RWTH Aachen, University of Applied Sciences, Catholic University of Applied Sciences and Academy of Music). Cooperation between the universities, chambers of industry, research institutions, companies and the city has resulted in many international enterprises and research institutions making Aachen their home.
In relation to the population, the density of 424 cars per 1000 inhabitants is one of the lowest in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Aachen is very active in reducing car traffic by promoting carpooling and car sharing.
After the tram and trolley system was shut down in Aachen in the 1970s, public transport has been operating by bus. Since 2001, the reactivation of old tracks has been the most important task in the field of regional sustainable transportation. The 'euregiobahn' is a system of cross-border regional trains connecting the economic capital Aachen and the surrounding areas. The step-by-step development is still in progress – currently 10,000 passengers use the system connecting 26 stations daily.
Aachen has a lot of hills, and for this reason cycling is not as popular as in the nearby Netherlands. Nevertheless, the city has undertaken many efforts in the last decades to enhance the conditions for cycling. The planning department aims at increasing the percentage of cycling from 10% up to 15% and more in the next five years by expanding the bicycle lanes to central city roads.
Aachen has been involved in the promotion of sustainable energy and transport for decades already. The city was one of the first in Germany to develop a traffic development plan or 'Verkehrsentwicklungsplan' (VEP) in 1995.
In CIVITAS DYN@MO project, Aachen will work to extend its activities in important fields of sustainable urban transport and focus on three themes: Sustainable urban mobility planning, clean and energy-efficient vehicles, intelligent transport systems and ICT.
The core of the CIVITAS DYN@MO activities in Aachen will be a dynamic regional Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP). The approach of Aachen is to involve stakeholders and citizens in mobility measures at an early stage and thus to reach a common position which can be expressed region-wide and nationwide. This will be the principle in the SUMP process beginning from now. The SUMP will set a framework for extending the use of environmentally-friendly and silent vehicles with special focus on hybrid buses.
An intermodal mobility alliance including an information platform with dynamic public transport information will be established. The hotspot areas will show innovative sustainable mobility concepts in cooperation with housing companies and the university campus. Aachen is the first city to work together with a housing company in a CIVITAS demonstration project. The new services of the mobility alliance will be tested in these sites together with environmentally-friendly and silent new vehicles (pedelecs, hybrid cars, delivery services with electric vans).