Stuttgart is located in the centre of a thriving economic region in Germany with a high traffic volume. Every day about 800,000 cars enter and leave the city. The landscape and urban areas limit the size of the inner-city road network. Since a complete peripheral ring road does not exist, public-transport and road users are forced to share a limited transport infrastructure, resulting in congestion on main arterial roads and negative impacts on noise levels and air quality. The road network in Stuttgart covers about 1,500 km of which about 500 km form the major road network, representing the backbone of the car traffic. About 1,000 km of the road network are classified as limited speed zones which ensure the accessibility of residential and commercial areas. Thanks to measures that limit traffic and reduce speed, these roads offer a higher standard of living for pedestrians and cyclists in residential areas.
In former decades transport policies in Stuttgart focussed on private car transport. Since the 1970s the public transport network has been expanded significantly. Today Stuttgart boasts an excellent local public transport system which offers high transport standards and is also embedded in the regional public transport system. Every year about 190 million passengers use the local public transport system. The public transport network in the city offers 55 bus lines and 17 light rail lines. The total rolling stock is composed of 169 rail vehicles (164 light rail trains, 3 rack railway trains and 2 cable cars) and 276 busses (including 5 modern hybrid buses). The modal split in Stuttgart is: Cars (45%), Pedestrians (26%), Public Transport (24%), Cyclists (5%).
Due to its topography, Stuttgart has severe problems with air quality and noise in some areas of the city centre. A lot of initiatives and technical developments have already been established to improve the situation. These measures involve clean air and noise reduction programmes including limited access zones, traffic calming zones, speed reduction on main roads, parking management, parking guidance systems, public transport priority schemes, traffic management centre, mobility information and service centre, etc. To further promote intermodality various incentives have already been implemented, such as park and ride stations.
The area under study will be the city centre of Stuttgart (192,500 inhabitants and 200,000 workplaces, covering 47.9 km2). Several arterial roads with supra-regional importance cross the area. The traffic loads on the arterial roads are up to 110,000 vehicles per day. The share of trucks amounts up to 10%. The city centre avails of about 15,000 serviced public parking spaces in more than 40 multi-storey car parks and parking garages.
The Urban Transport Development Concept VEK 2030 (1st draft August 2010) offers a comprehensive presentation of the guidelines of transportation planning for the City of Stuttgart. It is linked to urban and regional land use plans, the regional transport plan, noise protection plans and clean air action plans. The concept foresees many measures, e.g. the reduction of car traffic emissions and the integration of transport and urban development. All municipal departments that are responsible for urban mobility participated in its elaboration, supported by representatives of the municipal council and other experts. An innovative element is the involvement of citizens and a public discussion process.
It is foreseen to further develop and expand the urban transport development concept (VEK) to a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan. In order to further reduce emissions and protect residents and sensitive urban areas, the following activities will be implemented and tested:
- promote the use of clean vehicles by introducing a comprehensive e-mobility concept including awareness raising and training campaigns,
- implement emission-based traffic management in case of high emission levels to optimise traffic flow and to reduce emissions,
- develop of a priority network for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) to guarantee short and efficient routes for urban HGVs and protect sensitive urban areas,
- promote sustainable urban transport modes by the Mobility Information and Service Centre to encourage new forms of transport like new sharing concepts for cars, bicycles and e-vehicles as mobility management strategies for companies and housing communities.
On the global front, the City of Stuttgart coordinates the global network Cities for Mobility with over 600 partners in 84 countries aiming at new concepts for sustainable urban mobility in urban regions. In addition to this, Stuttgart is a member of the Covenant of Mayors, the mainstream European movement involving local and regional authorities committed to increasing energy efficiency and use of renewable energy sources.