Dresden (Germany)

Dresden is a city of 517,000 inhabitants and is the capital of the German Federal Free State of Saxony, situated next to the river Elbe. It is well known as one of the greenest cities in Europe, with 63 percent of the city being green areas and forests. Extended tram network and high usage of bicycle also make the city well known...

Dresden’s modal split was 24 percent for walking; 17 for cycling; 21 for public transport and 38 percent for private cars, according to results of the SrV household survey on mobility.

Dresden has historically focused its transport planning on four pillars: city development; infrastructure, transport management and mobility management. With a view to integrating these and other aspects of transport planning, Dresden is drafting a sustainable urban transport plan to guide mobility efforts to 2025. The 2025-plus Dresden Transport Development Plan is intended as a bridging document between different plans for noise pollution, air quality, public transport, various transport measures and concepts and other sectoral plans, including the zoning plan, that relate to transport. This plan must address European circumstances and challenges and explore the opportunities to produce a sustainable transport and mobility strategy for Dresden.

Dresden boasts a relatively long history of achievements in the field of sustainable mobility. The basis of several measures was the transport concept of 1994. Several innovative measures have been implemented, including:



  • the modernization of all trams, which led to better energy efficiency, increased ridership and better accessibility (since 2010, all the city’s 166 trams have been low floor);
  • new solutions for streets with tram lines, including innovative public transport stops and information systems;
  • user-friendly interchanging points;
  • implementation in 1996 of grass tram tracks and green corridors to enhance the aesthetic appeal of the built environment and to dampen noise;
  • rollout in 2001 of the “CarGo Tram,” a freight vehicle running on city tram tracks that delivers supplies to the local Volkswagen car factory;
  • presentation to the Dresden Transport Corporation (DVB) of the ECMT-EDF Access and Inclusion Award for Transport Services and Infrastructure;
  • implementation in 2004 of a pilot geothermic, heated tram switch and stop;
  • intermodal connection management and passenger information facilities at transport junctions;
  • adoption of a unified tariff system for Upper Elbe Regional Transport (VVO);
  • launch in 2005 of the “Be-in, Be-out” public transport pass, a no-hands card that can validate entries and exits from vehicles with no effort on the part of the passenger;
  • successful application of mobility management since 1996;
  • provision of traffic information across all modes of transport;
  • implementation of bicycle parking, especially in the city center and at public transport stops;
  • implementation of mobility solutions for disabled people in public spaces and on public transport - a barrier-free city for all;
  • intelligent control system to manage moving and parked traffic;
  • routing for heavy goods vehicles;
  • coach parking and guidance system, which garnered the International Road Transport Union IRU City Trophy in 2005;
  • CIVITAS Award 2005 for Dresden’s sustainable transport policy.

In terms of soft mobility, Dresden encourages cycling as a flexible means of urban transport with its 370 kilometers of urban cycling facilities. Approximately 50 of these belong to the Elbe bicycle path, a regional touristic path that has been targeted by improvement work since 1991.

Another initiative to support less car-dependent lifestyles is Dresden’s car-sharing system. Launched in 1998 by the DVB, the system (as of 2011) offered nearly 100 vehicles available at 50 hire stations in the city. Regular users of DVB and VVO get preferable rates.

Dresden makes use of partnerships in its work towards sustainable mobility. The city administration is an active partner in the Deutscher Städtetag, the Association of German Cities. In January 2004 the City of Dresden joined the European local authority networks EUROCITIES and CEMR (German Section) as well as POLIS and the CIVITAS Initiative. Dresden is an active partner of the International Association of Public Transport (UITP). The City participates in projects such as the Interreg III C-project UrBike and ViaRegia/ViaRegia Plus. The City of Dresden cooperates cross-border with regional partners in the Euroregion Elbe/Labe. Dresden University of Technology is active in several regional initiatives aiming at improving cross-border public transport, including the EU-projects KAGIV (cooperative approaches for integrated cross-border transportation planning at the regional level) and GRENAH (development of planning tools for public transportation). The City of Dresden hosts the presidency of the POLIS network in 2010 and 2011.





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