How can mobility in cities be successfully transformed?

Research questions

  • What are possible futures/visions and transformation scenarios of sustainable mobility in cities?
  • How can transformation paths and scenarios of sustainable urban mobility be simulated?
  • How do new mobility concepts and services affect the volume of traffic and the modal split in cities?
  • What contribution can mobility services make to transforming mobility?
  • How can mobility services and mobility-as-a-service be designed as sustainable business models?
  • What is the social acceptance of different actor groups and what are the (potential) user groups for new mobility offers in cities?
  • How can competences be developed and expanded at municipal level with regard to municipal mobility strategies, new mobility offers and alternative drives?
  • Which sustainable technology and infrastructure options are suitable for transforming mobility in urban areas?


Panel study on mobility habits in Baden-Wuerttemberg and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (MobilKULT)

The MobilKULT project explores mobility habits and their changes in Baden-Wuerttemberg and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. The objective: We want to understand the interplay between habits, existing infrastructure and cultural conditions with regard to mobility. We are interested in what people think about policy measures in the mobility sector. In this project, we want to find out how to change mobility in the direction of sustainability. 

Karlsruhe Mobility High Performance Center / Profilregion

The Karlsruhe institutions for research, teaching and transfer in the field of mobility systems are clustered in the “Karlsruhe Mobility High Performance Center / Profilregion”. This is a High Performance Center for Mobility Research, which offers comprehensive expertise across a wide range of disciplines combined with in-depth technical knowledge. The High Performance Center pools people and competencies as well as equipment and prior studies of the institutions in order to conduct systemic research on the mobility of people and goods in a consortium covering a whole range of disciplines, and offers external partners a central point of contact.

Social Innovation in Energy Transitions (SONNET)

Social innovations in the energy sector are said to enable faster transitions to sustainable energy systems. Initiatives such as energy cooperatives and prosuming peer groups (people producing their own energy), are becoming more common and have attracted interest from researchers and policy makers alike.

The research project SONNET (Social Innovation in Energy Transitions), will work with a range of stakeholders from across energy initiatives in the community, industry, academia, government, councils, and local actors to create a better understanding of social innovations in the energy sector, critically assessing the success, contributions and future potential of social innovation. Through developing practical recommendations and tools, the project aims to build the innovative capacities and strong networks of social innovation and energy actors, strengthen their networks, identify new market opportunities for social innovation in the energy sector and enable multiple actors to increase their engagement with social innovations.

Transforming the municipal energy system – sector-coupled infrastructures and strategies for involving local actors (TrafoKommunE) / sub-project mobility scenarios and coupling the distribution networks for electricity and gas

The project focuses on the general context of sector-coupled energy transition and homes in on the relevance of the existing infrastructure, which has not been given sufficient attention to date, and the impacts of measures in the context of the energy transition. In addition to infrastructures, user behavior and the acceptance of measures are very important for implementing the energy transition and transforming energy supply. The actors involved are frequently diverse, especially at the municipal distribution network level, and have conflicting interests that must be considered.

Determining the effects of renewable methane in the transport and power sectors (MethQuest_MethSys)

The partners in this group take a macroeconomic approach to identifying the effects that the large-scale introduction of alternative fuels would have. The work also uses results from other groups so that MethSys has something of a consolidating function within the main project. The decisive aspect of work in MethSys is that it aims to further develop and link models that until now remained separate and dealt only with partial sections of the energy system such as electricity and gas grids.

Accompanying Research Networked Mobility for the funding programme “Local electric mobility” of the BMVI

Through its “Local electric mobility” (“Elektromobilität vor Ort”) funding programme (the BMVI’s electric mobility funding guideline), the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) is supporting the collaboration of industry, science and the public sector in further driving forward the market ramp-up of electric mobility and in anchoring it in everyday life. The “Networked Mobility” thematic area of accompanying research has set itself the task of, on the one hand, investigating the networking of various electric mobility applications and different modes of transport. On the other hand, it also examines the networking between electric mobility and the energy industry with regard to the increasing number of electric vehicles. The aim of this thematic field is to build up and expand competencies at the municipal level.

Scientific monitoring and support of the German government’s Mobility and Fuels Strategy (MFS)

The German government’s Mobility and Fuels Strategy (MFS) is the pivotal instrument for implementing a successful energy transition in the transport sector. The Fraunhofer ISI coordinates the scientific monitoring of the MFS and supports its further development and implementation at the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) together with its partners Fraunhofer IML, PTV, M-Five and the Hamburg University of Technology. They advise the BMVI in this context in the form of scientific analyses and studies and ad hoc on current topics concerning the transformation of the transport sector. The consortium is working on numerous individual studies as part of the scientific monitoring. Among many others, these include the feasibility of hybrid-catenary e-trucks, the market maturity of hydrogen fuel cell trucks, the potentials of automated and connected road traffic vehicles and the market maturity of LNG in shipping.


The interdisciplinary research project MobileCityGame offers a straightforward and generally comprehensible alternative to time-consuming and cost-intensive urban planning procedures using an approach combining gamification, citizen science and participation. Existing simulation models as well as data concerning infrastructure, technologies and behavior are reduced to their basic functions and linked to a dynamic overall model. The result of MobileCityGame is a fully operational demonstrator of an interactive simulation game for urban sustainability and mobility policy that is calibrated for Karlsruhe.

Transforming mobility and integrated strategies (MOWENDIS)

The emergence of new mobility services, the urgency for measures to implement climate protection objectives, new actors, roles and networks, new technologies such as automated and connected driving and new business models are all putting their stamp on the transformation of the world of mobility. The internal research project MOWENDIS clusters the diverse perspectives and insights from different business units at Fraunhofer ISI to create alternative scenarios for transforming mobility. Based on a meta-study of global publications of scenarios, model calculations, visions and roadmaps as well as the expertise and research results of the scientists at Fraunhofer ISI, future visions with a time horizon of 2050 and potential development paths towards sustainable mobility of the future are developed using a scenario process. The scenarios are constructed using STEEPL (Social, Technological, Environmental, Economic, Policy and Legal) key factors and their possible characteristics in order to create a vision of sustainable mobility.  


Method portfolio

  • Transdisciplinary research via City Labs
  • Agent-based and system-dynamic simulations
  • Techno-economic evaluations
  • Analyses of market, competition and value chains
  • Quantitative and qualitative assessment of technologies
  • Policy design / evaluation / impact assessment
  • Statistical and econometric analyses
  • Data surveys (acceptance research, field experiments) and data evaluation (network analyses, qualitative and quantitative content- and text analyses, statistical and econometric analyses)
  • Capacity building / workshops / roadmap development
  • Media analyses / social network analyses