Reurbanisation: a chance for public transport?

Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Subject Area

land use - urban density, land use - urban design, mode - bus, mode - tram/light rail, place - europe, ridership - attitudes


mobility, accessibility, public transport, urban density, sustainable, Germany, Hamburg, Leipzig, Aalen, attitudes, residential location


Within the last decade reurbanisation or Urban Renaissance as a new trend of urban development became an increasingly prominent topic among researchers and urban planners. The discussion mainly focuses on the questions of empirical evidence and how to strengthen the trend. The latter requires deeper knowledge of which urban qualities attract individuals. An interesting question in this context is which impact aspects of mobility and accessibility might have and what kind of interdependencies between reurbanisation and traffic infrastructure exist. There is proof that urban living due to high densities of housing, employment, shopping etc. results in multimodal mobility behaviour of individuals with short distances and a high share of non-motorised modes as well as public transport and thus can be considered sustainable. It is also acknowledged that public transport is a positive locational factor of urban areas but it is widely unknown which quality of public transport is necessary, so that a wide range of population groups perceive urban areas as an attractive residential location. Therefore the research project Opportunities for Public Transport in a Decade of Reurbanisation (FoPS 73.336/2008), launched by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Urban Development focuses on the interrelation between the quality of public transport and reurbanisation. Within the project a survey concerning the motives for moving in urban areas is carried out in three German cities with different characteristics: Hamburg (metropolitan area with high quality of public transport based on subway and rapid transit systems), Leipzig (East German city with an extensive tram system) and the medium size city of Aalen (bus service only). Based on this empirical data the paper explores the needs of different groups of new urbanites regarding their living environment focussing on accessibility and mobility behaviour and showing which attitude-based target groups new urbanites belong to. It therefore aims on identifying the importance of mobility aspects especially public transport in the course of residential location choice in different spatial contexts and outlines both land use and traffic planning strategies to profit from reurbanisation and use it to achieve sustainable communities.


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