Urban versus Rural: How do we shape the future of transportation in rural areas, Katja Diehl?
Large cities like Berlin, Hamburg, and Munich are playgrounds for new mobility concepts. New providers are springing up, and we have been discussing car-free city centres and the concept of the 15-minute city for months. However, as soon as we move out of the city, the variety of options is drastically reduced.
In the first regular episode of my podcast “Deep Dive Mobility”, which I host for digital kompakt, I had a very smart conversation with Katja Diehl. Katja herself is a communications and management consultant and runs the podcast “She drives Mobility”, which I heartily recommend to you.
Mobility means participation
One thing in particular I took away from our conversation: In rural areas, mobility doesn’t just mean getting from A to B. It also means social participation and communication. Katja has been working on alternative mobility concepts for many years. She is a passionate cyclist and advocates for a people-centred change in transportation that takes the focus off the car. She also has her eye on rural areas, where many people — like her father — would be happy if they could become mobile again without using their cars.
In Germany, public transportation in rural areas has long been neglected. Buses that only run on an hourly basis, a lack of direct connections, and long travel times characterize the image of public transit. This was also confirmed in a survey by the ADAC: rural residents are only satisfied with their mobility as long as they have a car at their disposal. As soon as they have to rely on buses or regional trains, satisfaction drops.
FreYfahrt from Bavaria
There are exciting concepts that are picking up speed again in rural areas. Katja tells us about the FreYfahrt experiment from Freyung in Bavaria, where the mayor has created a mix of on-call and regular bus services, ridesharing, and on-demand service via minibus. “Buses have become a communication platform because they make social encounters possible again,” says Katja. Older women travel together for a cup of coffee in town. Young people meet on the bus on their way to the cinema.
But currently, these projects only work as prototypes. There is still a lack of bold, long-term solutions. At the same time, according to Katja, too much thought is being put into apps and technical developments and too little into the needs and habits that shape our mobility. Why do people cling so tightly to their cars? And why do you see so few children on the roads in rural areas? Wouldn’t it be better to give them more space to play instead of building another road?
The conversation with Katja is now on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, etc.
Talking with Katja gave me new perspectives and encouraged me. Because innovative ideas for rural areas do exist. You can now find our entire conversation on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to podcasts.
What do you think of Katja’s comments? I’m looking forward to talking with you.