Research Interest, Method and Analysis

Facing these blind spots or gaps in mobility planning and research, the project build ING | bridges aims at the development of gender and diversity-sensitive recommendations for mobility planning tools.2 By analyzing German Transport Development Plans (TDPs) as well as Germany-wide mobility surveys regarding their implementation of gender and diversity issues/diversity categories, research results contribute to a widening of perspective towards different situations, lifestyles, and strategies for coping with everyday life. In this article, the focus is on the analysis of TDPs and their consideration of gender and diversity perspectives.

Transport Development Plans

In Germany, TDPs, also named master plans or transportation plans, are the standard mobility planning documents at the municipal and regional level (Deutsche Gesellschaft for Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) et al., 2014). They are instruments that include current situations of traffic development in a city in conjunction with concepts and measures for future traffic developments. Moreover, they assist stakeholders in traffic development planning, functioning as a means of communication and providing a mutual interface, which documents progress and problems. Although there are no formalized guidelines about the topics and the extent of TDPs, there are certain key aspects that can be found in the majority of these documents (GIZ, 2014):

  • • Meaning and significance of mobility for cities and their citizens
  • • Determining factors that influence transportation development planning
  • • How these plans intersect with the plans and policies of other planning departments
  • • The current and desired transportation situations
  • • Planned measures and their potential effects
  • • Who are the stakeholders in the planning processes and what are their roles?
  • • Concepts with future visions and measures.

Furthermore, TDPs describe the transportation developments and the mobility behavior against the backdrop of current basic conditions and parameters such as the legislative basis, as well as social developments like demographic change. Municipalities are not obliged to prepare a TDP (GIZ et al., 2014), although most of the larger German cities produce such documents. The main reason for designing a TDP is to function as a means of communication and documentation as well as a steering tool.

In order to meet the different requirements that result from social, economic, ecological, or infrastructural needs, the TDPs usually have a general orientation, or foundation, in which principles and visions for the future are formulated. In addition, specific steps to achieve the outlined objectives are identified and to some degree hierarchically organized regarding their order of implementation.

In Germany, typical stakeholders of TDPs include: the mobility committee, a separate faction of the city council, the buildings department, but also other project groups like ecology groups and civic associations. Modern instruments of civic participation in TDPs’ development processes, for example via online platforms, surveys or citizen walks have also been employed in a few cases (For- schungsgesellschaft fur StraBen- und Verkehrswesen (FGSV), 2013).

During a participator)' stakeholder process, the plans are voted on, revised, and updated successively over the decades until they are adopted. The planning period varies from process to process, whereas the average period of time constitutes 10 to 20 years. Thus, TDPs must be future-oriented and sustainable, facing global challenges as well as mediating conflicting demands at a local level. Fur- thennore, as an instrument of transport planning, TDPs are embedded into a legal framework. This framework includes legal texts stating the constraint to implement measures for accessibility in buildings, roads, transport, objects, information etc., to allow access for all citizens regardless of restrictions (Law on equal treatment for people with disabilities (BGG) §4 and §8 (2)).

Moreover, inclusion and participation, as an element of social dimensions, are not guidelines based on moral or social norms but they are legitimized by law. Germany’s basic law provides all people with equal opportunities independent of their color, origin, disability or gender and forbids discrimination (BGG §1 and §4).

Furthermore, structural accessibility found its way into public transportation through the Federal Equality Act (Herrmann-Lobreyer, 2007: 28). In addition, paragraph §2, 8 and 9 of the public transportation law of the Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia includes gender and diversity components:

  • (8) During the planning and the configuration of the traffic infrastructure, the vehicles as well as the offers of public transportation, particularly of persons that are sensory handicapped [...] are to be considered according to the Law on Equal Opportunities for Disabled of the Federal Government and the federal states.
  • (9) Equally the concerns of women, men, persons that care for children, children and cyclists should be taken into account during planning and design of public transport.
  • (Law on local public transport in North Rhine-Westphalia (OPNVG

NRW), 2015 translated)

Overall Research Questions and Methodological Approach

In the framework of the research project buildING | bridges@research, an analysis of TDPs from German cities with a population over 200,000 was carried out in 2015. The sample of plans was chosen according to the following criteria: the plans were available online and currently valid at the time of analysis. This led to a sample size of 24 TDPs (see Figure 6.2).

The cities of the sample are evenly spread in Germany and the regions mirror different political situations. As there are no explicit legal obligations for the development of TDPs in Germany (GIZ et al., 2014), the analyzed sample of plans turned out to be very different regarding structure, topics, and page length. For example, the TDPs’ number of pages varies from about 30 to nearly 800. Since all plans include a future vision as well as a plan of measures, or at least recommendations for action, the analysis focuses on those two subject areas - visions and measures - as they represent key elements in further planning processes.

The main object of research was the consideration and representation of gender and diversity aspects in the TDPs. Hence, major research questions were:

Cities with available TDPs Source

FIGURE 6.2 24 Cities with available TDPs Source: Own elaboration.

  • 1. Are there gender and diversity aspects that are considered in the TDPs? If yes, to what extent?
  • 2. Are there gender and diversity aspects that are disregarded in the TDPs?
  • 3. How consistent are future visions with specific plans and other policy measures?
  • 4. Which recommendations can be derived for a future gender- and diversity- sensitive transport development plan design?

The examination of TDPs consists of a quantitative as well as a qualitative analysis. Whereas the focus of the first research part is a descriptive data analysis, the qualitative approach is based on content analysis. Research results focus on a contrast between future visions and the recommended measures as the general objectives of transport development processes can diverge considerably from their concrete implementation.

< Prev   CONTENTS   Source   Next >