Qualitative Analysis

As already shown in the quantitative analysis, different codes (or codings) were developed for investigating the previously mentioned gender and diversity categories along with social and environmental topics. These categories allow the identification of similarities and differences in nationwide strategies, as well as to deduce trends and key topics. Using this method also enables one to reflect the image of future cities, which is rooted and interconnected with the transport plans, and to compare this image with the demands and needs of future generations.

By carrying out qualitative content analyses of TDPs, a contextualization of topics becomes possible. This gives a glance at the quality of contents as well as the intensity of a topics’ implementation. The analysis is divided into two parts. On the one hand, there is an exploration regarding the guiding principles (future visions) of transport planning. On the other hand, the plans of measures, which should be derived from the guiding principles, are investigated by comparing the visions with the plans for practical implementation.

To analyze the state of implementation concerning diversity perspectives and the reflection of diverse needs in TDPs, the following research questions serve as the basis for proceeding:

  • • In which context are the categories/topics described?
  • • How selective are the categories/topics considered?
  • • To what extent are future needs reflected?

Future Visions in TDPs

The data reveal that there is a strong tendency to make mainstream trends a subject of discussion. Comparable to the megatrend neo-ecology (Horx, 2011), themes that are directly as well as indirectly related to actual key topics, such as environmental protection, conservation of resources, and sustainability, represent a major proportion of the strategy framework and are broadly addressed. In this context, neo-ecology has to be considered as a trend that focuses on the increasing demand for organic products for a lifestyle of health and sustainability (LOHAS), which requires and implies an adjustment of industrial processes to a sustainable and environment-friendly system (Zukunftsinstitut, 2016). The expansion of infrastructure as well as the insistent promotion of walking and cycling, as part of the strategies and objective targets, accentuate the efforts for sustainable mobility. In contrast to this, the topic of “electric mobility” is mentioned inconsistently. Some cities cover this issue quite extensively, whereas other cities don’t make it a subject of discussion at all. Electric mobility, when mentioned, is always assessed in connection with environmental topics such as the reduction of emissions (air pollution), reduction of noise, conservation of resources, and enhancement of the quality of life. Only in a few cases is electric mobility put in context with corresponding requirements like infrastructure.

In addition to the topic “environment”, the investigation shows a strong focus on dominant groups7 in the framework of the TDPs - cyclists and pedestrians. However, this strong emphasis of specific groups and their needs and requirements is accompanied by the lack of an intersectional perspective, taking into account non-dominant groups and/or minorities as well as less dominant trends, which are far less covered in the traffic discussions. For example, aspects like gender are barely considered even though there is a sustained discussion concerning aspects like care work. Therefore, it is important to take a closer look at to what extent the different diversity categories (gender, age, disability etc.) are addressed in future visions in the framework of TDPs.

The usage of diversity categories in the guiding principles shows that, in general, the specific diverse needs and perspectives, which represent the people behind topics (e.g. “bicycling”) are not mentioned extensively. For example, it is rather astonishing that the most frequently addressed group of people is children, yet people carrying out “care and family work” — adults — are neglected, as the quantitative analysis illustrated. Concerning the category of children, issues like the “promotion of independent and safe mobility of teenagers and children” (City C: 47 — city codes) and the improvement of accessibility in public places and in public transport by taking the needs of pedestrians and children into account (City F: 16), are mentioned.

The qualitative evaluation of the diversity categories “age” and “limited mobility” shows that these topics are hardly taken into account. It appears as if they are only used as buzzwords despite an increased importance of these categories due to demographic change. Regarding the topic “limited mobility”, there is no definition, description, or complete enumeration of what can be understood under the term in any of the examined plans. This recognition leads to the assumption that there is a lack of reflection regarding the diverse needs of transport participants. There is also a lack of transparency concerning the question of whose demands are considered and also why. It is important to develop a consistent accessibility concept in order to achieve improvements, especially when considering diverse disabilities.

In addition, this finding is interesting for two reasons. Firstly, experts’ reports show, that there has been an increasing consideration of topics like “accessibility” in the last few years (Bundesministerium fiir Verkehr, Bau und Stadtent- wicklung (BMVBS), 2008; Verband Deutscher Verkehrsuntemehmen (VDV), 2012), but that there is still a need for implementing barrier-free elements. Fur- thennore, a study from the federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs (2010) shows that the average number of trips per day, as an expression of mobility, has increased, particularly in the case of older people, compared to the year 2002. The institute for Applied Social Sciences (Infas) and the German Aerospace Center (DLR) conclude: “that 46 million of 281 million trips in total (in Germany in the year 2008) were completed by people aged 65 years or older. That corresponds to a share of the total number of trips of about 16%” (2010: 181). These findings emphasize the increasing importance of taking this group of stakeholders into consideration.

As shown in the quantitative analysis, the diversity category “gender” is rarely mentioned. Using a complementing qualitative analysis, it becomes apparent that the topic of gender is often related directly to the term “gender mainstreaming”. Compared to the term “environment”, for which concrete examples for reaching the defined targets are mentioned, the explanations in the context of gender are rather short and fairly general. The exemplary objectives “facilitation of mobility regardless of gender and life situation” (City C: 36) as well as statements like: “As part of the gender mainstreaming in particular the special needs of women, families with children, as well as mobility-restricted persons are taken into account” (City M: 7) show that there is a first approach of considering these topics, but when it comes to implementation these topics tend to be neglected.

Moreover, the analysis demonstrates that there is no consistent definition of the term “gender mainstreaming”. While on the one hand gender mainstreaming is understood as the diverse requirements of women and men in their social roles (City P: 11, City Q: 10), on the other hand it is defined as “special belongings of women, families with children and people with reduced mobility” (City M: 7) as well as the “consideration of all population groups and life situations” (City M: 17). This could be interpreted as uncertainty concerning the tenn and its use, meaning that these issues remain vague and are implemented inconsistently.

The diversity category “interculturality” is addressed in only one of the examined future visions. Although the support of integration processes in the form of “offers, which are multi-lingual and take cultural aspects into account, moreover, the integration of citizens with an immigrant background [...], are also for the benefit of many international visitors in the city” (City C: 36).

It can be concluded that the future concepts show a clear trend towards themes that are rooted in the category of environment. In contrast to that, the diverse needs of transport users are recognized only inconsistently.

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