Prof. Dr. Andreas Knie, from WZB / TU Berlin

“Combustion engines and private cars are on their way out”, says mobility research Andreas Knie and explains how the traffic turnaround can be successful; the subject of mobility is closely connected with the traffic turnaround. In this respect, using public transport and transport means based on renewable energy plays an important part. The scientist and smart head requests a traffic turnaround - and Berlin seems to be predestined for this task. We met Andreas Knie for an interview.

You are requesting a radical change of the traffic policy - what will this change look like? We will have to rethink basically and cut the privilege of having a private car that applied over so many years. At present there are so many cars - we count more than 47 million private vehicles that are parked for more than 94 per cent of their time and, when driving, are occupied by 1.01 person. In future we will need a mixture of all traffic means that make best use of all available resources of devices and areas.  

Prohibiting the use of diesel engines is not enough…? If we only had it already that would be good. But even a world without diesel will not solve the problems.

Are electric cars an alternative? Changing the type of drive is long overdue. Battery-electric cars for local traffic, fuel cells for the heavy transport traffic and long distance journeys - all these are already available for series production.  But the absolute benchmark will be linking the traffic means and the distribution of traffic loads to the existing resources of individual and collective traffic means.

Will the German car drivers have to let go of their cars piece by piece - or at least share it with several drivers - is car-sharing the solution? People - and as such German citizens - could and should continue to use their cars. But we are living in a modern world in which nobody needs a private car at his front door as a mobility reserve. We simply cannot afford it. The really clever way is to make use of existing vehicles much better.

Google and Tesla have been testing autonomous driving systems for years - would that be a solution for the future? These are some options. A higher measure of safety and comfort can be expected from autonomous vehicles, however, these, too, must be optimally linked with all the other traffic means.

What will the city of your dreams look like in ten years’ time? Colourful, multi-facetted, very beautiful but socially balanced, digitally linked and sustainably operated.

And what will the city really look like in ten years’ time? A platform for performances initiated by young global people, where only the surface is important. 

And finally: Can you please continue the following sentence: „Berlin is smart…because it remembers that it has a licence for important matters.