More and more people are migrating to the big cities - Hamburg, Berlin, Munich. There are reasons for this: cities are not just centres for the major international companies, they also offer a huge range of leisure and shopping facilities. This is particularly attractive to young people, who are leaving their homes in rural areas to follow their chosen career paths. Urbanisation continues its dynamic development, which means that, within the next few years, some 80 % of the population will be living in cities.
The influx does, however, have far-reaching consequences: while rent levels remain stable or are even falling in rural areas, they are exploding alarmingly in the cities. There is one thing the country has in abundance which is rare in a metropolis: space. The situation is becoming critical, not just with regard to accommodation, but also on the streets: in Germany motorists spend hours waiting in traffic jams and congestion and at road works. As a result, a great deal of one of our most precious resources - time - is wasted.
And this battle is not restricted to Germany. Other European countries, too, are aware of the progress of urbanisation and its consequences. But what can we do?
This question was also asked in Barcelona, and as a result a network was established to provide solutions and concepts to address these challenges. The Cooperative Automotive Research Network, or CARNET, is a platform with partners from the automotive industry, universities and institutions. The industrial partners in the organisation include Seat and VW, as well as EDAG's Spanish subsidiary "Rücker Lypsa". Natán Parra of Rücker Lypsa explained why it is important to join forces to address the complex requirements of urban mobility: "Only if we bundle theoretical and practical competencies can we improve mobility for people in urban areas! To this end, our research is concentrated on four key fields: new vehicle concepts, software & applications in the automotive industry, and concepts for mobility and for business models in urban areas."
To look to the future, however, we need to do more than just evaluate a number of different focal points. CARNET has therefore set itself two further aims, apart from research: further education and networking. "Specialists from the automotive industry are offering special seminars at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC)," as Parra reports. "Exchanging ideas with the other partners is also extremely important. An Innovation Day was therefore held at the beginning of June, to enable all the members to present their visions of urban mobility."