How can modern societies satisfy growing mobility needs and make them more sustainable?
ITAS topic mobility

The need for mobility of people worldwide continues to increase. This is due to economic factors, but also to migration, tourism, and the increasing global networking of many people. Thus, the associated problems such as climate-damaging emissions, overloaded transport infrastructures, accidents, and noise are becoming more acute. These developments are concentrated in urban agglomerations, which are subject to further densification worldwide, and are increasingly hindering the creation of livable environments. At the same time, exactly the opposite developments are threatening the quality of life and mobility in rural areas. Electromobility, including electrically assisted bicycles and scooters, flying taxis, and even inner-city cable cars are intended to address these problems.

ITAS primarily investigates new mobility concepts, which deal with technical innovations on the one hand and with changing mobility patterns of people on the other. For example, we analyze the possibilities of autonomous vehicles as well as the ethical challenges of their use in urban environments, but also in the surrounding areas.

Sustainability of biofuels

ITAS also intensively studies the sustainability of second generation biofuels (synthetic fuels from agricultural and forestry residues) and third generation biofuels (fuels from algae). In the projects Energy System 2050, reFuels, and Photofuel, the entire “life cycle” is examined and compared with that of conventional fuels and battery electric vehicles.

Automated driving and digitalization

Digitalization is regarded as an important factor for innovations in the mobility system. It enables a better networking of different modes of transport for multi- and intermodal transport services. It is intended to improve road safety or help to establish new mobility services. ITAS studies the possible design of such innovations and the effects that can be expected after their implementation. In the VI-DAS project, for example, researchers have analyzed the ethical and social aspects of insuring automated vehicles and created a guide for technology development. This provides an overview of possible environmental consequences as well as the effects on the distribution of safety risks or the social participation of elderly, physically impaired and socioeconomically disadvantaged people.

Socio-technical change and future mobility

Technical and social change are strongly interconnected and influence each other – especially in the mobility sector. Against this background, work at ITAS focuses on technical and social developments and their potentials to change established mobility patterns and enable future mobility concepts (e.g., personal air transport systems or urban ropeway systems). In the process, researchers develop options and strategies for their political design and implementation.

Urban research

Urban technology assessment examines urban innovation and transformation, e.g. the development of climate-neutral and smart cities or their socio-technical resilience. The research interest focuses on the interplay between urban technologies, culture, and social movements.

Projects on the topic

To the complete project list


Further contact

Jonas Moosmüller
Public relations
Tel.: +49 721 608-26796

Publications on the topic

Heinzmann, P.; Glöser-Chahoud, S.; Schultmann, F.; Langenmayr, U.; Ruppert, M.; Fichtner, W.; Arnold, U.; Dahmen, N.; Fuchs, C.; Lam, H.; Graf, D.; Rauch, R.; Haas-Santo, K.; Dittmeyer, R.; Weyhing, T.; Wagner, U.; Andresh, M.; Haase, M.; Patyk, A.; Scheer, D.; Schmieder, L.; Kölle, C.; Landgraf, M.; Koch, T.; Sauer, J.
Ergebnisbericht reFuels – Kraftstoffe neu denken
2023. (O. Toedter, Ed.), Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT). doi:10.5445/IR/1000159935Full textFull text of the publication as PDF document
Haase, M.; Wulf, C.; Baumann, M.; Rösch, C.; Weil, M.; Zapp, P.; Naegler, T.
Prospective assessment of energy technologies: a comprehensive approach for sustainability assessment
2022. Energy, Sustainability and Society, 12 (20), Article no: 20. doi:10.1186/s13705-022-00344-6Full textFull text of the publication as PDF document
Hildebrand, J.; Rau, I.; Hauser, E.; Gölz, S.; Scheer, D.; François, D. E.; Witte, K.
Gesellschaftliche Akzeptanzfragen bei der Umsetzung von Wasserstofftechnologien
2022. Mit Wasserstoff zur Klimaneutralität – von der Forschung in die Anwendung. Beiträge zur FVEE-Jahrestagung 2021, 38–41, ForschungsVerbund Erneuerbare Energien (FVEE) 
Andresh, M.; Patyk, A.; Haase, M.; Toedter, O.; Weber, P.
Ökobilanzen im Projekt reFuels – Kraftstoffe neu denken
2021. Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT). doi:10.5445/IR/1000141494Full textFull text of the publication as PDF document
Scheer, D.; Schmieder, L.
Refueling the Future? Perspectives of German stakeholder positioning towards renewable fuels
2021. 13th International Colloquium Fuels. Ed.: N. Schubert. Heft 1, 15–22, expert-Verlag 
Wichmann, J.; Lauersen, K. J.; Biondi, N.; Christensen, M.; Guerra, T.; Hellgardt, K.; Kühner, S.; Kuronen, M.; Lindberg, P.; Rösch, C.; Yunus, I. S.; Jones, P.; Lindblad, P.; Kruse, O.
Engineering Biocatalytic Solar Fuel Production: The PHOTOFUEL Consortium
2021. Trends in biotechnology, 39 (4), 323–327. doi:10.1016/j.tibtech.2021.01.003