Public communication and information in planning and realization of future mobility concepts

FuMob Graphic Copyright: © HumTec

The UFO sub-project Future Mobility focuses on demands, potentials and limits of public communication in the context of introducing new mobility concepts. The aim of Future Mobility is to develop new approaches for the planning and implementation of infrastructure decisions with a systematic and sustainable inclusion of stakeholders (citizens, decision makers, experts, etc.) in the planning process.

In contrast to the egalitarian planning in the last century, recent planning uses citizen participation as a tool to improve the quality and acceptance pf planning processes. Infrastructure projects like Stuttgart21 or the Campusbahn in Aachen (an electric tram that should connect two districts of the German City Aachen) are well-documented cases for communication conflicts between planners, politicians, the economy, and citizens. The result of these conflicts in Aachen led to a refusal of the Campusbahn by citizens’ decision.

Gendered urban planning and transportation planning thus analyses interviews with involved parties in planning and other person groups publicly supporting or rejecting the Campusbahn. On the one hand an actor analysis focus on the identification of central stakeholders, their profiles, and networks. A discourse analytic perspective illustrates different subject positions (opinion leadership, power relations), and different communication skills as well as different communication conditions in planning processes. Triangulating the results of both approaches provides a better understanding of the interrelation between involved parties and potential communication conflicts.

German Linguistics examines public discourses on infrastructure projects by applying methods of discourse analysis. The primary focus will be on identifying arguments whose claim is controversially evaluated by various discourse participants. In collaboration with the chair of Textlinguistics and Technical Communication, discourse analysis and text mining methods are combined to semi-automatically identify arguments and their use in large corpora as well as create and visualize argument topographies.

Communication science focuses on the examination of citizens' mobility requirements taking perceptions and opinions as well as processes of decision-making on major infrastructure projects into consideration. The aim is to explore gender-specific mobility needs across the life span and to identify peoples' individual demands and wishes with respect to the present and future mobility in urban spaces.

From a technology oriented perspective, communication and acceptance examinations generate implications for designing, improving and developing information systems for integrated mobility. Furthermore, potentials of information and communication technology, concerning generating incentives for the usage of alternative mobility modes, are going to be examined.

Project supervisor:

Prof. Dr. Eva-Maria Jakobs

Textlinguistics and Technical Communication,
RWTH Aachen University

Templergraben 83, 52062 Aachen
+49 241 80 93563


Prof. Dr. Dirk Vallée

Institute for Urban and Transport Planning
RWTH Aachen University
Mies-van-der-Rohe-Str. 1, 52074 Aachen

+49 241 80 25200

Project partners:

Communication Science, RWTH Aachen University
Gender and Diversity in Engineering, RWTH Aachen University
German Linguistics, RWTH Aachen University
Information Systems and Databases, RWTH Aachen University