Berliner Witschaftsgespräche as Guest at B-Part Am Gleisdreieck   

A Panel Discussion on “Mobility and Infrastructure Development in Berlin – Vision and Future Perspectives (Moderator Gernot Lobenberg, Oliver Friederici, Dr. Rolf Erfurt, Regine Günther, Kristina Jahn, CEO Berliner Wirtschaftsgespräche e.v., Volker Krane. Image credit: Business Network)

On the evening of September 10th, an exciting discussion, as part of the Berliner Witschaftsgespräche, took place at B-Part Am Gleisdreieck. The debate was on the importance of infrastructure development for Berlin as a business location.  As host of the event Marc F. Kimmich, founder of COPRO, initiated the evening and was pleased to welcome the guests personally after a long break due to the Corona-Pandemic. “With B-Part, we have made the area of the former freight station accessible to the public again after more than 100 years”, said Kimmich. “With the urban quarter of the future, the Urbane Mitte Am Gleisdreieck, we will create an area that stands for mobility and work of the future.

Panelists were the Senator for Environment, Transport and Climate Protection Regine Günther, Oliver Friederici from the Berlin CDU, Dr. Rolf Erfurt, Director of BVG, Uwe Northmann from CISCO Systems, and Volker Krane, Director of ADAC Berlin-Brandenburg. Senator Günther recently presented a climate and mobility concept – but the decision on this was postponed at short notice. The senator summarised the concept’s goal: “We want to create a city worth living in, loving and which also meets the requirements of climate protection.

Traffic expert Oliver Friederici saw the need for a significant change in transportation for Berlin’s growing city and urged expanding the public transport system. He also called for more courage in implementing existing ideas and concepts. He pleaded for the S-Bahn line 21, which runs through the Gleisdreieck interchange station: “The S21 is very important and creates a new north-south connection, which will be of great importance for Berlin’s traffic”.

All participants agreed that the expansion and coordination of all transportation industry players are necessary, instead of playing against each other. Public transport is of particular importance in this context: “We transport around 3 million passengers – per day,” said BVG board member for operations Dr. Rolf Erfurt. “We are now converting our bus fleet to e-mobility and have achieved great success in this context in a short time.” ADAC board member Volker Krane stated that car traffic in the city has to be reduced. He criticized that “there are too few attractive offers for commuters” and that “all means of transport must be better coordinated.

“30 percent of traffic is parking search traffic,” said Uwe Northmann of Cisco System, a global networking provider. “We need a multimodal transport system that offers a wide range of information and thus makes the interaction of different means of transport possible in the first place.

There was consensus on the need for new concepts for transport and mobility. Nevertheless, there were also disagreements. ADAC board member Volker Krane criticized the test request for the City-Maut initiated by Senator Günther as a concept from the past: “To demand five euros from people who drive into the city – the City-Maut is old-fashioned and outdated. Digital concepts and solutions are the opportunities for the future.

(Moderator Gernot Lobenberg, Marc F. Kimmich, Oliver Friederici, Dr. Rolf Erfurt, Regine Günther, Kristina Jahn, CEO Berliner Wirtschaftsgespräche e.v., Volker Krane. Image credit: Business Network)

Turning new ideas into reality

Thus, the round ended with the formulated goal of creating an affordable and flexible transport offer for all road users’ needs and minimizing the mutual obstructions of individual motorized traffic, public transport, and bicycle traffic. The ongoing digitalization offers great potential to show new ways. But all this also requires courage to put new ideas into practice – the decade is still young, but the road is still long.