HFU Mobility Congress

"Mobility at rural universities" - this model project was the topic of the Mobility Congress which took place on Friday, 30 June 2017 in the auditorium of the HFU Furtwangen Campus. The aim of the congress was to provide an update on the "Model project for the development of sustainable mobility solutions for students and staff of universities in rural areas" research project, led by Professor Dr. Jochen Baier (Faculty of Business Information Systems) and Professor Dr. Anton Karle (Faculty of Business Administration and Engineering). The project has been in progress already for 18 months and still has 18 months to run. Positive effects of the project at the university can already be demonstrated. For example, by using e-cars for official university business, several tons of CO² have been saved. The congress was organized by students of the Business Networking (ebusiness) degree programme.

"There's no better place in this country to deal with the topic of mobility in rural areas, than at our university," confirmed HFU President Prof. Dr. Rolf Schofer. HFU has campuses in Furtwangen, Schwenningen and Tuttlingen plus satellite campuses in Rottweil and Freiburg which means a lot of driving between the various locations. Professor Baier pointed out that the project also affects two other universities in the area, the Cooperative State University Baden-Württemberg in Villingen-Schwenningen and the Trossingen University of Music with a total of more than 11,000 students, plus administrative and teaching staff.

In his talk, the plenary speaker Peter Hauk, the Minister for Rural Areas and Consumer Protection, talked on the subject of "Sustainable accessability". "Our job is to provide young people with what they need to successfully study in rural areas," stressed Hauk. "Rural universities will grow in importance in the future." This is the reason why his ministry is supporting this model project, which is one of a kind in Germany.

Mobility is on the verge of a major change. "In the future, students who drive cars with an internal combustion engine will be driving vintage cars," said Michael Ruprecht from e-mobil BW, the state agency for electric mobility. The energy revolution in electricity and heating has already taken place - with transport it's about to happen. The fact that the private car is in reality a stationary vehicle which is only used for about one hour every day, means that new car-sharing models are necessary.

The over 70 participants of the congress took part in workshops to develop ideas related to public transport, electric vehicles, parking management and ride-sharing. Also discussed was how students can be better informed about the options available. What are the hurdles preventing the use of buses to get to university? How can ride-sharing be better organized online? One thing is clear, convenience comes at a cost. Prof. Dr. Jochen Baier commented, "If the bus times don't fit with the lecture times, the considerably higher costs of the car compared to public transport will continue to be accepted." The local bus companies are currently cooperating to rework the bus timetables to make them more customer-friendly.

The project itself focues on the development of efficient, inexpensive and sustainable mobility solutions for the students and teaching staff of rural universities. The project is funded with €300,000 by the Ministry of Rural Areas and Consumer Protection and will run until the end of 2018

Project aims

  • Improvement of public transport: coordination of timetables to lecture times
  • Electromobile university vehicles: for post delivery and commuting between the campuses for lectures and meetings
  • E-carsharing: e-mobile supplements to public transport for students and staff
  • Increased percentage of ridesharing: support through the use of app for PC and smartphone
  • Intermodality: Integration of public transport, carsharing and ridesharing in app for PC and smartphone
  • Use of e-bikes

Aims achieved so far

  • Public transport: encouragement of closer contact between different public transport firms and raising of their awareness to aims of project
  • Support of ridesharing: establishment of HFU group at flinc (professional ridesharing platform)
  • Official business trips: to check the feasibility and acceptance of sustainable mobility for business trips: leasing of 2 Daimler electric B-class cars. The cars are made availabe to staff for business trips over an HFU-platform
  • E-mobile supplement to student driving: e-car-sharing project set up on Furtwangen and Schwenningen campuses - 2 Renault Zoe electric cars from the e-carsharing provider my-e-car made available for students and staff at special rates
  • Sustainable university transport: testing of practical feasibility of electric Nissan eNV for university goods transport over short distances, including post delivery on Schwenningen campus
  • E-bike-based transport: testing of an e-bike for goods transport over short distances on the Tuttlingen campus