Ziemann Photo

This is a sustainable urban transportation blog by Christopher Ziemann, AICP during his almost year-long fellowship with the Robert Bosch Foundation Fellowship Program. (This is not the same “Beyond the Autobahn” as the PlayStation Network Bronze-level trophy that can be unlocked in Gran Turismo 5 by completing 12,718 km [the total length of Germany’s Autobahn system].)

When most Americans I talk to think of Germany and transportation, the Autobahn is the first subject that comes up. And trains that run on time, of course. I want to show that there is a lot more to learn, especially with regards to sustainable, urban transportation. Public transportation, bike infrastructure, pedestrian safety, roadway design and operations: there is a lot that German CITIES do differently from U.S. CITIES that make it possible for 81 million people to live, work, shop, recreate, and generally get around in a country just smaller than Montana. The main goal of this blog is to show how cities like Hamburg use public transportation to make A BETTER CITY and a BETTER QUALITY OF LIFE.

My first work placement will be with the Hamburger Verkehrsverbund (HVV), the regional public transit agency that has developed several innovations including the Metrobus Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) network (or Buses with a High Level of Service [BHLS] for the purists out there) and the SchnellBus network. I intend this blog to discuss some fundamental differences and describe the practical side of transit in Hamburg, but by no means be comprehensive.

I am a transportation planner with almost 10 years of experience with urban transportation planning. With my masters degree from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, I worked for the District of Columbia Department of Transportation on several studies and projects, including D.C.’s first protected bicycle lane (15th Street), pedestrian safety projects, public transportation, traffic safety and congestion, commuter buses, downtown public space issues, parking, taxi stands, development review, etc., etc., etc. I was also the Chicago BRT Project Manager (the first BRT project through downtown, the Loop Link, is currently under construction and the second is finishing the environmental review). In addition, I’ve worked with the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP), the World Bank, the Congress for the New Urbanism, and HDR Engineering. Before this amazing opportunity, I lived in Germany for two separate years (in Freiburg and Berlin) and have hitchhiked three times through Europe.

Thanks for reading, feel free to pass this on, contact me (cziemann at gmail dot com), and follow me on Twitter at @beyond_autobahn.