SP2: Breathable Corridors. Mobility in Multifunctional Urban Spaces

Head: Prof. Dr. Gebhard Wulfhorst

Execution: Mahtab Baghaiepoor


More than 50% of local trips can be realized by active mobility, while pedestrians and cyclists are specifically sensitive to the quality of the urban environment. Therefore, it is expected that UGI can enhance the quality of recreational destinations at a short distance, increase walkability within neighborhoods, improve cycling conditions along green corridors, and thus contribute to an enhanced quality of urban life. However, in accessibility research, there is still a lack of considering comfort in the criteria for the service of active mobility. Walking and cycling comfort is influenced by diverse factors, such as visual and aural stimuli, micro-climate and air quality, which are strongly related to the presence and quality of UGI. As the presence of UGI correlates with the mode share of active mobility, further investigations are necessary to understand these interactions and to achieve more sustainable mobility patterns. At the same time, the transport network structure can contribute significantly to the integration of UGI into urban environments. Synergies of climate change mitigation (a high share of active modes) and adaptation (preventing heat islands) in urban environments are crucial.


The objectives of this SP are to:

  • (O1) Review the potential of multifunctional UGI as ‘breathable corridors’ enhancing the attractiveness of ‘soft modes’;
  • (O2) Analyze the relationships of UGI features and performance (network structure, biodiversity, pollutant reduction, cooling effect, etc.) concerning the impacts on walking and cycling comfort and the overall human well-being in urban areas;
  • (O3) Examine the spatial and governance requirements for the creation of ‘breathable corridors’.

Main research questions (Q) are:

  • (Q1) Which effect does UGI have on pedestrians and cyclists (mode choice, route choice)? How does this change depend on daytime and season (concerning illumination and weather conditions)?
  • (Q2) Which direct impact, both positive and negative, do specific characteristics of UGI have on human comfort and well-being?
  • (Q3) What are the requirements and potentials in mobility governance for creating added value of active mobility networks with respect to the development of UGI for attractive urban spaces and which conclusions can be drawn for its further enhancement?


Empirical research will be undertaken in stage 1 by user surveys, revealing the preferences of environmental factors on mobility behavior (depending on trip purpose, age, gender, etc.) to derive the requirements on the quality of the surrounding UGI (SP1). By linking the survey results with measurements of e.g., thermal comfort (SP7) and air quality, correlations between UGI effects and user perceptions can be quantified in stage 2. Moreover, expert interviews will help to identify the specific user needs to be included in planning processes. To generate transferable results, contributions towards a system model will link up the specific research question to the UGI framework. The findings will help urban planners to develop suitable green (blue) urban network structures that promote active mobility under the inclusion of all user groups, and at the same time enhance biodiversity and stormwater management. Related governance questions will be addressed in stage 3 by policy study and in different workshop formats, such as design workshops and to foster stakeholder cooperation in urban-transport planning processes.