In February 2023, Mobycon’s international team welcomed Dagmar Köhler, who will strengthen our DACH team. She shares a little more with us about her experience and passion for cross-border cooperation.
I recently joined Mobycon in Berlin, and I am very excited to work with a superb team of renowned experts, planners, traffic engineers and social scientists. The diversity of professional experience creates an unmatched pool of skills, perspectives and knowledge, and I am proud to be part of that.
With Mobycon, I expect to help local authorities in Germany and beyond to match high standards with pragmatism and practice. During the past three years as Team Leader Urban Mobility at the German Institute of Urban Affairs (Difu) in Berlin, I focused on identifying key challenges and drivers to boost cycling in the country. I am driven to create a mobility system in which cycling is a commonly valued mode of transport for everyone, not a partisan political issue. I believe in Germany, we can learn a thing or two about these challenges by looking beyond our administrative, political and cognitive borders, and I am ready to facilitate an in-depth dialogue from my new position at Mobycon.
I grew up in Dresden, Germany. Luckily, the fall of the Berlin wall allowed me to roam further, and during my studies, I was able to benefit from internships and semesters abroad in India, South Africa, Spain and Peru.
Following my graduation in Geography and Communications from Leipzig University, I opted to work for the European city network POLIS in Brussels. Thematically focused on mobility and transport innovation, I was lucky enough to work with determined professionals from the most committed cities in Europe. I worked on European projects on topics such as active travel, cleaner fleets and road safety, helped the European Commission coordinate European Mobility Week and inaugurated the annual SUMP Award. When I took over POLIS’ Working Group on road safety, I could dig deep into European road safety policy and the principles of safe systems to protect vulnerable road users.
Brussels proved to be a dynamic place to work and live in. Not only did it allow me to collaborate with people from across Europe, but the city itself also changed a lot during the decade I lived there. Back in 2010, it was an exceptional event to meet a fellow cyclist at a traffic light back, but over the years, Brussels started to make room for cyclists, introduced 30 km/h speed limit norm and meanwhile even reallocated road space of the major urban highway-like commuter axes.
Having grown to a family of four, we moved to Berlin in 2019 and found ourselves in a city that felt much more accessible. We saw a lot more bicycle lanes and wider sidewalks and were stunned how we could reach literally everywhere we wanted by Berlin’s public transport (okay, as long as stairs were no barrier). Cycling with our kids did not feel great, however, and we quickly figured that this was due to high speed of motor traffic. Did we really miss Brussels’ congested roads that slowed down traffic?
Working for the German Institute of Urban Affairs (Difu) in Berlin as head of the German Cycling Academy allowed me to dive deep into Germany’s cycling bubble. Difu is the largest urban research institute in the German speaking world, and it is committed to support municipalities on their path towards sustainability. Our team, therefore, made an effort to spread the word about high quality cycling infrastructures and ways to make them a reality. One of my early highlights was our webcast on how to implement pop-up bike lanes, not only in Berlin-Friedrichshain but across the entire country.
Lo and behold, it was Mobycon who drafted those technical guidelines on pop-up bike lanes. I am excited to be part of that team now in my new role and to bring my German as well as European insights together. Given my Mobycon colleagues’ profound experience on delivering mobility projects in the Netherlands, North America and Germany, I feel that I’m in an even better position to support municipalities in the DACH area and beyond to make their ambitious plans a reality.
If you would like to discuss upcoming projects or opportunities in your community, please connect with me HERE.
“Transport is not an end in itself but a key enabler to live, work, participate and thrive. In most parts of the world the potential of active travel is yet to be elevated. I am committed to help cities in Germany and abroad to connect with the Dutch experience and reflect on overarching goals and local necessities.”