S-Bahn mit Skyline von Frankfurt am Main (©stock.adobe.com/helmutvogler)

CommuterLab – paths towards sustainable urban-suburban mobility based on the Frankfurt Rhein-Main region

The CommuterLab research project examines how to bring about a more agreeable and environment friendly form of commuting between the city and the surrounding region, taking into consideration the strong changes currently affecting the basic social and technological parameters.

Research approach

Commuting is viewed here as an everyday practice, involving routines that are more than the mere traversal of space between people’s place of residence and their workplace. The role of the ISOE researchers is to conduct a systematic analysis of commuting in order to identify different commuter types. From this, new mobility concepts and offerings for private households, municipalities and companies will be developed in a co-design process between researchers and stakeholders. Private households, municipalities and companies are then to trial the most promising options in a field experiment within two commuter corridors in the Rhein-Main region, after which the changes in practices will be evaluated. A stakeholder dialogue will accompany the process from start to finish.


The volume of commuter traffic has increased steadily in recent years – bringing with it the known consequences for ecology, health and quality of life that are clearly detectable in cities with so-called inbound commuting. But it is also worth mentioning the side effects of commuting as felt in the places of origin and transit municipalities. In the CommuterLab research project, starting points for measures are identified and introduced into society via innovative planning practices with the aim of promoting a social-ecological transformation to the mobility system.

Research and project partners 

  • ISOE – Institute for Social-Ecological Research (overall project management)
  • TU Dortmund, Department of Urban and Regional Planning
  • ivm GmbH
  • Hochschule Rhein-Main, Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering

Partners in practice

  • City of Frankfurt
  • Regional Authority FrankfurtRheinMain


The project “CommuterLab – paths towards sustainable suburban mobility based on the Frankfurt Rhein-Main region” is funded by the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF), as part of its priority funding for social-ecological research within the funding area “MobilitätsZukunftsLabor 2050”.


Nitschke, Luca/Paula Quentin/Fabian Kanisius/Kai Schluckebier/Nora Sofie Burlon/Jost Buscher/Jutta Deffner/André Bruns/Melina Stein/Heike Mühlhans/Frank Othengrafen/Jan-Marc Joost (2022): Pendeln verstehen: Status quo, Forschungsstand und Perspektiven. ISOE-Materialien Soziale Ökologie, 67. Frankfurt am Main: ISOE - Institut für sozial-ökologische Forschung

Stein, Melina/Luca Nitschke/Laura Trost/Ansgar Dirschauer/Jutta Deffner (2022): Impacts of Commuting Practices on Social Sustainability and Sustainable Mobility. Sustainability 14 (8)


2020/09 – 2023/08