transform-R – Shaping the energy and mobility transition as a socio-ecological transformation in the Frankfurt/Rhine-Main region

In the transport sector there is growing pressure for action to make substantial contributions to climate protection goals. Against this background, the research association transform-R aims to sensitize actors in the Frankfurt/Rhine-Main metropolitan region to the mobility transition and to identify new options for action. In four large-scale real-world laboratories, social innovations and new organisational processes in the field of sustainable mobility are to be tested over several years. The basis is a guiding concept developed jointly with all actors in the region.

Research approach

The implementation of the mobility transition requires new constellations and cooperations between actors from the political field, civil society and from the economic sector in the region. In addition, for the mobility transition, the energy transition in transport is also a crucial component, so it is important to make renewable, climate-neutral energy available for transport. In order to improve the situation, a guiding concept for this transformation process is being drafted in transform-R together with the stakeholders involved in the Frankfurt/Rhine-Main metropolitan region, while taking into account current changes in the energy sector. 

This concept is the strategic basis for the subsequent participatory development of ideas between science and practice in four real laboratories. Here, social innovations, innovative measures, cooperation structures, communication and organizational processes are to be developed for different aspects of the mobility transition. Here, we are looking at neighbourhood and inter-communal approaches, or the interface to renewable energy production. These will be tested with the aim to achieve a mobility transition for the region. The measures particularly address the quality of life of the residents, who are therefore the focus of the entire planning, execution and implementation. The evaluation of the effects and experiences of the tested measures is also of key importance in order to develop transferable recommendations for action for the region and beyond.

The tasks of the ISOE researchers include the development of the process for an integrated guiding concept, the preparation and implementation of a co-creative process together with actors in the region, and the process-related and empirical monitoring of two real world laboratories. An overarching task of the ISOE team is the transdisciplinary and participatory design and implementation of sustainability innovations in the mobility transition. Both the mobility culture approach and the knowledge of transformation processes are applied here.


For municipalities, energy suppliers, transportation companies and other sectors of the economy, the ever-worsening climate crisis, rising energy costs, the need to reallocate public space, traffic congestion, air pollution control and the need to improve the carbon footprint present enormous challenges. 
The mobility sector plays a crucial role in achieving the climate goals, but has been treading water for years. A fundamental transformation towards a sustainable mobility culture is therefore needed. 

Since transformation processes often transcend municipal and administrative boundaries and take place at the regional or supraregional level, the best possible cooperation between the relevant actors within the multilevel system and in civil society is required in order to meet the necessary speed of change. The inclusion of the entire metropolitan region represents a new and promising approach.

Research and project partners

  • Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main, Institut für Humangeographie, Arbeitsgruppe Mobilitätsforschung 
  • ifeu gGmbH – Institut für Energie- und Umweltforschung, Heidelberg

Practice partner 

  • Regionalverband FrankfurtRheinMain (project coordination)


The project “transform-R – Shaping the energy and mobility transition as a socio-ecological transformation in the FrankfurtRhineMain region” is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), funding priority “Transformation Initiative Urban-Rural Future”.


2022/11 – 2027/10