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Shining Lights


Where would we be without the trailblazers? Those cities, projects, people and events that have shown the way forward and that can provide us with a great example to follow. 


This is an ongoing database of best practices worldwide. Please send us an email if you would like to include a new entry.

More cities will be published soon.


Country: Germany

City or region: Freiburg

City profile:

Freiburg im Breisgau is a small city in the south-west of Germany, nestled in the Black Forest and having a population of 200,000. Freiburg is often regarded as one of the most sustainable cities in Germany, an example for many other cities in the country and throughout Europe. This is a city with a high level of walking and cycling. In Freiburg, even the coach of the Bundesliga soccer team is known to travel to work by bicycle.


As of 2016, the modal split of Freiburg is: PT: 16% Cars: 21% Cycling: 34% Pedestrians: 29%


A big part of Freiburg’s success is owed to the fact that it made wise transport policy decisions and likewise prioritized public transport investment. Freiburg has a high quality network of public transport, including an extensive tram and bus network and low fares.

Scope of carfree:

Freiburg has a large carfree pedestrian zone in the medieval city center. One special feature is the presence of the “Bächle” which is a small stream that is embedded in the pedestrian streetscape and flowing throughout the downtown. Notably, Freiburg has the largest new carfree residential quarter in the world: the Vauban district. This is considered a “sustainable model district” with ecological housing and connected by tramway. Limited car trips are allowed for deliveries and there are very few parking places. As of 2009, 70% of households do not own a private car.

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