Urban Node


Country: Germany Population: 1.7 million

Officially the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, Germany’s second-largest city is proud on its tradition of trade and sea travel. Today, it hosts Europe’s second-largest port on the river Elbe. Hamburg is a major transportation hub, connected to four motorways and the most important railway junction on the route to Scandinavia.
Hamburg has been selected for the focus phase of Vital Nodes. We will update this page as the project evolves.

During the Vital Nodes Workshop in Hamburg, the main challenges discussed, amongst others were:

  • The governance on the functional urban area level;
  • Space restrictions related to urban growth;
  • The limitations of the infrastructure, due to the location of the port close to the city;
  • Environmental conditions: noise and air pollution in certain areas exceed the norms.

Besides addressing those challenges and ongoing projects in the surroundings of Hamburg, related to the local as well as the regional and national/corridor level, interesting good practices and relation came across:

  • The German MORO project is currently analyzing the role of 13 German urban nodes and collecting good practices in order to create a network and formulate strategies for the urban nodes;
  • The expansion of the S-Bahn to Bad Oldesloe, named as unbundling the freight flows. This expansion has received CEF funding because of its impact on corridor level;
  • Extension of U-Bahn line U4, which frees up capacity for long-haul freight transport by reducing the traffic load.

In addition, it was discussed that good practices should not only focus on building more infrastructure, but also on making more efficient use of existing infrastructure (e.g. ERTMS to improve railway efficiency).

Takeaways from the workshop are:

  • Data collection and comparability is key in order to make clear and transparent decisions about traffic flows, related measures and corresponding funding;
  • There is a wish for continuation and improvement of the coherency in EU-policy There is a need for a stronger link between noise, air pollution and capacity, and coherent policy on ship and air emissions;
  • There is lots of added value in intensive knowledge exchange between different urban nodes. Nevertheless, there are so many platforms that keeping track of them all is impossible due to capacity constraints. Regulating those platforms in a ‘network of networks’ is addressed as valuable.

The Vital Nodes consortium would like to thank all participants for their valuable contributions and enthusiasm.

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