Urban/ regional mobility

The mobility demands of the future must lead to stronger connectivity of transport modes. Current transport concepts focus strongly on the vehicle, the mode of transport, but in urban areas in particular, people are increasingly moving 'fluidly' through their environment. Digital networks enable instantaneous rescheduling of routes using actual data and passengers can choose alternative routes and/or other modes of transport at any point in time. These capabilities will have a lasting effect on the design and operation of transportation platforms. With a view to air transport, operational concepts for electric flying, automated/ autonomous control and monitoring of flying platforms, and efficient connectivity to other modes of transport represent the key challenges.


The research field is divided into two areas: Traffic management and integration of different technologies, and necessary infrastructure (vertiports) and location/connection to ground-based traffic modes. For traffic management, innovative concepts for efficient flight guidance (e.g. dynamic sectors) can be scaled to urban areas. The development of access infrastructures (vertiports) requires the consideration of new legal and operational frameworks as well as an appropriate distribution of these access points based on potential demands (resource logistics).

Traffic management and integration


Current developments are adding another dimension to traffic management in urban areas. The integration of flying transports enables and requires a completely new management of mobility. Besides the efficient integration of access points (vertiports), individual flight guidance and urban airspace management are challenging research aspects. Within the holistic view of urban mobility, the main focus is on aspects of standardized arrival/ departure procedures and the safe handling of aviation emergencies in conjunction with the support of ground-based traffic management (e.g., clearing road sections).



  • Implementation of a virtual city model in a simulation environment and integration of ground and air traffic management concepts
  • Combination of virtual and real flight events in a mixed-reality environment
  • Real laboratory for field tests and demonstrators with the integration of virtualized components


Publications (selection)

Air taxi flight performance modeling and application
R Brühl, H Fricke, M Schultz (2021). USA/Europe Air Traffic Management Research and Development Seminar

Urban airspace structure considering dynamic traffic demands
M Schultz, S Kern (2018). Air Transport Research Society World Conference

Infrastructure and locations


While airports usually have a separate infrastructure from the city, the idea of vertiports (vertical take-off/landing and airport) is to integrate these into the urban area. It is assumed that between 30 and 90 access points will be needed for an effective network in a city, depending on the size of the city. The respective locations of vertiports must be aligned with the expected demand and allow for a smooth transition between the different modes of transport. Vertiports must meet aviation security requirements and implement necessary access controls appropriately. Likewise, the infrastructure must be designed in such a way that arrivals and departures are carried out safely and negative impacts on the population are minimized. Particularly in view of the fact that the transport capacity of urban air traffic will be far below that of local public transport, it remains to be seen to what extent the planned use cases (emergency/goods transport, intra-/ intercity transport, airport feeder services) justify an area-wide service for a restricted group of users.



  • Optimization of vertiport locations and operation of networks considering changing demands throughout the day


Publications (selection)

Future Demand and Optimum Distribution of Droneports
Y Zeng, KH Low, M Schultz, and VN Duong (2020). IEEE 23rd International Conference on Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITSC)

Droneport Placement Optimization and Capacity Prediction
Y Zeng, LK Huat, VN Duong, M Schultz (2020). International Conference on Research in Air Transportation (ICRAT)