A view of Frankfurt's skyline, Source: cmphoto / Unsplash

Who visits downtown Frankfurt and why? Here you can get the answers

Who visits downtown Frankfurt and why? Here you can get the answers

A survey shows that pursuing car-free policies might risk damaging the economic power of the inner city

Last week, authorities in Frankfurt published a survey titled ‘Lively Inner City 2022’ (Vialte Inner City) about people’s preferences and habits when visiting the heart of that German city. This is the third survey local officials have commissioned on the subject, with the previous ones in 2018 and 2014.

According to an official statement, not a lot has changed in people’s habits and reasons for visiting the city centre since the first survey, however, there are several small improvements in the Zeil street shopping area – the most prominent shopping location.

Additionally, the survey showed a reluctance in people who visit the city centre by car to switch to other means of transport (cycling or public transport). The research goes as far as recommending officials take this factor into consideration when implementing anti-car legislation, as this may damage the economic power of the retail area.

Transportation habits in Frankfurt’s inner city

Researchers questioned people in Frankfurt’s city centre on Thursdays and Sundays (the busiest shopping days) to get a more accurate picture of the different flows of pedestrian and retail traffic in the Inner City.  According to the results, around 56% of people in the downtown area were from Frankfurt, while 44% came from outside.

However, the age of visitors is growing when compared to the 2018 survey. The average age of this group was 44 years, compared to 41, five years ago. At the same time, the average age of residents has increased by around 4 years in the same period.

Moreover, the ways people travel to downtown Frankfurt have not changed much since 2018. Around 48% use public transport and 33% use cars and motorbikes. Personal transportation is particularly important for out-of-town visitors as it is the primary mode of transportation for 55% of them (goes to 58% on Saturdays).

At the same time, 70% of all surveyed said they would come to the city centre by public transport, by bike or on foot. However, people who used cars, particularly visitors from the region, had a very different viewpoint. According to the survey, 46% of external visitors and 63% of car visitors would rather skip out on a visit to Frankfurt altogether if they could not use their personal transportation.

Researchers say that the majority of motorized and out-of-town customers would not be willing to do without their car when going shopping in the city centre. Thus, strengthening the car-free local policy could lead to shopping streets losing out on many customers with high purchasing power.



Growing City


Smart City


Green City


Social City


New European Bauhaus




ECP 2021 Winner TheMayorEU