The glossary

Planning terms are often rooted in the administrative and planning culture of a particular country and cannot be straightforwardly translated.

The English-language glossary presented here is intended to offer a translation and elucidation of central terms in the German planning system to a non-German speaking readership in the interests of facilitating discourse.

Our intention is to ensure as much consistency as possible in the key terms used throughout this platform and the publications of the ARL that can be found here.

The definitions used are based on those found in the national glossary for Germany, which was elaborated in the framework of the BSR INTERREG III B project COMMIN.

Click here to perform a search based on the English term.

Hier können sie vom deutschen Begriff ausgehend suchen.


Territorial authorityGebietskörperschaft

A territorial authority (or “territorial corporation”) is an area-based legal person governed by public law whose territory consists of a spatially demarcated part of the national territory. It is assigned certain sovereign functions and sovereign authority over persons present in its territory. Territorial authorities have the right of self-organisation and self-government. The most important territorial authorities in Germany are the federation, the states, counties, and municipalities.

Territorial subarea reportTeilraumgutachten

Subspace opinions are informal planning concepts for a manageable sub-space of a region (such as one or more counties) with the aim of problem-specific and solutions and strategies to develop or order of the sub-region to develop. They primarily are in the state and regional planning to apply.

Transport planningVerkehrsplanung

Transport planning is a sectoral field of planning concerned with the causes of traffic, traffic and transport itself, and its effects. Transport is not an end in itself but a “subservient function.” The aims of transport planning is therefore to ensure that all regions are accessible thus enabling the entire population is enabled to participate in economic, societal, and cultural processes, and to avoid any traffic-related impairment of environment and the quality of life. Statutory objectives include the promotion of environmentally friendly modes of transport (public transport, cycling, pedestrian). Among the current challenges facing transport planning are continuing suburbanisation, separation of functions, and diminishing use density. Transport planning needs to integrated into overall spatial planning and coordinated with other sectoral planning. It takes place on all levels of planning, from the EU to the urban district level. In order to assess transport requirements and planning alternations, transport planners need comprehensive data.

Transport planning is the area of sectoral planning that attracts the greatest attention among the general public and politicians. Coordinated, medium to long-term federal transport planning is laid down every 5 to 10 years in the Federal Transport Infrastructure Plan (FTIP). At the state level, public transport plans provide the basis for developing public transport. Municipalities, regions, and states may draw up general transport plans (Generalverkehrsplan or Gesamtverkehrsplan) providing a strategy for dealing with all transport and traffic in the planning area. At the city-wide level, transport development planning adopts a similarly comprehensive approach, albeit with greater regard for the social and environmental compatibility of urban transport and traffic. The transport planning instruments used differ from project to project depending on their scale. They include the planning approval procedure and the urban land-use plan.