Title

URBAN TRANSPORT IN GERMANY: PROVIDING FEASIBLE ALTERNATIVES TO THE CAR.

Authors

JOHN R. PUCHER

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

1998

Subject Area

ridership - commuting, place - urban, mode - mass transit, mode - bike, mode - pedestrian

Keywords

Walking, Urban transportation, Transit, Public transit, Mass transit, Local transit, Intracity transportation, Germany, Cycling, Bicycling, Bicycle commuting

Abstract

With the second highest level of car ownership in the world, and the third highest population density in Europe, Germany has adopted a range of policies to balance the many private benefits of car use with its serious social and environmental problems. In order to 'tame' the car, most German cities have implemented a twofold strategy of expanding and improving pedestrian, bicycling and public transport alternatives simultaneously with restricting car use and making it more expensive. That has increased political acceptability since the car-restrictive measures are not perceived as mere punishment of car drivers. The results of this coordinated urban transport strategy have been impressive. Germany, as a whole, has managed to increase public transport use and to stabilize the car share of modal split. Some cities, of course, have been more successful than others, and this paper examines three of the most successful cities: Mnster, Freiburg and Munich. In each of the cities, the percentage of travel by bicycling, walking and public transport has been raised over the past 20 years, while the car's share of modal split has fallen. This article documents the range of policies used to restrict car use, both in Germany as a whole, and in the three case-study cities in particular. The key to success is found to be mutually reinforcing transport and land-use policies. It is the combination of a whole set of coordinated policies that explains the dramatic success in changing travel behavior.