Foreword: Decentralised prosperity through mobility…
Posted: 25 February 2016 | Alexander Dobrindt, Federal Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, Germany | No comments yet
There is almost no other country in the world which stands for decentralised prosperity like Germany. Our highly developed public road and rail transport network makes a substantial contribution in this respect by providing the relevant links in metropolitan regions as well as in rural areas. After all, a properly functioning transport system is the basis for growth, wealth and jobs. When looking at the wealth pyramid of modern economies, we see there can be no prosperity without mobility – this is a fundamental principle of economics. Besides, mobility is the prerequisite for individual freedom, social inclusion and for a high quality of life of our citizens…
The success story of public transport
The aim of the Federal Government is to ensure unrestricted mobility for our industry and our population. A key element in this connection is local public transport by bus and rail and we endeavour to continue its success story. For example, since the reunification of Germany, the volume of public transport has increased by approximately 30% to in the region of 12 billion passengers per year, and the transport performance calculated in passenger kilometres by more than 40%. According to our traffic forecast, we expect a continued high growth in the future, especially in the rail sector.
Investment ‘ramp-up’ for the modernisation of the transport infrastructure
This is a major challenge. But above all it is an enormous opportunity, because economic growth and an enhanced mobility are directly linked. For Germany as the number one mobility country worldwide, the foundation for this is a modern and efficient transport infrastructure. We have, therefore, initiated an investment ‘ramp-up’ and will achieve an increase in funds of approximately 40% to in the region of €14 billion per year until 2018. This is an all-time record and an upgrade of our prosperity for the future. Moreover, the Federal Government will remain a mainstay for the financing of regional and local transport and will support the Federal States until 2031 with a total of more than €150 billion of regionalisation funds.
The way towards Mobility 4.0
Our main task now is to successfully lead public transport into the digital era – with intelligent and innovative Mobility 4.0 transport strategies: Digitalisation is the key for the elaboration of forward-looking mobility strategies. Well-established practical examples here are the seamless electronic timetable information (DELFI) and the electronic ticket, the so-called (((eTicket Deutschland. Up to now, my Ministry has provided funds to the tune of €14 million for the nationwide introduction of the (((eTicket – and we will make a further €16 million available until 2018.
Promotion of electric mobility in local public transport
In addition, local public transport is best-practice for alternative fuels and drivetrain technologies. Many public transport operators in Germany have been using electrically powered light-rail systems and trolleybuses for some decades already. We promote the evolution and the practical use of battery-powered electric buses by research and demonstration projects. For this purpose, we have provided a total of more than €90 million during the last few years. Currently, 28 projects with battery-powered buses, battery-powered hybrid diesel buses and fuel cell powered vehicles are under way on a national scale. Thus, we contribute to the break-through of alternative drivetrain technologies in road transport and ensure that the transport of the future is more efficient, quieter and cleaner.
Progress of mobility by modern and efficient passenger transport
I am convinced that with the modernisation and efficiency campaign for our infrastructure, as well as the dynamic increase of the regionalisation funds, the public transport systems are well-equipped for the future. By providing cost-free WLAN in buses and trains, digital mobility assistants and intelligent transport systems, we will enhance their attractiveness and efficiency. Thus, local public transport continues to guarantee the progress of mobility in urban and rural areas also in the digital era.