Economic Policy and Infrastructure

Transportation

In 2014 as well, the car was used in Germany for more than 80 percent of passenger transport. Its transport volume increased to 928.8 billion person kilometers, a rise of 1.2 percent compared to the previous year. The most recent traffic forecast by the German Federal Government – with a time frame out to 2030 – expects that the car will also remain by far the dominant means of transport in the future, with a market share of just under 79 percent.

The road is the number 1 means of transport

In 2014 as well, the car was used in Germany for more than 80 percent of passenger transport. Its transport volume increased to 928.8 billion person kilometers, a rise of 1.2 percent compared to the previous year. The most recent traffic forecast by the German Federal Government – with a time frame out to 2030 – expects that the car will also remain by far the dominant means of transport in the future, with a market share of just under 79 percent. Consequently, there is no sign of any cultural aversion to the car. This is also the case for younger age groups. According to corresponding market studies by PSB Research and TNS Infratest, the car is a must-have for 70 percent of 18 to 34 year olds. Only 21 percent of 18 to 29 year olds state that they can do without their own car. Irrespective of this, a new attitude to mobility has developed among this age group. Since the year 2000, their level of motorization has declined. The reason is that – in contrast to the same age cohort in earlier decades – they tend to postpone purchasing their own car to a later stage in life on grounds of cost. Only once they have established themselves in a career, formed their own household and started a family do they buy a car. However, since 2013 it has been apparent that the decline in their degree of motorization has come to a halt.

The coach market is growing apace

The further development will also take place because the road as a means of transport will remain as important as it is today for many years to come, driven also by the growth of scheduled coach traffic. Thanks to the high capacity utilization of coaches, the coach scores points in long-distance transport as the most environmentally friendly and cost-effective means of transport, and since deregulation of the market on January 1, 2013, it has enjoyed increasing popularity. The Federal German Ministry of Transport estimates in its most recent forecast that the number of coaches will increase by more than six times between 2010 and 2030.

Trucks shoulder the majority of the load in goods transport

In 2014, road goods transport in Germany grew by 2.7 percent to 465.7 billion tonne kilometers. This means the truck currently shoulders 73 percent of the load in goods transport. This corresponds to about the European average. The Federal Ministry of Transport assumes in its most recent forecast that road goods transport will increase by about 30 percent to 607.4 billion tonne kilometers by 2030. It will retain its current market share. This also indicates the need for adequate expansion of infrastructure.

The truck can drive up to every house and every loading ramp. This is only rarely the case with railways and internal waterways, if both the sender and the recipient of the goods have their own railway spur or are located on a riverside. If that is not the case, the truck will be required in any event for carrying the goods to the railway depot and/or collecting them from it. Due to the resulting detours and transshipment operations, combined road/rail transport as opposed to purely road transport is only generally cost effective beyond a certain distance because of economic and ecological reasons. Consequently, the 78 percent of goods that are transported by road over distances of less than 150 kilometers are not a candidate for involvement by the railway. Even over longer distances, it depends on the specific circumstances. This is because efficient road/rail transport requires large volumes to be transported. The truck, on the other hand, can transport even small amounts economically.

Consequently, trucks and trains are not in competition with one another. Instead, these means of transport serve different markets, or even cooperate directly with one another. In combined transport, trucks are used for delivery and collection for other means of transport, accounting for goods totaling more than 250 million tonnes annually. The market segments and market shares of the different means of transport consequently arise from their particular performance profiles, and cannot be defined as part of a “centrally planned” approach. Attempts to shift transport onto another carrier would merely increase the costs and the environmental pollution generated by transport.

Dr. Michael Niedenthal
Dr. Michael Niedenthal Head of Department Transport policy

Tel: +49 30 897842-360 Fax: +49 30 897842-600
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