Germany is a land of automobiles. However, the statistics also show that other means of transport are becoming increasingly important.
A mobililty market leader is now facing competition: although over 42 million cars are registered in Germany and Germans use their cars for the vast majority of their everyday journeys, a trend is now emerging towards a mobility mix in which both public transport and the bicycle are becoming increasingly important. Today 83% of all German households have at least one bicycle. In 1988 the total was just 70%, while in 1969 only half of all households (53%) had a bicycle.
The increasing importance of the alternatives to the automobile is also confirmed by a recent Federal Transport Ministry study on “Mobility in Germany”. In a comparison of the years 2002 and 2008 it ascertained an increase of four million journeys a day completed by bicycle. The number of trips completed on foot rose by five million, while public transport was used one million times more. Conversely, the number of journeys completed using motorized private transport – in other words, primarily cars – fell by two million.
Germany’s strong infrastructure supports flexible mobility. Bus and rail services profit from the dense network of over 230,000 kilometres of road and over 40,000 kilometres of track. Environmentally friendly public transport makes a particularly strong mark on cities: Timescout, a survey of youth trends conducted in six German cities in 2010, discovered that almost 80% of 20- to 29-year-olds said that a car was unnecessary in their city because of the well-developed public transport system.