Digitisation in the transport sector

Photo: Dr. Heike van Hoorn, Managing Director of the German Transport Forum (DVF)
Photo: Dr. Heike van Hoorn, Managing Director of the German Transport Forum (DVF)

According to the ‘Mobility in Germany 2017’ study undertaken by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMWI), vehicle traffic and the number of persons being transported are growing in metropolitan areas in particular, with cars continuing to account for the largest volume at 57 percent. However, local public transport and bicycles are experiencing stronger growth than other modes of transport. That is why local public transport and new mobility services need to join forces to help alleviate the problems posed by overburdened city centres and dissatisfied public transport customers in outlying areas.

This means not only continuing to invest in municipal public transport as the backbone of mobility, but also to significantly expand efforts to utilise the potential offered by digitisation in the transport sector. Payment systems for multimodal transport and parking forecasts, for instance, are still not widely used. Of equal importance is the promotion of alternative fuels and drive systems to reduce the burden on the environment. It is important to remain open to the possibilities offered by other drive technologies, because e-fuels, gas drives and hydrogen technology are all feasible alternatives. Furthermore, drive systems do not stand alone: the interplay between all components and systems needs to be optimised, with a faster and less bureaucratic expansion of the infrastructure for electricity, natural gas, hydrogen, digital networks, automated driving, new mobility services, optimised local public transport and rail networks. These measures must be accompanied by infrastructure expansion, accelerated planning and removal of the surcharge under the German Renewable Energy Sources Act (‘EEG apportionment’).


The tremendous importance of offering transport users digital assistance on their journeys was highlighted by an Infas survey commissioned by the German Transport Forum (DVF). Smartphones are solidifying their position as the key to future mobility, with the younger generation in particular using their phones to find out about routes, public transport timetables and traffic jams. And most users are satisfied with what individual services have to offer. This potential must be utilised even more fully in future.

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