Für eine nachhaltigere Zukunft: Wie gelingt die Verkehrswende?

For a more sustainable future: How does the transport transition succeed?

What does transport transition mean?

The term “transport transition” describes the transition from a transport policy focused on individual transport to more sustainable, efficient and socially fair mobility. In particular, the transport transition aims to reduce private motorized transport with combustion engines and instead rely on alternative means of transport such as local public transport or bicycles and e-bikes. The aim is to reduce the negative impact of transport on the environment, air quality and climate change.

Why do we need a transport transition?

The transport transition helps to address numerous complex challenges and problems of our time in order to create a more livable environment for future generations. Including:

  • Climate change: The transport transition massively reduces CO₂ emissions in the transport sector.

  • Air pollution: Reducing internal combustion engines increases air quality in cities.

  • Noise pollution: By focusing on expanding local public transport and promoting bicycle and pedestrian traffic, street noise will be reduced.

  • Land use: A transport transition that relies on sustainable means of transport can reduce the need for road infrastructure and create more space for green spaces or living space.

  • Social justice: A transport transition improves access to mobility for all population groups, regardless of income or place of residence.

What is the initial situation in Germany?

Although there are already some positive developments in Germany regarding the transport transition, implementation is still lacking in many places. At least the importance of a sustainable mobility transition is recognized by many political actors, companies and civil society. Nevertheless, private transport is still dominant and the proportion of alternative means of transport is still too low. Especially in rural areas, there is often a lack of infrastructure to offer people an alternative to cars. There is a fundamental need for financial incentives and support programs to make switching to environmentally friendly means of transport more attractive.

What measures are needed to advance the transport transition?

The transport transition requires a variety of measures at a political, economic and social level in order to be successfully implemented. The following key aspects are central to ushering in the transport transition:
  • Promoting public transport: Investments in the expansion and modernization of public transport are important in order to create an attractive alternative to individual car transport.
  • Expansion of bicycle infrastructure: Promoting bicycle traffic is an important part of the transport transition. This includes expanding cycle paths and bicycle parking spaces, creating safe cycle paths and providing rental bike and rental e-bike systems.
  • Promoting electromobility: E-cars play an important role in reducing emissions in the transport sector. Measures such as the expansion of charging stations, financial incentives for the purchase of electric vehicles and the promotion of research and development in battery technology can accelerate the transition to e-mobility.
  • Strengthening car sharing and ride-sharing: The sharing of vehicles through car-sharing models and ride-sharing reduces the number of vehicles on the roads and optimizes the utilization of existing resources.
  • Promoting sustainable transport alternatives: The development and support of sustainable transport alternatives such as low-emission buses, trams, train connections and alternative drives (e.g. hydrogen) is important in order to reduce dependence on individual transport.

What is the federal government doing for the transport transition?

The federal government is responsible for the development and implementation of political measures and framework conditions that are intended to support and advance the transport transition. These include, for example, financial incentives such as the purchase bonus for electric vehicles, the expansion of the charging infrastructure and the promotion of public transport. For this purpose, various objectives were formulated in order to achieve sustainable and climate-friendly mobility. Here are some of the key goals:

  • Climate neutrality in the transport sector: A central goal is to make the transport sector climate-neutral by 2050. This means that greenhouse gas emissions caused by transport should be drastically reduced or completely offset.
  • Increasing the share of electromobility: The federal government has the goal of having seven to ten million electric vehicles on German roads by 2030. This involves expanding the charging infrastructure to enable convenient and widespread charging of electric vehicles.
  • End of internal combustion engines: From 2035 onwards, new cars that run on petrol or diesel will no longer be allowed to be sold across the EU. An exception only applies to cars that can be fueled with e-fuels, i.e. synthetic fuels produced with renewable energy.

What can individuals do for the transport transition?

Every single person can make their contribution to the transport transition by making conscious decisions. Specifically, these include:

  • Switching to environmentally friendly means of transport: Short journeys by car should be completely replaced with bicycles, e-bikes or on foot. For longer journeys, you can choose the train instead of the plane, as rail travel causes significantly fewer climate-damaging emissions.
  • Use car sharing: Instead of owning your own car, you can use various car sharing offers, especially in cities.
  • Inform and create awareness: By sharing information about the transport transition and the advantages of sustainable mobility, you can increase awareness in your own area and encourage other people to also take action and contribute to climate protection.

It is important to note, however, that individual action alone is not enough to fully achieve the transport transition. This requires major structural changes, political measures and investments. Nevertheless, individual decisions and behavioral changes can have a positive signaling effect on your own environment!

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