Indicator: Environmentally friendly passenger transport

A graph shows the share of pedestrian, utility cycling, railway and passenger transport services in the overall passenger transport volume. Shown here are the years between 2003 and 2019. There has been one change in method in this period.Click to enlarge
Share of pedestrian, utility cycling, railway and passenger transport services ...
Source: Federal Ministry for Transport and Digital Infrastructure Figure as PDF

Table of Contents


At a glance

  • The share of environmentally friendly passenger transport has remained more or less constant since 2003, only slightly increasing and reaching 20.6 % in 2019.
  • To keep the environmental impact of passenger transport low, the share of environmentally friendly transport in total passenger transport should be as high as possible.
  • The Federal Government’s National Cycling Plan is to support cycling as a means of transport; a federal strategy for pedestrian traffic is currently under development.

Environmental importance

Passenger transport has long been dominated by the car, what is known as individual motorised transport (IMT). In 2019 the IMT share was around 74 %, its transport performance increased significantly in the last years, then decreased since 2016. However, this is due to methodological reasons: as of 2017, a recalculation of the mileage and consumption calculation and the passenger transport model took place.

Car traffic is a heavy burden on the environment through greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution and noise. In addition, stationary as well as moving traffic takes up space. Overall, apart from aviation, public transport modes have a better environmental balance than cars with average occupancy. The use of bus, train, walking and cycling have been summed up under the term ‘Umweltverbund’ or eco-mobility. The indicator shows the share of eco-mobility in passenger kilometres travelled. This share should be increased as much as possible to keep the burden on the environment from passenger transport low.


Assessing the development

Our mobility is increasing. Between 1976 and 2019, passenger transport almost doubled in Germany, to recently around 1.246 billion passenger kilometres. While in 1976 the share of environmentally friendly transport modes was around 24 %, it has fallen to 20.6 % by 2019.

In the period since 2003, the trend remained more or less constant and then increased slightly in the last two years. Pedestrian traffic and public transport on the roads declined. By contrast, proportionately more passenger kilometres are being travelled by bicycle.

In its 2010 Energy Concept, the Federal Government set the target of reducing transport energy consumption by 10 % by 2020 and by 40 % by 2050 (BMWi, BMU 2010). This can only succeed if environmentally friendly passenger transport is further encouraged. Therefore, the National Cycling Plan (NRVP 2.0) was developed to promote cycling. The new NRVP 3.0 was published in 2021. The Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport is currently developing a strategy for the federal government, particularly for strengthening the safety and attractiveness of pedestrian traffic.



Official statistics by the Federal Statistical Office of Germany do not actually monitor motorised individual transport, walking or cycling. Instead, the figures are approximated by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) using a passenger transport model. This model is based on results of the ‘Mobilität in Deutschland’ (BMVI 2018, in German only) survey and the 2011 microcensus. A more detailed description of the method can be found in the yearly published ‘Verkehr in Zahlen’ (BMDV 2021, in German only).

More detailed information: Fahrleistungen, Verkehrsleistung und 'Modal Split' (in German only).