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 2017. 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, reaching 20 % in 2017.
  • 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 2020 is to support cycling as a means of transport.

Environmental importance

Passenger transport has long been dominated by the car, what is known as individual motorised transport (IMT). In 2017 the IMT share was around 75 %. Car traffic, however, is a heavy burden on the environment. 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 ecomobility in overall passenger transport. 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 has been increasing. Between 1976 and 2017, passenger transport approximately doubled in Germany, to recently around 1.300 billion passenger-kilometres. While in 1976, the share of environmentally friendly transport modes was around 24 %, it fell to 20 % by 2017.

In the period since 2003 the development has stagnated. Pedestrian traffic and public transport decreased slightly. In contrast, the proportion of passenger kilometres travelled by bicycle has increased proportionally.

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. The National Cycling Plan 2020 was developed in order to encourage utility cycling (BMVBS 2012).



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 in ‘Verkehr in Zahlen’ (BMVI 2019, in German only).

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