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 1976 and 2014. There have been two caesuras in methodology 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

  • Since 1976, the share of environmentally friendly passenger transport fell significantly from 24 % to 20 %.
  • However, over the past few years, it has hardly changed at all.
  • The Federal Government is now launching the National Cycling Plan 2020 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 2014 the IMT share was around 76 %. 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 ecomobility. 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 2014, passenger transport approximately doubled in Germany, to recently 1,200 billion passenger-kilometres. While in 1976, the share of environmentally friendly transport modes was around 24 %, it fell to 19.5 % by 2014. In passenger-kilometres, all transport modes increased their volume in 2013 compared to 1976, but car transport increased disproportionately.

By the same token, the share of public road and rail transport in particular decreased significantly. From 17.6 % in 1976, it fell to 13.8 %. The pedestrian mode share also declined. By contrast, the proportion of bicycle passenger-kilometres has increased.

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 (Federal Government 2010, in German only). This can only succeed if environmentally friendly passenger transport is further encouraged. The National Cycling Plan 2020 (BMVBS 2012) was developed in order to encourage utility cycling.



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’ (in German only) survey and the 2011 microcensus. A more detailed description of the method used can be found in the methodology report published by the DIW (Kuhfeld et al. 2014, in German only). The results are published annually in ‘Verkehr in Zahlen’ (BMVI 2016, in German only).

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