In Western countries, mobility of both people and goods is dominated by cars (and trucks). In 2016, cars accounted for 81.3% of the modal split for passenger transport in the European Union (EU). Busses and coaches are used for 9.3% of the kilometres driven, railways for 7.6% and trams and metros for 1.8%. The distribution for freight transportation looks similar: Road transport covers 72.5% of total tonne-kilometres, railway amounts to 16.6%, inland waterways to 5.9% and pipelines to 4.6%.  
The explanation for this strong focus on roads lies in two phenomena that mutually influence each other. For one thing, roads have long been at the center of attention of European national governments as well as the EU as a whole. Although the benefits of other modes of transportation concerning environmental protection and traffic efficiency have long been known, motorized individual transport received a lot more public funding for decades.
Between 2007 and 2017, the German automotive industry received around €969 million from various federal ministries, while the German railway industry was only supported with €16.4 million in the same period. 
This has led to the street network becoming six times as dense as the railway network, including urban light rail. Between 2005 and 2019, the latter only grew by 1.5% while the number of passengers using urban light rail only increased by 8% between 2010 and 2019 
For another, private cars are the most convenient mode of transportation for those who can afford them. First and last mile issues are unknown to owners of private cars as they can simply drive wherever they need to go without worrying about changeovers and connections. This partly explains why the density of private cars in German cities has increased by 12% in the past ten years. 
In eleven major cities in Germany, the number of newly registered private cars has even outgrown the number of new citizens. 
Since the market push and demand pull still strongly go into the same direction, the strong position of roads and cars in the mobility matrix is yet to be contested.
However, consumers are starting to change their minds for various reasons.
Due to the high occupancy for both private and commercial reasons, people spend a lot of time in traffic. The 2021 Urban Mobility Report published by The Texas A&M Transportation Institute states that in the United States alone, people waste seven billion hours per year in traffic which amounts to $160 billion in lost productivity as this time cannot be used for work. 
Not to mention the mental stress caused by this. And motorized road vehicles take a considerable toll on our environment, as well: cars account for roughly 72% of all greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector in the EU and for around one fifth of the total carbon emissions in the United States.  
Furthermore, the majority of employed persons commute to their workplace every day because almost half of the jobs subject to social security contributions are situated in larger cities with more than 100,000 citizens. 
In Germany, this share is at 68% and it has been increasing continuously in the recent past. Out of these 68%, more than two thirds take their private car while only 14% rely on public transport.   
Most commuters (approximately 72%) have a one way trip of approximately 30 minutes but one in five is en route for one hour before they reach their office in the morning and commuting distances and times have shown an upward trend in the past 20 years (between 2000 and 2019).  
The fact that private cars are a burden on our environment as well as on our mental and physical well-being has settled into many consumers’ minds hence today, we experience an ever-growing demand for more environmentally friendly solutions to problems of our everyday lives.
Public transportation, especially on rails, can support this transition to a greener mobility. Compared to a car ride, public transportation saves 95 grams of greenhouse gases and 19 grams of nitrogen oxides. Furthermore, an increased usage of public transportation, can help disburden the streets and decrease the risk of congestion: If all public transport passengers used a private car as well, an additional 86.5 billion car kilometers would arise on German streets only as busses and trains replace as much as 20 million car rides in Germany each day. 
Furthermore, today’s urbanization makes cars obsolete for many people who consequently opt for public transport instead. Plus, public transportation is indispensable for children, the elderly and some people with disabilities. An appropriate offer of public transit defines how well these groups can participate in a social and healthy life and must therefore be improved and adapted to their needs. Statistics already show signs of an increased usage of public transit with ever increasing passenger numbers on trains and buses.  
This indicates that people are willing to adapt their mobility behavior which should be responded to by governments and institutions. Municipalities currently face the challenge to serve outlying areas with a lower density in an economic way. The lower the density of a region, the further individuals live away from transit stops which renders public transportation inconvenient. Transportation authorities can however not offer a sustainable and economic service in said places as there are too few people using the services for them to be profitable. This so-called "first and last mile problem" pushes people away from public transit and reduces resource efficiencies which turns it into one of the key issues regarding the mobility transformation towards a more environmentally friendly system. 
International goods transportation shows similar patterns: More and more trucks have flooded German streets in the past years while the transportation via ships and trains has decreased even though the German government had decided to lay the focus on the latter in 2003. Most of the ambitious targets that were set back then were missed. 
With the rise of online shopping which experienced a significant boost during the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for cargo transportation keeps increasing and the requirements for logistics service providers change simultaneously. Nowadays, deliveries are more fragmented as they are placed by many individuals who expect the products to be delivered to their doorstep in no time. 
This has not only led to the development of new business models such as deliveries of food, groceries and medication. Logistics and trade companies are also facing the challenge to adapt their processes to this shift in customer requirements.
In an international context, users and providers of the transportation sector are confronted with a significant fragmentation due to diverging national priorities. This limits the quality of transit services and leaves growth potentials untapped.
The railway sector is particularly struggling to achieve its potential despite clear comparative advantages in environmental friendliness, speed, comfort, and economies of scale due to the varying national railway systems.
Airlines are also confronted with high operating costs caused by a highly fragmented airspace which inhibits the optimisation of flight paths. This situation is complicated further by the fact that many member countries of the European Union are opposed to the idea of creating a Single European Sky (SES).
Maritime transportation is defined by a lack of high-quality infrastructure and low-performing port services which leads to significant extra costs for shippers, operators, and consumers and decreases its compatibility with the current requirements for international goods transportation.
The transportation sector is closely linked to and highly depends on appropriate infrastructure. However, investments in infrastructure dropped significantly during the global financial crisis in 2008 and have remained low ever since. 
The improvement and adaptation of infrastructure is therefore critical to the success of any mobility transformation projects and must not be looked at individually.
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