Buses and trains will play a major role in the upcoming mobility shift in Germany.
Public transportation is a key factor in the German mobility sector. Of the 39 million households in Germany almost a quarter does not own a car. Which means that all of them must rely on public transportation. No wonder why there were over 11.6 billion rides conducted by the public transportation in 2019 alone. However, the corona pandemic had a strong negative influence on this sector.
Nevertheless, the German government is certain that public transportation will play an important role in becoming more sustainable and eco-friendlier. That is why the federal Government increased state support spending to one billion euro in 2021 and will raise spending to two billion euro in 2025. With this extra money the public transport system should be further developed. Another goal that Germany set itself is to have 50 percent pure electric buses by the year 2030.
A major problem with public transportation is that it is not profitable. The cost-covering is on average at only 76 percent. To tackle this inefficacy the consulting firm Roland Berger analyzed 7 cost-saving levers.
1. Real-time data
- Vehicles transmit data in real time which can be separated in to two categories. For one there is technical data that can be used to predictive maintenance to help avoid repairs and optimize the planning of maintenance intervals and new vehicle purchases. Secondary there is journey-related data which help transit companies to match timetables more closely.
- Public transport companies could introduce self-driving taxi vans which allow ride-pooling. These robo-Shuttles could replace the not profitable bus routes.
3. Fleet automation
- Self-driving vehicles can save a lot of money by reducing labor and maintenance cost.
4. Electric buses
- At first this might seem like a big investment but over time electric vehicles will most certainly be more cost efficient.
- Private and public transit companies operate via a single platform. This allows customers to choose the combination of modes of transportation which suits them best.
6. Ride-pooling with non-autonomous vehicles
- Public transit companies can serve areas which were not lucrative before because they use an on demand only service.
7. Capacity management
- Managing demand enables public transit companies to use their fleets better and meet additional demand.
Impact of strategies on cost recovery ratios by type of city
Public transportation must change in drastic way to keep up with new forms of mobility. It can only survive with the right change management, otherwise there will be a challenging future ahead for this mobility sector.
Written by: Antonius Eich
Sources: https://www.rolandberger.com/publications/publication_pdf/roland_berger_oeffentliche_verkehrsbetriebe_der_zukunft.pdf; https://www.tatsachen-ueber-deutschland.de/de/nachhaltigkeit-und-umwelt/den-oeffentlichen-nahverkehr-attraktiver-machen;https://www.springerprofessional.de/mobilitaetskonzepte/unternehmen---institutionen/wie-der-oepnv-attraktiver-und-rentabler-wird/16708264