More traffic: no climate protection with a 9 euro ticket?

Status: 08/08/2022 09:07

According to preliminary scientific assessments, a 9 euro ticket does not mean that many people leave their cars at home. A positive effect of climate protection is therefore unlikely.

Relief for consumers, contribution to traffic change, enhancing the image of buses and trains: expectations for a 9 euro ticket in local public transport are enormous. Just over two months after the introduction of the nationwide ticket, Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) is already evaluating the project as a success. The scientific evaluation is still ongoing. And preliminary findings indicate that the special ticket has an impact, but can hardly fulfill all hopes and goals.

Thin data

“You have to be careful with a lot of up-to-date data,” said Agora Verkehrswende’s public transport project manager, Philipp Kosok of the news agency dpa. The data situation is still very thin. “However, there is some very disturbing data available. They show that a 9-euro ticket generates more traffic and, above all, hardly moves it. ‘ The test therefore has no positive impact on climate protection, possibly even negative, said Kosok. “Indicates that we do not have a clear climatic advantage due to this action.”

Among other things, a study by the Association of German Transport Companies (VDV) and a study in the Munich area showed that only about 3% of respondents gave up their car for local public transport.

“Additional trips, not replacement”

“The ticket leads to a greater use of public transport, but above all selective use on some routes, even to the point where traffic collapses there,” says Christian Böttger, rail expert at the University of Applied Sciences Berlin (HTW). An assessment of mobile data by the Federal Statistical Office revealed in early July: “In June 2022, rail traffic across the country was on average 42%. higher than in June 2019 ”.

The problem: About a quarter of journeys on public transport would not have been made without a ticket, agreed the VDV. Therefore, these are additional journeys, and not substitute journeys that would otherwise be carried out by car. “From previous studies, there is only a slight shift from road traffic to public transport, at most two to three percent,” says researcher HTW Böttger.

“Certain damping effect”

This coincides with the first results of a study from the Munich agglomeration, which, among other things, evaluates the movement data of hundreds of participants. She concluded that 35% of the respondents traveled more often by bus and train, but only 3% less often used their own vehicle.

However, scientists discovered a certain damping effect on traffic in Munich. Instead of rising slightly in June – as usual – it fell by three percent. An assessment by the TomTom traffic data specialist for dpa showed a reduction in traffic congestion in large German cities in the first phase of the ticket for 9 euros.

A radical change in everyday behavior was not to be expected, Klaus Bogenberger of the Munich University of Technology, head of the Munich study, said in July. Draws a positive interim conclusion. “An important result is that many people have incorporated public transport into their daily lives.”

“System at the border”

On the other hand, researchers led by Jan Christian Schlueter of TU Dresden focused primarily on purchasing decisions and price sensitivity in the event of any further offers. The most important arguments for using the 9 euro ticket were the price and the simplicity of the offer. Many people would also indicate that they want to try public transport. Here it will be exciting to see if users buy a ticket a second time, he said.

Many people can also imagine higher prices for another offer, according to a study in Dresden. Most people exchanged values ​​between € 60 and € 90.

However, from the researchers’ point of view, the price of a public transport ticket does not determine the long-term success of a traffic change. “If we really care about the stable development of public transport, then first of all we need to increase the capacity accordingly,” says HTW expert Böttger. “We’ve noticed that the system is really at liberty.”

Böttger assumes that the investment backlog will amount to around 150 billion euros in new construction and expansion of rail transport itself – including the inflation of construction costs in recent years. “The government is a long way from securing these investments.”

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