29 Mar 2021, 13:47
Charlotte Nijhuis

Germany needs federal mobility law to ensure sustainable transport – NGO

Clean Energy Wire

The future German government needs to implement a federal mobility law to ensure the transition to a climate-friendly transport sector, says transport and environmental association Verkehrsclub Deutschland (VCD) in a press release. VCD calls for ten measures to be implemented in the mobility sector to make walking, cycling, rail and public transport more accessible and attractive, while reducing the use of private cars and airplanes. “We demand that the future federal government shows the courage to change course. The ideas and concepts for this have long been there,” said Kerstin Haarmann, chairwoman of the VCD. The association demands an extensive expansion of public transport, including more local connections and a connection guarantee for buses and trains. VCD also wants all plans for the expansion and new construction of highways to be reviewed, tax privileges for air transport abolished, and flights of less than 700km distance shifted to rail. A federal mobility law would ensure “that transport is planned, financed and organised in an integrated manner across all means of transport and government levels,” said VCD spokesperson Michael Müller-Görnert.

Greenhouse gas emissions from transport in Germany have remained stubbornly high for years, and the sector has often been called the “problem child” of the country’s energy transition. Meanwhile, the coronavirus pandemic has upended the transition to sustainable urban mobility around the world. While the fear of infection has put people off public transport and vehicle sharing schemes, it has boosted private cars, cycling and walking. Experts fear the crisis will continue to deter people from taking the metro, trams or buses, which they still consider the backbone of future transportation in our cities. But they see a silver lining for green urban mobility as the rise of the home office eases congestion and new bikes lanes pop up that could become permanent fixtures.  

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