29 May 2024, 13:38
Benjamin Wehrmann

Share of bicycles as transport mode for short trips could triple to 45% in Germany – report

Clean Energy Wire

The share of cycling in short trips in Germany could triple by 2035, from 13 percent today to 45 percent, if consistent measures are taken to make cycling more attractive, a report by research institute Fraunhofer ISI commissioned by the German Cyclists’ Association (ADFC) found. Germany could become a leading cycling country, "where people gladly and safely make nearly half of their daily trips by bike,” ADFC head Frank Masurat said. Examples in Germany and abroad, including in cities like Münster or Amsterdam, showed that the share is realistic especially in cities, but it could also increase significantly in less densely populated areas, the ADFC said.

The report found that tripling the share of cycling in everyday trips of up to 30 kilometres could save nearly 20 million tonnes of CO2 emissions per year, equal to about one third of current passenger transport emissions. To increase the share of people opting to travel by bike, the country needs more well-planned cycling lanes, functioning intermodal shift procedures for cyclists to switch to public transport, and urban planning that shortens distances between the most important daily destinations for citizens. “It’s been proven that the bicycle holds enormous potential for improving the climate balance,” Masurat said. “A requirement for this is that transport policy abandons the current 'carry on'-approach that lacks ambition,” he argued, adding that cycling should “become the new gold standard for everyday mobility.”

Fraunhofer ISI researcher Claus Doll added that forecasts for the share of cycling often underestimate the bike’s potential, “because they do not take into account the special requirements of this form of transportation.” These include the continuity and density of bike lanes, the sense of security when using them, interconnection with other modes of transport, and the distances between destinations. The analysis included these factors “and found much more accurate potentials,” which could be tapped into given the political will, Doll argued.

Transport NGOs and traffic researchers have repeatedly pointed out that transport policy in Germany continues to be overwhelmingly centred on passenger cars, while other forms of mobility, including public transport, bicycles or walking, receive much less funding and political support. Transport emissions in the country have not gone down noticeably since the 1990s, not least due to a sustained trend towards more and heavier passenger cars.

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