02. December 2014

“Transportation is not a natural phenomenon, it’s hard work”

Federal State Mobility Index: Berlin and Thuringia lead the ranking

Berlin, December 2, 2014. The German states of Berlin and Thuringia are top performers when it comes to sustainable mobility. That is the conclusion of an academically reviewed comparison of federal states that the German Pro-Rail Alliance presented on Tuesday in Berlin. The Federal State Mobility Index, which has now been published for the third year in a row, compares mobility by collecting existing statistical data and transport policies in all 16 states and then collates the information for direct comparison. The final result covers eight areas: employment in public transport, impact on land resources, climate protection, noise reduction, air quality, road safety, public transport safety and value creation. In 2014, the Berlin was ranked first in the comparison of federal states. Second placed was Thuringia, a state that covers a wide area, followed by Baden-Württemberg (3) and North Rhine-Westphalia (4). At the bottom of the sustainable mobility ranking were the states of Bavaria (15) and Hamburg (16).

During the presentation of the comparison of federal states, the managing director of the German Pro-Rail Alliance, Dirk Flege, praised the fact that ever more states want to make mobility more sustainable. “The index makes it clear that transportation is not a natural phenomenon but hard political work.” Flege singled out Berlin, a state that has defined its own transport targets and has been near the top of the ranking for the last three years. The state of Thuringia is a real rising star. “Since the first Federal State Mobility Index, Thuringia has developed concrete political targets for climate protection, air quality, and impact on land resources,” said Flege. He said that bottom ranked Hamburg “had some catching up to do”. “Although Hamburg does well in several areas relevant to mobility, the state’s senate has defined hardly any concrete quantitative policy targets.

Video statement by Michael Ziesak, national chairman of the green transport club VCD

With regards to transport safety and efforts by the states to reduce the number of fatalities and serious injuries in traffic accidents, there are highs and lows. “Berlin performs best on the number of deaths per million of population, but Hamburg top list on serious traffic injuries,” said Walter Eichendorf, president of the German Transport Safety Council DVR. However, the positive statistics in many states are no reason to celebrate. “The Index shows that work on transport safety must be intensified in the future so that progress does not come to a stand still. Several states are leading from the front and are setting ambitious targets.” Eichendorf called on the federal states to follow the safety strategy ‘Vision Zero’ and to redouble their efforts. “Brandenburg is the state with the worst index ranking on traffic fatalities and serious injuries, but in 2014 it introduced a new transport safety programme. That is a very important step,” said Eichendorf.

For the federal chairman of the ecologically oriented transport club VCD, Michael Ziesak, the ranking of federal states sheds light on the maze of ecological indicators. “In particular constructing on undeveloped land is an environmental issue that barely gets any attention,” said Ziesak. “Nevertheless, six federal states have set concrete targets to reduce impact on land resources. These are Berlin, Hesse, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Saxony and Thuringia.” He was less happy with climate protection. “The transport sector is a major worry with regards to climate but only four federal states have defined their own targets for transport,” said Ziesak. The situation in Lower Saxony is particularly annoying: “The state government is the only one that does not have a single target on climate protection,” he added. It is no surprise therefore that the high levels of CO2 emissions in Lower Saxony are similar to 2006.

Martin Burkert, member of the board of the EVG rail union, praised the fact that the Federal State Mobility Index also takes social indicators into account. “In contrast with ecological and economical factors, the debate on sustainability often neglects the social dimension. The current Federal State Index evaluates adherence to the agreed wage scales, passengers’ subjective feelings on safety, and looks at public transport jobs,” said Burkert. “Passenger surveys show that travellers feel safer when they can directly speak to a member of staff at stations or on trains, which means that these factors are interconnected,” added the EVG board member. “Adherence to agreed wage scales means that contracts are awarded to intelligent concepts and are not decided by a competition to cut wages.”

The Pro-Rail Alliance also made sure that its Federal State Mobility Index was given the appropriate academic oversight. Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Stölzle, who holds the chair for logistics management at the University of St Gallen, has overseen the project from the very beginning. “Because the Federal State Index equally examines the statistics and policy targets, we are measuring both the requirements and the actual reality,” said Stölzle. “The system is adaptive and again in 2014 we are looking not only at the status quo but also at development and progress. It enables us to see whether a state that previously performed well because of its ambitious targets is also making actual progress on the ground, and conversely whether a state that hardly sets any targets is also having to deal with a lot of everyday problems.”

Additional information (in German)