Germany launches integrated transport plan

Transport to be integrated with spatial planning, urban building; charges to control road freight increases

The German cabinet today endorsed a report taking stock of the nation's transport policy mid-way through the government's term of office and presenting an integrated transport policy. The report aims to solve current traffic problems and to ensure mobility through measures amounting to an integrated transport, spatial planning and urban building policy.

The amount of freight transported by rail should double, it says. Without intervention, road freight would instead increase its share from 64% to 70% and rail freight would drop from 20% to 16% by 2010. Car traffic is projected to grow by 20% by 2015 and freight transport by two thirds based on 1997 levels.

Also highlighted are the much heralded introduction in 2003 of distance and emissions-based tolls for heavy vehicles, which are intended to make Germany's waterways and rail network competitive for freight transport. Reversing a trend of falling investment, additional funding is earmarked for the railways, dependent on Deutsche Bahn increasing its efforts to rationalise the network. Transport minister Reinhard Klimmt said: "The best anti-traffic congestion programme is a railway which can absorb a high volume of freight traffic".

Environmental group Bund criticised the report, saying that its traffic growth projections called for a U-turn in transport policy. "Modern transport policy should be based on creativity and intelligence instead of asphalt and concrete," it said.

Follow Up:
German transport ministry, tel: +49 30 20080, transport report, press release; Bund, tel: +49 30 27 58 64, and press release.

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