Clear air - good transport concepts help

Model towns and cities Clear air - good transport concepts help

Five model towns and cities aim to improve air quality swiftly and effectively by making local public transport more attractive. Federal Minister for the Environment Svenja Schulze and Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer announced the plans jointly with the model communities.

Baden-Württemberg, Reutlingen: A bus arrives at the bus station.

Local public transport in Reutlingen (Baden-Württemberg): genuine incentives to leave the car at home

Photo: picture alliance/Marijan Murat

The federal government is to invest around 130 million euros, which is equivalent to 95 per cent of the costs of the planned measures.

Bonn, Essen, Mannheim, Reutlingen and Herrenberg will be implementing projects to reduce the levels of nitrogen oxides in the air. These model towns and cities are to act as examples of how swift and effective measures can be taken to improve air quality.

For these model schemes alone, the Federal Transport Ministry will be providing over 125 million euros, announced Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer. Support will go to a wide spectrum of measures from the establishment of new bus lines and stops to the introduction of a one-euro-a-day ticket. "That will generate strong incentives to leave the car at home," said Andreas Scheuer. Only a well developed and attractively priced system of local public transport will offer a genuine alternative.

"It is my goal to see all towns and cities comply with the EU-wide nitrogen oxides limits," says the Federal Minister for the Environment. "We will only be able to avoid bans on certain vehicles if we can ensure clean air." Svenja Schulze stressed that with these new measures the state is making an important contribution to protecting the environment and consumers.

These funds are available in addition to the "Emergency Clean Air Programme". The model towns and cities were specifically named by the German government within the formal infringement proceedings launched by the European Commission.

Cheaper bus tickets and more regular services

Following a comprehensive study conducted by the German Environment Agency (UBA), the German government has now decided which projects it will be supporting. At the heart of most projects are efforts to encourage people to make greater use of bicycles and local public transport.

In Bonn and Reutlingen, for instance, a 365 euro ticket is to make local public transport more attractive as of 2019. For only one euro a day, residents can use the "climate ticket" to travel. Better connections and more regular services offered by a number of bus lines are to make public transport in towns and cities more attractive. Bonn is to receive around 40 million euros from the federal government to help it implement the measures, while Reutlingen will receive some 15 million euros. Mannheim is also opting to increase the frequency of services and extend bus lines, as well as introducing more attractive conditions for local public transport. It will receive almost 50 million euros in support.

Cycling safely on dedicated roads

Essen is to increase its Park and Ride services before the end of the year. The price reductions for local public transport here are termed "NOx bonus" – after all the primary goal is to reduce the concentrations of nitrogen oxides in the air. 50 more dedicated cycling roads are intended to make cycling more attractive. The federal government is contributing a total of some 20 million euros to support these measures.