City traffic in Stuttgart (archive): Despite working from home, there are more cars on the road
Photo: Marijan Murat / picture alliance / dpa
Despite the efforts to make greater use of local public transport, the number and density of cars in many cities have continued to increase.
According to analyzes by the industry expert Ferdinand Dudenhöffer, the number of registered cars increased in 22 of the 25 large municipalities examined last year.
The evaluation is based on data from the Federal Motor Transport Authority and the Federal Statistical Office.
Accordingly, the plus in Berlin and Leipzig was 1.1 percent each, in Hanover 1.2 and in Dortmund and Freiburg 1.7 percent.
The increase was strongest in Bochum with 2.2 percent.
Overall, the urban car density per 1000 inhabitants in the cities examined increased slightly in the course of 2020 from 450 to 451. It was expected that during the corona crisis, many people would switch to their own car for fear of infection in buses and trains.
However, this was offset by estimates according to which individual mobility would decrease significantly overall.
Fewer company cars at the car manufacturers
"The trend that is often claimed to be› away from the car ‹cannot be recognized," Dudenhöffer interprets the results.
Car owners now appreciate the possibility of being able to use their own car flexibly - even though they drive shorter total distances each year.
In 2020, however, there were also three cities in which the number of cars fell: Wolfsburg (minus 1.7 percent), Ingolstadt (-3.4) and Munich (-1.1), where the headquarters of Volkswagen, Audi and BMW are located to sit.
The assumption for the opposite trend here: Numerous company cars were withdrawn from use at short notice because many senior executives of the car manufacturers were working from home.
"You can expect that the loss will be replaced again in the course of 2021," writes Dudenhöffer, head of the Center Automotive Research (CAR) in Duisburg.
"As well as" traffic policy
On a national average, the car density rose slightly to 580 cars per 1000 inhabitants by the turn of the year, according to CAR calculations.
At the beginning of 2020 the value was 575.
The number of cars registered in Germany rose to 48.2 million.
There were also continuous increases in previous years - with a parallel decrease in the total distance traveled per car owner.
Dudenhöffer deduces from this: "Having your own car on your doorstep seems unbeatable in big cities."
In the centers in particular, the burden of individual traffic and the delivery traffic fueled by online trading is increasing.
Environmentalists as well as some city and traffic planners are therefore calling for more space to be created for cyclists and pedestrians in addition to the expansion of local public transport - or at least more incentives for car sharing.
Dudenhöffer admits: “The bike has a special role to play.
(...) A policy against the car makes little sense.
But a pure auto policy doesn't work either. "It's about an" as well as ".
"The question that remains is how to reconcile both with the limited space available." Infrastructure areas should also be allowed to be enlarged in width, instead of just condensing residential areas vertically.
mak / dpa