Who really needs their own car? Berlin proves itself to be a testing ground for new forms of mobility: versatile, flexible and smart. The German capital is on the move. Statistically every Berlin resident travels three routes a day, spending a total of around 70 minutes in transit. Car ownership is losing its status. Per capita, there are fewer cars on the roads in Berlin than in any other major German city. Car sharing is booming, especially in the downtown areas. This trend of not owning a car may be due to a lot of factors: the hassle of finding a parking spot, traffic jams, cost, and emissions. Those willing to do without are taking to the streets on bicycles, in addition to using public transport. The good old two-wheeler is making a comeback as a fashion accessory. Here too increasing numbers of people using rental bikes are swelling the ranks of bike owners. The tiny computers in our pockets are revolutionizing mobility as well. One smart phone app helps users locate one of the many Call-a-Bike stations spread across Berlin while another app, Moovel, compares departure and arrival times, prices and availability for all modes of transport – car, bicycle, and local public transport.
193 million passengers on average are transported annually on Berlin’s 22 tram lines. Tramways have been used in the German capital since 1865. Berlin’s tram network is the third largest in the world.
Bombardier Transportation moved its headquarter to Berlin in 2002. This was done to better support the important German and European markets.
No longer simply a question of Either/Or
An invention like Moovel is becoming a symbol of cultural evolution. The number of ways to get from A to B in Berlin is increasing. Today, individuality is no longer about sitting in your own car, it is the ability to choose from a variety of transport options and cleverly combine them to suit any given situation. The city is a testing ground for trends where new forms of community, communication and, of course, mobility can be observed as they arise. Yet, not every project is realised. The idea of closing off a neighbourhood in Prenzlauer Berg to cars with conventional motors for a month, replacing them with electric cars, never took off because push back from politicians and residents was too great. In contrast, other concepts have been far better received than elsewhere in Germany.
Not just for today, for tomorrow too
What about public mass transit? It is also adjusting to the new state of things, continuing to advance, and more necessary than ever before. Today, Berlin is home to around 3.5 million people and if the current rate of influx continues, the city will have to cope with an additional 300,000 to 600,000 newcomers by 2030 – the equivalent of the population of Stuttgart.
Every one of these people want a place to live, a job and mobility. Although war, the city’s division and urban restructuring left a lot of building areas in the city. Spaces are increasingly scarce and rents are rising fast. So most, and the largest, residential projects are taking place at the edges of the city, where residents depend primarily on light rail and it’s clear that the number of passengers from these areas will continue to climb.
372 Bombardier metro cars are in use in Berlin; of which the large-profile cars are the first in the city with open walkthrough gangways from end-to-end.
Berlin’s “rapid transit trains” have access to a unique, dense and systematic network based on a foundation created 140 years ago. Since the Wilhelminian Era, Berlin’s population has exploded, even passing the five million mark in the 1940s and the light rail and metro networks have grown right along with it. Back in the 19th century, the terminal stations were permanently linked to the circle line and the city railway. This marked the birth of the S-Bahn “crosshairs” network, which was completed in the 1930s with a north-south tunnel. In 2006, Berlin received its first real main station – right in the city’s center. Main line and regional trains, light rail and metro trains, buses, and soon trams as well all operate on different levels there. The foresight that traffic control planners showed in the design of public mass transport is still paying dividends today: short distances, few transfers and frequent trains. 1.4 billion passengers travel by public transit in the German capital every year and their ranks are on the rise.
1,000 S-Bahn commuter cars were built by Bombardier after the fall of the Berlin Wall for the reunited and gradually modernized S-Bahn network.
Not just different, but smarter
A city is only as modern as the range of transport options it offers. Public transport is facing game-changing challenges: the number of passengers and older clients is on the rise due to demographic change. Many of them will depend on barrier-free access to stations, stops and vehicles, but Berlin’s budget deficit leaves very limited margins for investment and increased service. Berlin’s ambition to become a climate-neutral capital city with higher quality of life calls for more energy efficiency and quieter drive systems. Automatisation, digitisation and networking are opening up unimagined technical possibilities and Berlin plans to promote and intelligently link smart city technologies in transport, information, communication, energy, and the environment.
- Bombardier Transportation is headquartered in Berlin and has seven factories and numerous service centers in Germany. In addition to the site in Hennigsdorf, there are further locations in Bautzen, Braunschweig, Görlitz, Kassel, Mannheim and Siegen.
- In Germany, Bombardier develops and manufactures trams, metros, regional and long-distance trains, locomotives, bogies as well as signalling and propulsion technology for trains and electric busses.
- Since 2001, Bombardier has supplied more than 6,500 vehicles to Germany. The company also handles the maintenance and servicing of customer fleets over their entire service life.