Transport research is high on the Government Agenda. The objectives of research policy are defined in the federal High-Tech Strategy 2020, which outlines national research and innovation policy. Transport research receives special support from the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development, which conducts departmental research dedicated to transport and mobility. The Ministry’s research programme comprises 14 individual programmes and seven larger innovative projects.
Transport research is guided by the national transport policy outline, which is set out in the following documents:
- Framework Investment Plan for the Federal Transport Infrastructure for 2011–2015
- Freight Transport and Logistics Action Plan
- Road Safety Programme 2011
- Bundesverkehrswegeplan 2015.
In addition, Energy and Climate Change Policy is an integral part of Federal Government policy. This policy is used and evaluated by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure to derive its own strategies.
The research landscape is complex, with responsibilities shared at federal level and the 16 German states (Länder). The Federal Ministry of Education and Research is responsible for research policy. The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy is responsible for innovation and technology policy, and some areas of R&D policy. The Joint Science Conference is the main body coordinating research policies of the federal government and state governments. In addition, the Council of Science and Humanities evaluates and advises on development of science, research and higher education.
The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure is responsible for developing and implementing national transport policy. The Ministry’s Research Department provides the scientific foundation for the work of the Ministry and coordinates its research programmes. This covers all aspects of mobility and transport, spatial and urban development, building and housing. To ensure a sustainable energy supply, the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure is also key player in the National Programme of Innovation for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology. The Ministry is supported by several executive agencies including Federal Motor Transport Authority, Federal Office for Goods Transport, Federal Railway Office, Federal Railway Property Agency, Federal Waterways and Shipping Administration.
Transport research is funded through dedicated programmes and through the general scheme for research funding.
The German Research Foundation plays a central role in the fundamental research in Germany. At federal level, research is mainly funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, which finances large research organisations jointly with the Länder governments.
Organisations responsible for institutional framework and funding are: