Every five to ten years (so far in 1976, 1980, 1985, 1992 and 2003) a strategic investment plan for the federal transport infrastructure in Germany is implemented. This plan is a framework for the medium term (10-15 years) investment policy regarding federal highways, railways and waterways. Construction and maintenance of transport infrastructure is an indispensable prerequisite for positive economic and social development under consideration of environmental issues
Since the last plan for the federal transport infrastructure was announced in 2003, various changes in the external conditions have occurred:
- Demographic changes
- Social divide caused by differences in wealth
- Enhanced regulations regarding climate change, noise, pollutants and biodiversity
- Increased targets to save energy and increase efficiency in term of the “Energiewende” (energy transition)
- High level of public development
- Accelerated decay of transport infrastructure systems because of high age.
- Innovations in technology, for example alternative drives, extended mobility services or mobile communication.
In consideration of the above mentioned changes, it is the study’s objective to formulate basic concepts for a new plan for the federal transport infrastructure.
To develop a fundamental new structure for the planning process of the federal transport infrastructure, it is divided into 3 levels:
- (Political) strategy level
- Systems level
- Project level
At the strategy level, the framework, institutional influences and societal goals are defined.
At the systems level, strategies are explored and assessed: Do they fulfil the defined goals and expectations?
At the project level, concrete projects are developed, analysed and assessed.
The study figures out the following basic concepts and implications for a future plan for the federal transport infrastructure:
- Integration of the infrastructure planning process into an overall mobility and transport strategy, which meets the requirements of an environmental assessment.
- Focus on a core network and on priority corridors to achieve further integration into the European transport Network.
- Set priority for maintenance of existing infrastructure.
- Removing bottlenecks, to ensure quality standards and improve reliability of the infrastructure network.
- Efficient use of funds: Project realization because of economic advance, no political influences.
The overall aim of this concept is to change the current project-oriented approach into a system-oriented approach.
Transport investment planning in Germany so far has followed a "predict and provide" strategy. With reference to several good practices abroad, this study proposes a proactive approach to design the country's future, integrating all levels of policy and transport sectors.
The study proposes to define a clear set of strategy targets to focus environmental and social impact assessment. Insofar as it aims at aligning German investment planning more to the EC's approach of strategic road-mapping.