• Apr 6th 2006 at 6:58PM
  • 10
Dr. Bernd Pischetsrieder, Volkswagen’s Chairman of the Board, has gone on record criticizing the current state of German roads and is urging the country’s gov’t for swift action. According to a recent study, the country’s road conditions and lack of capacity are approaching a limit at which the economic prosperity of Germnay is at risk.

Pischetsrieder is particularly miffed at the fact Germany’s auto industry has invested billions in cutting fuel consumption, which has effectively been nullified by frequent stop-and-go traffic situations resulting from poor road work management.

Having been a resident of the state of Michigan for two years, I feel Dr. Pischetsrieder’s pain.

See VW’s full release on the doctor’s remarks after the jump.

[Source: Volkswagen]

Study highlights urgent need for action

WOLFSBURG / BERLIN, Germany - The Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG, Dr. Bernd Pischetsrieder, has criticized the state of German roads and called for swift action.

A study by one of the acatech technical-scientific working groups published Wednesday in Berlin highlights the urgent need for action. According to the study, mobility has almost reached its limit as a result of a lack of capacity and the condition of road surfaces. Pischetsrieder also called for a functioning roadwork management system. “Roadworks are traffic jams and a safety risk”, he said.

Speaking at a forum in Berlin, Pischetsrieder commented that the present condition of roads was unacceptable for a technology location such as Germany. “Mobility is the prerequisite for economic prosperity and a functioning modern economy.”

Pischtesrieder criticized the fact that the multi-billion euro efforts by the automobile industry to cut fuel consumption were in part being frustrated by frequent stop-and-go traffic situations as a result of inefficient roadwork management on main roads and highways. Furthermore, traffic jams generated extensive environmental pollution and increased the risk of accidents. “The automobile industry is reaching out, but we need a strong commitment by public authorities to invest in an efficient and intelligent infrastructure,” said Pischetsrieder. Experts estimate that the investment gap for major German highways alone is two to three billion euros a year. He cited road bridges as an example, as these could generate a major negative impact. The condition of 15 percent of the road bridges in Germany has already been classified as “critical” or “unsatisfactory”. Pischetsrieder warned: “The rate has risen by 24 percent within the space of a year.”

The acatech study published by Prof. Dr. Franz Pischinger also shows that automobility forms the backbone of the transport system. Passenger cars and trucks are the pillars of the German transport system, with passenger traffic accounting for a share of 80 percent and freight traffic for a share of 70 percent. The acatech experts agree there will be a 20 percent increase in passenger traffic and a 34 percent increase in freight traffic by the year 2020. In some cases, growth rates of several hundred percent are forecast for cross-border freight traffic.

The vision of “intelligent cars on intelligent roads” must not be allowed to remain a vision, said Pischetsrieder. “The interaction between intelligent roads, highly-developed vehicle technology and innovative traffic management is the key to greater efficiency in road traffic.”

Together with the acatech Mobility Working Group set up in 2003, Volkswagen AG is closely involved in analyzing road traffic trends in Germany. The study forecasts traffic developments in Germany until 2020 and simultaneously calls for approaches to solving core traffic problems. 

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 9 Years Ago
      Where do they put the chair rails?
      • 9 Years Ago
      This is actually an idea I've NEVER heard before. People spend so much time/money lobbying to give incentives for people to buy hybrids, which aren't cost-efficient. By which I mean you don't save enough in gas to make up for the additional cost of of the hybrid technology. Plus, it doesnt add any other utlity. Unless you live in a state where they allow solo hybriders into the carpool lane, you aren't getting anywhere faster.

      By comparison, I wonder how much gas savings relative to cost massive highway improvements near backed up urban areas would be? Plus people would get places faster, adding that utlity, and people would probably be willing to pay tolls to help finance the project.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Bullet Train or Grand Vitesse or ICE are 350 km/h (about 210 miles per hour) maximum speed and have other disadvantages compared to 500 km/h (330 miles per hour) Maglev trains. Maglev technology is more fuel efficient, has greater acceleration, manages climbs better etc.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Obviously they need car-pool lanes.
      • 9 Years Ago
      #5 - That is good news - thanks. I wasn't aware we'd made increased freight levels.

      Getting long haul trucks off the highway is a huge start for this country.
      • 9 Years Ago

      1. Ride a Bullet Train or Grand Vitesse from NY to LA.
      What stops this? Greedy oil men in power!

      2. Drive an E100/Electric Hybrid (S, M or L) vehicle.
      What stops this? Greedy oil men in power!

      3. Be 100% energy independent like, hum Brazil
      (they, beat us to it?).
      What stops this? Greedy oil men in power!

      4. Breath cleaner air and minimize global warming.
      What stops this? Oil men in power!

      5. Not have to worry that when I fill up my dollars
      dont end up in terrorists hands.
      What stops this? Greedy oil men in power!


      6. Drive one of those cool ball-baring
      (i.e. Mouse drive) cars like in iRobot.
      What stops this? Greedy oil men in power!

      7. Where is my flying car? They promised flying cars!
      What stops this? Greedy oil men in power!

      • 9 Years Ago
      bernie, you might want to pay attention to the North American rail industry, because North American railways handle more freight than they ever have.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Interesting. Time for another Autobahn.

      Just posted my Audi A3 review. Check it:


      • 9 Years Ago
      "Obviously they need car-pool lanes."

      That would make sense, if Germany had large urban areas, such as LA or NY. In fact, a lot of transportation in large German urban-areas is handled by public transportation, with parking lots at subway stations in suburbs, to allow people to get to the stations by car, leave it there, and use public transportation to get to work.

      A lot of traffic jams in Germany are inbetween the cities, as the country is a lot more densely populated than the US (at 90% of California's size, Germany has a population of 80 mio), carpool lanes would be as full as any other lane there, as most people don't drive alone anyway.
      • 9 Years Ago
      #6, were u being sarcastic?

      "1. Ride a Bullet Train or Grand Vitesse from NY to LA.
      What stops this? Greedy oil men in power!"

      There are a few things in between NY and LA. Namely a couple sets of mountains and a shitload of property that people already own. For maglev trains in america, the most serious consideration has been to a Las Vegas to Los Angeles route. In between is almost completely flat desert, much of it government owned. And it still is projected to cost over a billion dollars. I can only imagine that a transamerican maglev train route would cost multiple HUNDREDS of billions of dollars. By comparison, a 747 is what, $150M, and is much faster than any maglev train, is nonstop, etc. Obviously this has nothing to do with "oil men". It has to do with what makes sense.

      "2. Drive an E100/Electric Hybrid (S, M or L) vehicle.
      What stops this? Greedy oil men in power!"

      E100 probably will never happen just because its impossible to use when it gets too cold. Actually, E85 probably won't catch on as much as E70 because the former jells up too much to use during the winter in colder places. Nothing is really stopping this. You can probably already buy E85 hyrbid trucks from GM, and if high-ethanol fuel blends really catch on, you can assume that the likes of toyota and honda will start making their cars high-ethanol compatible. But the fact remains, that with the MASSIVE subsidization we give to american farmers, especially corn farmers coincidentally, ethanol still isn't as cost effective as other means of energy production. And then there's the whole question of whether or not more fossil fuel energy actually goes into growing and processing the corn into ethanol than we get in the form of ethanol.

      "3. Be 100% energy independent like, hum Brazil
      (they, beat us to it?).
      What stops this? Greedy oil men in power!"

      Yeah, if you want an economy like Brazil's, we could probably be energy independant. And you'd probably be living in a brightly colored wooden shack.
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