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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