Situated on the river Main, Frankfurt is the financial and transportation center of Germany and the largest financial center in continental Europe. It is seat of the European Central Bank, the German Federal Bank, the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and the Frankfurt Trade Fair, as well as several large commercial banks.
The modal split in Frankfurt (all ways, inhabitants) was 34 percent for cars, 23 percent for public transport, 30 percent for walking and 13 percent for cycling, according to data of SrV 2008 (Mobility in German Cities).
The city administration decided in 2005 to build up a traffic department to foster planning and work in the field of sustainable mobility. Called “traffiQ”, the Frankfurt Local Public Transport Authority (LPTA) deals with all aspects of mobility management (MM), including operating the mobility centre. The city is working on multiple sustainable transport initiatives to cope with increased demand for local and regional travel, and it has extensive, multi-modal options for sustainable urban transport. Public transport is a key consideration in the planning of all new property developments, both residential or commercial.
Frankfurt’s public transport system, including the underground (U-Bahn), trams, buses, as well as regional trains (S-Bahn), is accessible by a single, regional ticket thanks to an integrated tariff agreement overseen by the region’s tariff organization RMV. Frankfurt is a member of the RMV.
The S-Bahn, connecting the suburbs of the surrounding Rhein-Main Region to Frankfurt’s center, runs on electric power and travels at speeds up to 140 km/hr. Trains run at a frequency of every 15 to 30 minutes.
Frankfurt has prioritized the development of its tram network, based on the public’s preference of rail systems (undergrounds and streetcars) over buses. The city has eight tram lines, one of which was added in recent years. A new line is under construction and is expected to open in December 2011. With trams running as frequently as every 10 minutes, those sections served by two lines enjoy service every 5 minutes at rush hour.
The nine lines of the U-Bahn run underground in the city center but along separated lines at ground level in the suburbs. Service frequency is generally every 5-10 minutes can be every 2 minutes on main lines during rush hour. Two new lines were opened in December 2010.
Although most major routes are served by rail, buses also play an important role in Frankfurt, often as feeder routes to the rail-based services and to ensure service coverage throughout the city.
The city seeks to accommodate bicycle travel, with many streets in the center designated “bicycle streets,” where bikes have priority over motor vehicles. The city is developing the bike network by improving cycle lanes and creating new cycle routes. Frankfurt is partner in the “bike&business-Network”.
Frankfurt is served by the nationwide “Call-a-Bike” public bicycle system operated by Deutsche Bahn. These bikes can be found at rail stations and at major intersections, and their self-locking mechanism can be released remotely by placing a phone call to a central dispatching service. Many city departments and city-owned companies were provided in 2010 with e-bikes (pedelecs) for official use.
Key partnerships in the field of mobility include the Institute for Integrated Traffic and Transport Systems at Darmstadt University of Technology (ZIV) and the Integrated Traffic Management Company (ivm) of the Rhine-Main-Region. Both institutes involve all the Rhein-Main Region’s major transport authorities and operators plus additional industrial and educational partners. ZIV has undertaken scores of projects, all of which explore ways make more efficient use of existing transport infrastructure, particularly through the use of transport telematics (ITS). For its part, ivm recently prepared the mobility masterplan for the Rhine-Main-Region and works also in different on different MM initiatives, including as the regional partner of the German project “effizient mobil”. ZIV and ivm projects fall under the following sub-topics:
- transport infrastructure and traffic management (ZIV and ivm)
- traffic engineering and traffic control (ZIV)
- public transport planning (ZIV)
- organisational concepts for traffic management and mobility services (ZIV and ivm)
- railway systems and railway engineering (ZIV)
- navigation and positioning systems (ZIV)