Research projects on the nine euro ticket: crowded but still moving? – knowledge

Financial relief for citizens in times of sky-high energy prices and high inflation – this is how the federal government justifies the nine-euro ticket. But researchers and carriers expect more. The disruptive nature of markdown is a great opportunity to gain new data about navigation behavior – and potential changes.

The potential is huge, as the first responses to coordinated market research by the Confederation of German Carriers (VDV) and Deutsche Bahn on behalf of the federal and state governments show. According to a VDV spokesperson, 16 million tickets that are valid for domestic and regional transportation have already been sold. In Berlin alone, BVG sold 1.14 million cheap monthly tickets for June.

In the working days before and after Pentecost, Deutsche Bahn counted 10 per cent more passengers on regional transport than the usual national average: “This means that a ticket with a price of €9 has made a successful launch in the market compared to the government’s goals Federalism and financial relief for many passengers.” But what do the success numbers say about potential changes in navigation behaviour?

Traffic experts actually agree: In order to bring about a shift in traffic towards a significant increase in public transportation use, price cuts are not enough, and certainly not for a limited time. “We need more flights, better timing, more stops and shorter access roads,” Christian Winkler of the German Aerospace Institute (DLR) told Tagesspiegel Verkehr & Smart Mobility at the start of the nationwide cuts campaign.

No lasting effects? This is what to explore

The sustainable effects cannot be expected from the €9 national use ticket for local public transport. A thesis that has been heard a lot in conversations with transportation scientists in recent weeks and now awaits verification. Researchers and companies have set up a series of projects to evaluate the use of the nine-euro ticket.

“A real giant experiment is taking place here and we want to scientifically evaluate it,” says Klaus Bugenberger, a professor at the Technical University of Munich. “Our goal is to use the data to record changes in commuting behavior and draw conclusions for the traffic of tomorrow.

Does the nine euro ticket work and does it make people switch from cars to buses and trains? “In addition to a limited regional survey, the traffic behavior of 1,000 local transport users in Munich will be recorded via an app.

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The German Carriers’ Association (VDV) is planning what may be the largest quantitative study. A survey will be conducted via the online access panel throughout the entire campaign period. The sample should be large enough to represent both Germany and the federal states, explains Till Ackermann, VDV’s market research coordinator.

“Of course we want to monitor success, especially in terms of customer satisfaction and the number and motivation of new customers.” Detailed sales statistics are also prepared.

The first results are now available: According to the VDV, the survey showed that citizens’ intent to buy remained high for the month of July. The numbers will also show that the ticket is well known among the general population: 99 percent of those surveyed said they knew the ticket.

Park & ​​Ride notice at the main train station in Potsdam.  Photo: Jens Kalaene / dpa

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One of the key questions for transportation researchers is: Will it be possible to lure motorists to the rails — and in the long run?
© Jens Kalaene / dpa

Neither the Chancellor nor ICE can do that. A significant number from the first few weeks: More than half of those surveyed cited not driving as the main reason for buying a ticket. For at least twelve percent, the reason for buying is “just to try public transportation.”

[Lesen Sie auch unsere Tipps für eine angenehme Bahnfahrt trotz des Runs auf Regionalbahnen: Neun-Euro-Ticket ohne überfüllte Züge]

Reducing vehicular traffic by improving public transportation services is also one of the stated goals of the Traffic Light Coalition. “If more than 50 per cent of those surveyed state that their main motive for buying the €9 ticket is not driving, then this is an opportunity for us as an industry that some of those passengers will continue to use their services even after the end of the ticket holders still stand for us,” says VDV President Ingo Wortmann. “.

In other projects, researchers tackle the problem with surveys in several waves – before, during and three months after the nine-euro ticket. Expectations, use, as well as long-term effects on behavior should be recorded.

A team from TU Braunschweig led by Mark Vollrath, professor of engineering and traffic psychology, has carried out the first round in the past few weeks. More than 3,000 people were interviewed. The main concern here is also the ability to understand transfers from the car to public transportation.

“Political Madness”: On summer vacation and at a tank discount

Unfortunately, incentives will be somewhat blurred due to the simultaneous tank discount and summer holidays, Vollrath says. Difficulties arise, particularly with regard to passengers and commuting. “This is kind of political insanity.” After all, fuel is still expensive even with a discount. So Vollrath expects high demand on some routes.

“The fear, of course, is overcrowding or chaotic conditions. The basic problems of public transportation have not gone away with the drop in prices.” Ask specifically what was happening from the customer’s point of view should change.

VDV also wants to finally publish its data sets, and the first numbers should be available in the coming days. Your survey can also be coordinated with other projects. A survey conducted by the DLR Institute of Transportation Research would be ideal for this. The sixth round of the representative survey “Mobility in times of crisis”, which was already scheduled for the end of April and so far has dealt with the effects of the epidemic on the behavior of commuting, has been postponed to the end of June due to the nine-euro ticket. The survey will be modified accordingly.

Warnemunde beach.  Photo: Jens Büttner / dpa

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The €9 ticket also allows very low-income people who do not already live by the sea to swim in Warnemünde.
© Jens Buettner / dpa

“In previous surveys, we have seen that public transport has suffered from Corona,” explains DLR group leader Claudia Nobis. “What is interesting now is which customer groups are using the €9 ticket. Are these people who might come back again?”

Another online survey currently being conducted specifically targets cyclists, but multimedia use is also interesting in general, according to Nobis. “The combination of bicycle and public transport is currently a question mark in the debate over the €9 ticket.”

The Greens also want to check out the ticket’s effects (or check them out)

Although the focus of research and policy is on the shift from automated private transportation to public transportation, the effects on other important types of transportation must also be studied.
TU Hamburg Harburg decided to take a qualitative approach to interview assessment.

The focus is on low-income people, Carsten Gertz, Professor of Transportation Planning. “It is interesting what the €9 ticket means for participation opportunities for people who have to pay for their daily commute from the Hartz IV budget.”

For the research community, the timing and duration of the card trial remains the biggest obstacle to obtaining reliable data. In fact, a period of at least six months, preferably until the end of the year, will be necessary for a meaningful evaluation, according to experts. However, one can be curious about its results.

This may also apply to the Greens: at the weekend, party leader Ricarda Lange floated an offer to follow the ticket at €9 – after checking whether Germans were increasingly switching from cars to trains.

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