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In brief


The transport sector plays a central role in a modern economy. Mobility of goods (raw materials, semi-manufactured and finished products) and people (e.g. apprentices, employees, travellers, consumers) is required in the first place for the division of labour to function and for value added to be created in all economic sectors. Statistical information on transport provides an important basis for entrepreneurial decisions and transport policies.

Official transport statistics are rather strictly geared to the “transport” activity (functional delimitation of respondents to be covered) and the conditions directly required for it. The surveys cover all important items of information, in particular, on transport performance (people and goods carried), on carriers, stocks of means of transport, transport infrastructure and traffic accidents. As a consequence, official transport statistics cover all enterprises that exercise some kind of transport activity, irrespective of whether the transport activity is an enterprise’s main, secondary or ancillary activity (e.g. transport on own account of enterprises of distributive trade).

Goods transport

The statistics of transport services are one of the focal areas of official transport statistics. They record the quantities of goods carried and the transport performance (expressed in tonne-kilometres) according to a breakdown by product and region. The goods carried are shown in terms of gross weight (including packaging). The figures on transport performance additionally take into account the distances over which the goods are moved.

Passenger transport

Passenger transport includes public passenger transport by bus/coach, rail and air as well as transport by private motor vehicles (private motorised transport), by bicycle or on foot. Official statistics mainly collect and present information on public passenger transport.

Traffic accidents

Among traffic accidents, a distinction is made between road, rail and air traffic accidents.
Traditionally, for the statistics of road traffic accidents, a distinction between four basic terms has been applied: accidents, persons involved, casualties and causes of accidents. In addition, the users of vehicles involved in accidents are counted.
Accidents are distinguished according to the severity of the consequences, e.g. accidents involving personal injury, serious accidents involving only material damage and other accidents involving material damage. Accidents involving personal injury are those where persons were injured or killed, irrespective of the level of material damage. Serious accidents involving only material damage are those where the cause of the accident was an administrative offence (administrative fine) or a criminal offence in the context of road traffic participation.

Enterprises, infrastructure, vehicle stock

Enterprises engaged in transport activities on inland waterways, by air and rail as well as in commercial passenger transport and goods transport by road are required to provide information every year or at intervals of several years. They supply data in particular on the transport services performed, the employees involved in transport activities, on turnover or revenue from the relevant mode of transport (except for goods transport by road and rail and long-distance passenger transport by rail), on the stock of vehicles and on the infrastructure (railways). The survey units are the kind-of-activity units engaged in transport activities, irrespectively of what the enterprise's main activity is.

School children and traffic: boys more often harmed in accidents than girls

School has started again after the summer holidays in most German Länder. Therefore, car drivers ought to watch out especially for school children. In 2016, approximately 22,400 children aged 6 to 14 years were harmed in traffic accidents in Germany, 34 were killed. This means that, on average, every 24 minutes a child of that age group was harmed in road traffic.

6 to 14-year-old children rather often had accidents when on their bikes (39% of all accidents). Another 32% were harmed while in a passenger car, 24% while on foot. The risk of being involved in a accident was notably higher for boys than for girls. 67% of the children harmed while cycling were boys, as were 56% of the children who were walking. The reasons may be that boys are out on the roads more often and that they are more ready to take risks.

In 2016, many of the 6 to 14-year-olds on bikes or on foot were harmed at times when they would be on their way to school. In terms of the casualties of the entire day, 16% of these children were injured or killed in the morning between 7 and 8 o'clock.


Additional Information

Key figures

Road network (roads of other than local trans­port)2017229,270 km
Railway lines (Length of lines operated)201538,466 km
Length of waterways20177,675 km
Stock of passenger cars
New registrations of passenger cars20173,441,262


Piktogramm Presse

For current press releases on the theme of transport please go to our press pages.

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© Statistisches Bundesamt (Destatis), 2018

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