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Look to Germany for sustainable transport model

munich-s-bahnGermany can provide a useful example for other countries looking to create a more sustainable transport system, according to a new report from the Brookings Institution.

Even though car use has grown in both Germany and the US, the report finds that Germany has done a much better job of creating a balanced transport system. Much of that success can be attributed to public policies that have been in place now for many years.

In particular, the report says countries like the US should take the following five lessons from Germany to heart:

  • Create pricing schemes that promote less-polluting cars, non-peak travel and greater use of public transport;
  • Develop integrated systems that make it more viable, in the face of car-restrictive measures, to travel by transit, bicycle or foot;
  • Coordinate land use and transportation planning to discourage car-reliant sprawl and to encourage transit development;
  • Promote public education and provide information to convey the benefits of sustainable policies; and
  • Phase in policies over time to develop appropriate measures and garner the necessary public and political support.

The results, for Germany, have been significant and measurable:

“The per capita carbon footprint of passenger transportation in the United States is about three times larger than in Germany, the Brookings report states. “Although gas prices in the United States are half those in Germany, Americans spend five percent more of their budgets on transportation than Germans. In government outlays as well (federal, state and local), Germany spends less per capita on transportation than the United States.”

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