Another one via The Atlantic Cities: “5 Reasons Germans Ride 5 Times More Mass Transit Than Americans”:
When it comes to car use, there are a number of similarities between Germany and the United States. Both have high levels of vehicle ownership and saw motorization increase during postwar suburbanization. Both have extensive highway networks (Eisenhower later credited Germany’s autobahn with his desire to create the Interstate Highway System). Both countries have recently recognized that young people seem to be driving much less than their parents.
When it comes to transit, however, the countries have gone in very different directions in the past fifty-some years. Today, transit use in the United States is much, much higher in cities than it is in rural areas. In Germany the disparity isn’t nearly as great. In small metro areas, Germans ride at 18 times the rate of Americans (a 7 percent share to .4 percent.) In major cities the difference remains high: transit use is nearly six times greater for Germans.
In a recent issue of the journal Transport Reviews, the (insanely prolific) research duo Ralph Buehler and John Pucher calculate that, all told, Germans are five times more likely than Americans to travel by mass transport [full PDF]. That’s after controlling for gender, age, employment, car ownership, population density, metro area size, and probably David Hasselhoff.
(1) more and better service,
(2) attractive fares and convenient ticketing,
(3) full multimodal and regional integration,
(4) high taxes and restrictions on car use, and
(5) land-use policies that promote compact, mixed-use developments
(The unfancy chart above gets the point across—the long terms trends in public transit use in Germany vs America. The data is millions of total public transport trips per year in each country (scale on left y-axis), and public transport trips per capita in each country (scale on right y-axis).
The jumps seen in the Germany data circa 1990-1991 must no doubt correspond to unification, when the data presumably started incorporating millions of former East Germans, and all of their public tranit trips. Unclear what the smaller set of jumps about 10 years corresponds to.)