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The Regional and Urban Design Committee (RUDC) aims to improve the quality of the regional and urban environment by promoting excellence in design, planning, and public policy in the built environment. This will be achieved through its member and public education, in concert with allied community and professional groups. Join us!

How does public transportation in Germany compare to the US?

  • 1.  How does public transportation in Germany compare to the US?

    Posted 12-03-2018 20:11

     

    On the ground observations about trains, buses and electric scooters

    High speed rail


    German ICE train and French TGV 
    Frankfurt's airport has a direct train connection to Frankfurt City, a condition one can find at many US airports such as Baltimore/Washington International, Newark and San Francisco as well. Just as at BWI, the airport train station in Frankfurt also offers long distance train service via the German ICE and Regio trains. The Intercity Express trains are similar to Amtrak's Azela trains but generally cheaper and connecting to a Europe-wide network with transfer trains usually within a few minutes directly on the other side of the platform. As soon as one train is late, the connectivity suffers obviously, even though the connecting trains usually wait for a few minutes. Bigger disturbances quickly ripple through the network. They are not as uncommon as the good reputation of the European high speed rail system would suggest. German Rail, theoretically a private company, is a brainchild of the German Government, just as Amtrak. Both depend heavily on federal money, and both are chronically underfunded, even though Deutsche Bahn (DB) is modern than Amtrak's premier service between New York and Washington dubbed Acela. Modern ICE trains regularly travel at speeds of 160 miles per hour or more, Amtrak can do maximally 150mph on only a few short stretches. The later generation ICE trains have no longer engines like the Azela train but are propelled by several sets of electric motors installed directly over the wheel trucks similar to light rail. (Read full article)
    German ICE train interior design
    This way they can go forward and backward the same way with the operator sitting in a control module at the end of the first or last passenger car. Tracks are in much better shape than in the US and riders can easily use their laptops at maximum speed, a challenge in an Amtrak train which jolts the passenger quite a bit at top speed. Like Amtrak, DB allows paperless electronic ticketing, has dynamic pricing (the same trip is much cheaper on a Saturday afternoon than on a Monday morning) but the DB coaches are better appointed (electronic displays show next stops, connections, actual arrival times and the current speed). The cafe cars offer more and better food choices and some trains have real restaur


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    [Klaus] Philipsen FAIA
    Archplan Inc. Philipsen Architects
    Baltimore MD
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