Munich’s transport system: infrastructure development, multimodality and tariff reform

25 February 2016  •  Author(s): Alexander Freitag, Managing Director, and Markus Haller, Head of Conceptual Design at The Munich Transport and Tariff Association (MVV)

The Munich Transport and Tariff Association (MVV) is one of the most successful transport associations in Europe. The continually growing passenger numbers – in 2015 they reached for the first time an estimated 700 million1 – have clearly confirmed this. Yet, there is no time to sit back. To further build on the success of the second oldest German transport association, Alexander Freitag, Managing Director, and Markus Haller, Head of Conceptual Design, explain that intensive work is urgently needed on several fronts, with particular focus on three topics: infrastructure development, multimodality and tariff reformation.

Munich: infrastructure development, multimodality and tariff reform

In 2016, the MVV entered its 45th year of existence. Since its initial 360 million annual passenger numbers in 1973, a steady increase has been seen to now approximately 700 million per year. This success is rooted in the single MVV tariff, and in the comprehensive suburban rail network (S-Bahn) with 12 branches and 150 stations, which has an outreach of up to 45km in the region and provides direct connection to Munich city centre every 20 minutes. Another factor of success is the modern U-Bahn underground transport system which began in 1972 with three underground lines serving a route network of 13.5km and has now developed into a complex system with eight lines, nearly 100km of tracks and 100 stations, with 390 million customers2 served in 2014. Last but not least, the continuous increase in resident population and jobs in the Munich region, which now has almost 2.9 million inhabitants, has also led to the record number of public transport passengers. According to the latest forecasts, the population is expected to increase by more than 300,000 inhabitants by 20343.

Urgently needed infrastructure development

Yet, precisely these growth rates in the boom region of Munich pose major challenges for the entire public transport network. The primary focus lies in developing the rail infrastructure; especially the S-Bahn system which is known as the engine of growth in the MVV area, and has now reached its capacity limit. The S-Bahn major trunk route serves all S-Bahn lines running to the heart of the Bavarian metropolis, and with up to 30 journeys per hour and direction, it is one of the most frequently travelled railway routes in Europe. Even minor disruptions have highly detrimental effects on the operational stability and punctuality. Approximately 800,000 S-Bahn passengers are affected almost every day.

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