Our strategy Strong Rail

Germany needs a strong rail system – that is our inner ambition, and that is what we, at Deutsche Bahn, stand for. Strong Rail helps our country to overcome existential challenges:

  • For the Climate. No other motorized transport today is as climate-friendly as rail. In addition, no means of transport is as electric as rail, which holds the largest market share of e-mobility in Germany. No other mass transport can achieve a 100% share of renewable energies as quickly. A strong rail system is therefore an essential prerequisite for fulfilling the Federal Government’s and the EU’s climate targets, because a reduction in emissions in the transport sector cannot be achieved without a massive shift of transport usage towards climate-friendly rail transport. In concrete terms, a strong rail system means a reduction of the CO₂ total emissions by up to 10.5 million tons per year, which is equivalent to the annual CO₂ footprint of one million people.
  • For People. More and more people are living in urban centers. By 2050, almost 85% of the population in Germany will probably live in metropolitan areas. The increasing traffic is already presenting cities and metropolitan areas with logistical, social and environmental challenges. The situation is different in many rural areas. Here, one of the central challenges is preserving individual mobility. In the future, a strong rail system can continue to enable vibrant, urban coexistence and the connection of rural regions, because it will enable real freedom of movement and allow travel time to be used in a variety of ways, without wasting valuable hours in our days. A strong rail system means doubling the number of passengers using long-distance rail passenger transport, as well as significantly more passengers using local transport each year. This results in a saving of about five million passenger car journeys every day and about 14,000 plane journeys in Germany.
  • For the Economy. Demand for the transport of goods is expected to increase by more than 20% over the next ten years. At the same time, more and more people are commuting to work or working flexibly at different locations and at different times. With a strong rail system, this rising volume of traffic can be overcome and ecologically friendly, economic growth is possible. A strong rail system is therefore a crucial competitive factor for Germany’s future economic success. It helps Germany to secure its position as the world champion of exports. With it, we compete for the most modern transport logistics and develop decisive technological stimuli for the future. More precisely, Strong Rail represents growth in the market share of rail freight transport from 18% to 25%. This corresponds to about 13 million fewer truck journeys per year on German roads.
  • For Europe. Germany has a special responsibility for the future of Europe. It is the most populous country and the geographic and economic heart of the continent. This role means Germany must be the pioneer and set the precedent for advancing European objectives. Climate protection, jobs, economic growth: much depends on the fact that Germany and Europe’s transport routes remain futureproof. Strong Rail is the necessary link between East and West, and North and South. In this context, it is not only an important instrument for cultural cooperation between the individual countries, but also a crucial factor in jointly achieving the set objectives. Strong Rail for Europe means working together to realize a European network.

With the DB2020+ strategy, we have already set ourselves the goal of harmonizing the economic, social and environmental factors with our business goals. Since then, sustainability, in all its dimensions, has been anchored in our value framework and is an integral part of our DNA. In response to rapidly changing environmental, social and political conditions, but also to internal challenges, we have further developed our strategic focus and a new method of design – our inner ambition – which is the heart of our new Strong Rail strategy. With the Strong Rail strategy, we expressly acknowledge our social responsibility and define our concrete contribution to achieving the Federal Government’s central transport and climate policy objectives. As the geographical and economic heart of Europe, Germany has a special responsibility for the future of the continent. Given the importance of Strong Rail for Europe, Europe will continue as the field of our activities in the future. In the future, however, we will be focusing more on the core business of railway in Germany and are therefore taking into account the internal challenges and rising expectations of our stakeholders regarding the responsibility of DB Group. We will therefore measure everything we do on the value of its contribution to a strong rail system. This also includes our subsidiaries. Subsidiaries with strategic significance for Strong Rail such as DB Schenker, will continue to be held as financial investments. Joint operational initiatives will focus on achieving synergies within the integrated network. Subsidiaries without strategic relevance for the Strong Rail strategy will be put to the test.