Rail Accessibility in Germany: Changing Regional Disparities between 1990 and 2020





Accessibility, Rail, High Speed Rail, Regional Disparities, Germany


Transport accessibility is an important location factor for households and firms. In the last few decades, technological and social developments have contributed to a reinvigorated role of passenger transport. However, rail accessibility is unevenly distributed in space. The introduction of high-speed rail has furthermore promoted a polarisation of accessibility between metropolises and peripheral areas in some European countries. In this article we analyse the development of rail accessibility at the regional level in Germany between 1990 and 2020 for 266 functional city-regions. Our results show two different facets: The number of regions that are directly connected to one another has decreased, but at the same time the spatial disparities of accessibility have decreased, albeit to a small extent. This development was strongest in East Germany after German reunification and thus largely a consequence of the renovation of the conventional rail infrastructure, not high-speed rail. Nevertheless, it can be concluded that the introduction of high-speed traffic in Germany did not lead to an increase in accessibility disparities. Instead, the accessibility effects of high-speed rail in Germany seem to break the traditional dichotomy between core and periphery.


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Issue publication date 2021-04-28 (version 2)
Published online first 2021-02-26 (version 1)




Research Article

How to Cite

Wenner F, Thierstein A. Rail Accessibility in Germany: Changing Regional Disparities between 1990 and 2020. RuR [Internet]. 2021 Apr. 28 [cited 2024 May 25];79(2):95-115. Available from: https://rur.oekom.de/index.php/rur/article/view/63

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