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Accessibility of motorways

Physical proximity to motorways and highway links, respectively, serving as entry points into the high-quality long distance infrastructure is considered still to be an important location factor. Despite of the high motorway network density already existing in Germany, this feature is a significant location advantage within the frame of the new settlement of industrial and commercial companies. Since the beginning of the 90‘s of the 20th Century development of the German motorway network has gathered new momentum following German reunification (Verkehrsprojekte Deutsche Einheit) (German Unity Transport Projects). During the last five years alone another ca. 500 km of motorways were through new construction added to the now ca. 12.200 km of German motorways (Autobahns).

Location with respect to motorway connection can be rated as good, given the state of expansion achieved to date of the federal trunk road network and considering the high network density. Striking regional disparities regarding access to motorways continue to exist mostly only in sparsely populated regions, at the outer periphery of the Federal territory and in some areas of the low mountain ranges, as for instance in Altmark, Vorpommern (Western Pomerania), the Bayrischer Wald (Bavarian Forest), and the Schwäbische Alb (Swabian Alb). However, within 30 minutes car travel time more than 90 % of the population reach an autobahn entry/exit. Taking into account the planned motorway extensions as outlined in the 2003 Federal Transport Plan running through the year 2015, which includes as a key priority ca. 1.900 km of new highway construction projects, further improvement will occur in many of these regions.


Car travel times in minutes to the next Federal motorway connection for the year 2010

Source: Bundesinstitut für Bau-, Stadt- und Raumforschung (BBSR) (Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development)

Federal motorways

Source: ATKIS DLM 1000 © GeoBasis-DE / BKG 2012, generalized by the Bundesinstitut für Bau-, Stadt- und Raumforschung

Validity of the data

On the basis of the BBSR’s accessibility analyses fundamental statements on the settlement and spatial structure or the level of infrastructure provision for the regional population can be inferred. When interpreting these factors it should be remembered that the calculated values referring to the model are either averages for spatial units (here: municipalities or municipality associations) or measuring results applying to a point of reference (centre of a municipality). Therefore, these values are not transferable to any point within a given reference surface.

By means of a route search algorithm the distances between traffic cells or municipalities are in a computer model of the relevant road network measured from the respective municipality centre to the nearest motorway connection in terms of car travel time per minutes.

The road network which the accessibility analyses are based on includes all major supra-local roads as well as important local connections. The single road sections are grouped into 13 different categories (reaching from slower speed urban roads to fast highways), to which average car speeds are assigned. Temporal fluctuations of traffic flow are not taken into account in this calculation.

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