The volume of traffic in Germany, especially goods transportation, is at a very high level due to its central location in Europe. In the past few decades, much of the freight traffic shifted from rail to road, which led the Federal Government to introduce a motor toll for trucks in 2005. Individual road usage increased resulting in a relatively high traffic density to other nations. A further increase of traffic is expected in the future.
High-speed vehicular traffic has a long tradition in Germany given that the first freeway (Autobahn) in the world, the AVUS, and the world's first automobile were developed and built in Germany. Germany possesses one of the most dense road systems of the world. German motorways have no blanket speed limit. However, posted limits are in place on many dangerous or congested stretches as well as where traffic noise or pollution poses a problem.
The German government has had issues with upkeep of the roads in the country. For the government has had to revamp the eastern portions transport system since the unification of Germany between the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) and the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany). With that, numerous construction projects have been put on hold in the west, and a vigorous reconstruction has been going on for almost 20 years. However ever since the European Union formed an over all streamlining and change of route plans have occurred as faster and more direct links to former eastern block countries now exist and are in the works, with intense co-operation among European countries.
Other main public roads are maintained by the Bundesländer (states), called Landesstraße (country road) or Staatsstraße (state road). The numbers of these roads are prefixed with "L", "S" or "St", but are usually not seen on direction signs or written in maps. They appear on the kilometre posts on the roadside. Numbers are unique only within one state.
The Landkreise (districts) (number prefix "K") and municipalities are in charge of the minor roads and streets within villages, towns and cities.
Deutsche Bahn (German Rail) is the major German railway infrastructure and service operator. Though Deutsche Bahn is a private company, the government still holds all shares and therefore Deutsche Bahn can still be called a state-owned company. Since its privatisation in 1994, Deutsche Bahn AG (DB AG) no longer publishes details of the tracks it owns; in addition to the DB AG system there are about 280 privately or locally owned railway companies which own an approximate 3,000 km to 4,000 km of the total tracks and use DB tracks in open access.
There are significant differences between the financing of long-distance and short-distance (or local) trains in Germany. While long-distance trains can be run by any railway company, the companies also receive no subsidies from the government; instead, the long-distance trains must be self-supporting. Local trains however are subsidised by the German states, which pay the operating companies to run these trains. This resulted in many private companies offering to run local train services as they can provide cheaper service than the state-owned Deutsche Bahn.
The InterCityExpress or ICE is a type of high-speed train operated by Deutsche Bahn in Germany and large cities in neighbouring countries, such as Zürich, Vienna, Amsterdam, Liège and Brussels. The rail network throughout Germany is extensive and provides excellent services in most areas. On regular lines, at least one train every two hours will call even in the smallest of villages. Nearly all larger metropolitan areas are served by S-Bahn, U-Bahn, Strassenbahn and/or bus networks
Relatively few cities have a full-fledged underground U-Bahn system, and S-Bahn (suburban commuter railway) systems are far more common. In some cities the distinction between U-Bahn and S-Bahn systems is blurred, for instance some S-Bahn systems run underground, have frequencies similar to U-Bahn, and form part of the same integrated transport network. A larger number of cities has upgraded its tramways to light rail standards. These systems are called Stadtbahn (not to be confused with S-Bahn),on main line rails.
Cities with pure U-Bahn systems are:
Cities with Stadtbahn systems can be found in the article Trams in Germany.
Waterways: 7,500 km (1999); major rivers include the Rhine and Elbe; Kiel Canal is an important connection between the Baltic Sea and North Sea, the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal links Rotterdam on the North Sea with the Black Sea.
Pipelines: crude oil 2,500 km (1998)
The port of Hamburg is the largest sea-harbour in Germany and ranks #2 in Europe, #7 world-wide (2004).
total: 475 ships (with a volume of or over) totaling /
ships by type: bulk carrier 2, cargo ship 181, chemical tanker 12, container ship 239, Liquified Gas Carrier 2, multi-functional large load carrier 5, passenger ship 2, petroleum tanker 8, rail car carrier 2, refrigerated cargo 2, roll-on/roll-off ship 13, short-sea passenger 7 (1999 est.)
Frankfurt International Airport is a major international airport and European transportation hub. Frankfurt Airport ranks among the world's top ten airports and serves 304 flight destinations in 110 countries. It is worldwide the airport with the largest number of international destinations served. Depending whether total passengers, flights or cargo traffic are used as a measure, it ranks as the busiest, second busiest and third busiest in Europe alongside London Heathrow Airport and Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport.
Germany's second important international airport is Munich. Other major airports are Berlin Tegel, Berlin Schönefeld, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Cologne-Bonn, Leipzig/Halle and in the future Berlin Brandenburg International Airport.
Travelling by air within Germany is unusual due to the extensive network of motorways and railway services. But due to the declining prices released by the many low-cost carriers who build a remarkable domestic network within Germany is increasing. On long range travel taking the plane is occasionally less expensive than by rail.
The national carrier is Lufthansa.
Airports: 615 (1999 est.)
Airports — with paved runways:
Airports — with unpaved runways:
Heliports: 59 (1999 est.)