Traffic still represents a crucial load factor of the urban environment. Its numerical development is observed through traffic counts that have been carried out at regular intervals since 1951 in the western boroughs of Berlin and since 1993 for the entire city area. The Berlin Traffic Control (Verkehrsleitung Berlin, VLB) of the Senate Department for the Environment, Transport and Climate Protection is responsible for carrying out traffic counts on motorways, federal highways and the remaining main road network. The current data refer to the year 2014 and thus update the values of the preceding analysis from 2009.
The motorisation level, i.e. the ratio of cars to the number of inhabitants, was very different for East and West Berlin in 1970. For instance, there were 77.5 cars per 1,000 inhabitants in East Berlin in 1970, compared to 175.4 in the western part of the city, i.e. almost 100 vehicles more per 1,000 inhabitants. In 1995, also due to the reunification, the numbers were already significantly closer together than before: in East Berlin 320 cars were now available per 1,000 inhabitants, compared to 375 cars in West Berlin. Since 2011, a slightly decreasing motorisation level for cars can be observed, which can be traced in particular to a declining availability of cars for younger people (cf. Fig. 1 and SenStadtUm 2016). In comparison with other cities, Berlin is thus still at a very favourable level with 335 cars/1,000 inhabitants. For instance, Munich with 444 (2015) and Hamburg with about 419 cars/1,000 inhabitants (2015) exhibit far higher values. The German average was 540 cars/1,000 inhabitants in 2015.
“However, there is a significant gradient between the Berlin inner city (in parts below 200 motor vehicles/1,000 inhabitants) and the outer city areas (in parts more than 500 motor vehicles/1,000 inhabitants)” (cf. StEP Verkehr, SenStadt 2011).