Due to exceeding nitrogen dioxide levels in German cities and an impending lawsuit of the EU, a debate on free public local transport as a potential solution has evolved starting in summer 2018. This debate has been inspired by the announcement of the federal government to test alternative mobility concepts and in particular lower prices in five model cities. Local transport which is almost free of charge is supposed to fulfil high expectations not only in terms of environmental friendliness but also on the improvement of social participation. In this article, we provide an assessment of the prospects of success of this environmental policy tool and set out the challenges model cities face upon introduction. We particularly discuss possible price and behavioural effects.
Eichenseer, Michael and Christiane Reif (2018), (Fast) kostenloser Nahverkehr: Dominanz der Preis- oder Verhaltenswirkung?, Zeitschrift für Umweltpolitik & Umweltrecht (ZfU) 4, 413-421. Download