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Alex B.

This would also seem to speak to the integration of land use planning into the mix. If a city is rapidly growing and adding density as it builds, that's an entirely different scenario than assuming the city is mostly static and the transportation planning should solve for that problem as if it were a simple equation.

Erik G.

I'd leave Berlin out of these comparisons. Its transportation network is still distorted by the post-war division of the city until 20 years ago. Tons of cash thrown at it since then; Trams still really only in the former Soviet sector; S-bahn operated by three different entities in the West (DR, then BVG then S-Bahn Gmbh) in the past 30 years has altered things a bit.


Berlin fits perfectly well in this list.
Post-unification investments just bridged the gaps in the network and refurbished a couple of stations. The trams in the east complement the Underground which runs mainly in the west part of the city. And the S-Bahn just got its pre-war network restored. A network which was set up by a single entity, the DR.
Berlin is nothing special anymore. Just another city with a decent public transport system.


The only signed pieces in The Economist are the columns and the blogs. Every standard news items is without an author.

Erik G.

Tobias, the post-1961 boycott and decline of the East German run S-Bahn in the western sectors influenced where the BVG U-bahn was extended in the 1970's and 1980's. (See U7 extension to Rathaus Spandau). And no city, apart from possibly Dubai, has ever seen so much money put into infrastructure in so short a time as Berlin did from 1990 until 2010. As it was, West Berlin as a shrinking city, was not needing any expansion of its rail transit network, except that monies were freely flowing from Bonn in order to present West Berlin as a showpiece to the DDR

Miles Bader

BTW, another time when "massive redundancy" proves extremely useful is when something goes wrong—an accident that shuts down a line, inclement weather that's harsh enough to cause problems, disaster, etc.

Having multiple viable routes to get home is very comforting when a massive snowstorm has shut down half the city...


As someone living in Bavaria I do not love to defend Berlin, but I have to do it here... (as if a person from Texas would have to defend NYC)
Berlin is definitely not a shrinking city. With currently 3.490 million inhabitants it has a bigger population than ever since 1944. Even more, the area around Berlin grew significantly.
Berlin has a really good network - funny enough including the S-Bahn. And you need only one ticket for an area with 6 million people reaching until the border to Poland - with 1.2 billion public transit passengers annually.


A late comment, but the Berlin network is definitely not "redundant". Over much of the city, there are deliberately no bus services running over the same routes as U-Bahn lines. Which can pose difficulties for people with poor mobility travelling to destinations on streets like Skalitzer Strasse or Karl-Marx-Allee, where there is no transport along the street with shorter stop spacing than the U-Bahn.

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