How does the 9-euro ticket change our mobility behavior? Are more people leaving their cars? Researchers from different cities want to find out now. The first surveys are already underway.

The planned 9-euro ticket is not yet valid, but has been causing debates about overcrowded trains and overrun vacation spots for weeks. Researchers from Munich, Kassel and Braunschweig have now also dedicated themselves to the project. They want to find out how the ticket affects people’s behavior. The three-month campaign is a perfect opportunity for research.

“A gigantic real experiment is taking place here that we want to evaluate scientifically,” says Klaus Bogenberger, a professor at the Technical University of Munich. “Our goal is to use the data to record changes in mobility behavior and to draw conclusions for tomorrow’s traffic. For example, does the 9-euro ticket work and does it actually get people to switch from cars to buses and trains? Or will people continue to drive a lot when fuel becomes cheaper again because of the temporary tax cuts?”

Typically, the researchers approach the topic with surveys in several waves: before, during and after the three months of the 9-euro ticket. In this way, expectations, use and long-term effects on behavior should be recorded.

Is our mobility behavior changing now?

The research is “mainly interesting because people have been thinking about how to get people into public transport for a long time,” says Mark Vollrath, a professor at the TU Braunschweig. The first wave has been running there for around two weeks – with lively participation. Around 3,000 people have taken part so far, says Vollrath. This is already three times the originally targeted number of participants. Further survey waves are planned for August and November.

Vollrath and his team are concerned, among other things, with whether people who already use public transport can continue to use it more cheaply or whether the ticket encourages them to change. They also want to find out who is changing, what prevents people who are not doing so and what those surveyed want from public transport.

“It’s a great opportunity to see the potential of public transport, but also to what extent mobility behavior will change in the long term,” says Angela Francke, professor at the University of Kassel, about the 9-euro ticket. As a “disruptive element” it has the potential to have a lasting effect on habitual behavior, according to her team. She also relies on three surveys to observe this. The first is already running.

The first results are already expected for the summer

The teams from Kassel and Braunschweig want to carry out nationwide research with their surveys. In Munich, on the other hand, people concentrate on their own region. There, 1000 participants are also to record their mobility behavior via an app. The first results could be available as early as summer. Both Francke and Vollrath want to publish in July.

In some cases, the 9-euro ticket is also used in existing projects. For example at the University of Duisburg-Essen, where its effects on the mobility of company employees in industrial parks are to be examined as part of a larger study.

A research project is also to be carried out at the TU Hamburg. The Institute for Transport Planning and Logistics wants to interview poor people in cooperation with the Hamburger Verkehrsverbund. The main questions are how the ticket affects user behavior and what experiences arise in everyday life.