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Federal Ministry of Transport and digital Infrastructure

Source: Federal Ministry of Transport and digital Infrastructure

The Ministry is headed by the Federal Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure. He coordinates and is responsible for the work of the department, which comprises the Ministry and a total of 63 executive agencies. The Minister is supported in his work by two Parliamentary State Secretaries, who are also Members of the German Bundestag, and by two Permanent State Secretaries. These four most senior staff members assist the Minister in his functions as head of the department and member of the government.

The Directorates-General and their Responsibilities

The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure is divided into nine directorates-general with a total staff of around 1,245. Just under 693 work in Bonn, 552 work in Berlin and up to 15 work abroad.

The Political Staff and Communications Directorate-General reports directly to the Minister and assist him in his political responsibilities. The Policy Planning and Coordination Directorate is responsible for strategically planning and coordinating political projects and cooperating with the government coalition leaders, other ministries, the German Bundestag, the Bundesrat, associations and institutions at international level. This also includes support for companies that want to establishing business ties abroad. The Press and Communications, Minister’s Spokesperson Directorate focuses on informing the public. Our citizens will always find a competent point of contact at our Public Information and Visitor Service. The directorate is additionally responsible for the press, new media, public relations work and event management as well as for strategic communication.

The Central Services Directorate-General performs the administrative functions of the Ministry and its executive agencies. Responsible for the budget, human resources and organization and legal affairs, this directorate-general is the resource management centre of the department. At the same time, it is the internal service provider at the Berlin and Bonn offices. In addition, it exercises the ownership rights of the federal holdings assigned to the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure.

The Federal Trunk Roads Directorate-General is responsible for maintaining the structural integrity of the road network for which the Federal Government is responsible. This currently comprises around 12,800 km of federal motorways and approximately 40,000 km of federal highways. At the moment, the focus is on systematically strengthening our bridges. Another of its tasks is to operate our road network and improve it by upgrading existing roads and constructing new ones. It is also responsible for an efficient and appropriate use of public funds. The federal states are responsible for planning and implementing the construction works and carrying out routine maintenance.

More than 90 percent of journeys in Germany are made on the roads. Be it by walking, cycling, driving a car or a truck or taking a bus. The rules adopted by the Road Traffic and Transport Directorate-General to ensure that the road space is shared in a good and safe manner thus affect all of us

Road traffic law establishes the legal rules for the safety of all road users. This includes, for example, obtaining a driving licence, the German Road Traffic Regulations as well as rules on fines and warning fines, but also the licensing of motor vehicles for road traffic. Regarding automotive engineering (safety and environmental aspects), a focal point is the contribution to European and international bodies that establish rules for the enhancement of vehicle safety or emissions, because vehicles are sold by their manufacturers globally. However, national rules are another focal point, particularly concerning changes or retrofitting of already licensed vehicles. Commercial goods and passenger transport by road, including its social legislation, has national and international aspects. If companies want to earn money by transporting passengers and goods, it has to happen in a safe and sustained manner. Additionally, many corresponding rules need to be negotiated at international level, because passengers and goods are transported across borders.

The introduction of HGV tolling meant a step change, moving away from the funding of federal trunk road construction through taxation and towards the "user pays" principle.
HGV tolling makes an important contribution to the construction and structural maintenance of federal trunk roads. In addition, the different toll rates based on the pollutant emissions of the vehicles provides an incentive to efficiently deploy low-emission vehicles.

Another major responsibility of this Directorate-General is promoting walking and in particular cycling for more active and sustainable mobility not only in urban areas. In addition, increasing road safety is another central task of transport policy. All measures taken to increase road safety follow the guiding objective: Every road fatality is one fatality too many.

The Railways Directorate-General is responsible for all issues relating to rail transport. It addresses political, legal and technical questions related to the railways and develops the regulatory framework for rail passenger transport and for investment in rail infrastructure.

The Policy Issues Directorate-General develops strategic policies to ensure that federal transport infrastructure planning is demand-responsive and projects are delivered on budget and on schedule and with comprehensive public participation. It is also responsible for shaping mobility in an environment- and climate-friendly way. Among the projects serving this purpose are the Federal Transport Infrastructure Plan, the evolution of the Mobility and Fuel Strategy and the promotion of local public transport, cycling, electric mobility and noise mitigation Other key priorities include toll services, research funding, freight transport and logistics as well as EU policy issues.

The Digital Society Directorate-General addresses matters associated with the increased digitalization of our infrastructures. The focus is particularly on questions of societal life. In addition to providing the broadband roll-out for private households and industry, new synergies need to be established through new legal frameworks and new technologies, such as promoting the fifth generation mobile communications standard (5G) and harmonising it at international level. Digitalization also has an increasingly important influence on mobility within our society. In addition to automated and connected driving, digitalizing local public transport as well as promoting digital innovations, especially artificial intelligence in the field of mobility, are key issues. Furthermore, the GALILEO satellite navigation programme and the Copernicus earth observation programme should also be highlighted.

Other responsibilities of this Directorate-General are Digital Construction (BIM), mFUND, mCloud, Data Run, Network Alliance for a Digital Germany, German Mobility Award and digital radio.

The Aviation Directorate-General deals with national and international aviation and aviation policy matters, airports and safety in air transport. With the help of the Federal Aviation Office (LBA), the Federal Supervisory Authority for Air Navigation Services (BAF), the German Federal Bureau of Aircraft Accident Investigation (BFU) and the German Air Navigation Services (DFS), the directorate-general facilitates the smooth flow of air traffic in Germany, provides for the safe operation of German air carriers and takes into account all environment-, noise- and consumer protection-related concerns.
It also represents Germany's interests on international bodies and organizations.

The Waterways and Shipping Directorate-General is the highest federal authority of the Federal Waterways and Shipping Administration, which is responsible for the maintenance and upgrading of the waterways. They comprise 23,000 km² of maritime waterways and 7,350 km of inland waterways. Another key area of this directorate-general's activities is participation in international institutions in which, for instance, issues relating to the law of the sea and shipping law are discussed and resolved.