Transport and infrastructure in Germany

Our listing of the primary kinds of transport compares the infrastructure of Germany with the average of all countries in Europe. Overall, the traffic routes are above average and in good condition.

In terms of the length of its rail network, Germany ranks 41st in the world with 0.40 meters per inhabitant. In total, the rail network is 33,422 kilometers long. Freight traffic on the rails most recently totaled 113.11 billion tons and kilometers traveled. Passenger traffic reached 98.00 billion passenger-kilometers in 2018.

The waterways listed refer to inland traffic on rivers and canals. The number of ports includes those located on the total 2,389 km of coastline. In 2020, about 18.03 million freight containers were transported.

Airports in Germany

Back to overview: Germany

Road traffic

The network of roads and highways has a total length of 625,000 km. For each of the country's 83.13 million inhabitants, this corresponds to 7.52 meters. This puts Germany in 70th place in the global ranking. However, the country's size and population density of around 232 inhabitants per km² must also be taken into account. Countries with fewer inhabitants on the same or even larger area naturally achieve quite different values here and have to connect remote areas to the transport network despite a smaller population.

With an average of 3459 traffic fatalities per year (2012 - 2019), road traffic in Germany is considered very safe. This corresponds to around 4.3 accident fatalities per 4.2 inhabitants per year. By comparison, this figure is 12.2 in the USA and 17.1 worldwide.

In Germany, traffic drives on the right-hand side of the road, i.e. people drive in the right-hand lane and overtake on the left. Oncoming traffic comes toward you on the left side. This rule was introduced at the end of the 18th century during the Napoleonic Wars. Here you can also find an overview of all countries with left-hand traffic.



 totalper 1 mio
per km²
Roadways625,000 km7,518.41 km1,747.86 m
Railroads33,400 km402.05 km93.47 m
Waterways7,467 km89.82 km20.88 m
Commercial harbors5997.210.002


 total per 1 mio
per km²
Roadways6,708,300 km11,157.59 km1,111.61 m
Railroads258,600 km430.13 km42.85 m
Waterways53,100 km88.38 km8.81 m
Commercial harbors15,29125.430.003

Data sources used

Global Health Observatory Data Repository (World Health Organization)
Internation Union of Railways (UIC)
CIA Factbook
OECD Statistics
Wikipedia (german)
Germany: AirportsLargest airports and airlines in GermanyThe 30 biggest airports and 13 airlines in Germany with further information and data
Germany: ClimateClimate and temperature development in GermanyA climate analysis for Germany incl. temperatures, humidity, rain days per month, hours of sunshine, Water temperature, Rainfalls
Ranking: MegacitiesMega cities - the biggest cities all over the worldRanking of the biggest cities worldwide. On top: Shanghai, Chongqing and Beijing