The number of commuters rises to record high. According to an analysis by the Federal Institute of Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development (BBSR), the number of commuters in Germany has peaked at sixty percent, compared to 53 percent in 2000.
On average, employees now live almost 17 kilometers away from their place of work, compared to 14.6 kilometers at the start of the millennium. Most people commute to larger cities. Two thirds of employees working in the metropolises Frankfurt, Stuttgart and Düsseldorf live outside the city limits. The most dynamic development records Berlin. The number of commuters increased by 53 percent, 274,000 employees in absolute numbers. However, Munich has the most commuters, the number climbed to 365,000 employees travelling daily for work purposes. One reason cited for the market increase in commuter numbers, people mentioned rising housing costs in city centers. An overall rise in employment numbers was also part of the reason for the trend. All in all, employees become more mobile and flexible and accept a longer trip to their workplace in Germany.
Without any doubt, this social development is good for the German economy from the economic point of view. Nevertheless, mobility has also its drawbacks. From the ecological point of view, mobility presents new issues. Not every municipality has a good public transport system. In many cases, the only way to get in a reasonable amount of time to work is by driving to the workplace. Frequent drivers, as commuters usually are, tend to buy diesel cars. However, since certain vehicle manufacturers had issues with their emissions tests a few years back, diesel cars have been scrutinized for nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions blamed for causing respiratory disease. In Stuttgart, which is home to various carmakers and auto suppliers, an environmental group went to court two months after the initial scandal broke, seeking to force the city of Stuttgart to drastically improve its air quality by banning diesel cars. Analysts have said they expected other German cities would follow suit swiftly if Stuttgart put a diesel ban in place.
Regardless the environmental aspects, commuting is costly, time-consuming and also very tiring for employees. Some companies are aware of that and offer their employees mobile working and home offices, on certain days. Thus, commuter traffic can be reduced and a better work life balance for employees can be achieved by secure home office connections and VPN clients.
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