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Formation1967; 56 years ago (1967)
Founded atHamburg, Germany
PurposeFor the implementation of a coordinated public transport system

A Verkehrsverbund is a regional association of public agencies for the implementation of a coordinated public transport system. Verkehrsverbund is a German term, and these associations exist primarily in the German-speaking world. However, the concept has also gained prominence in the United States as a model for coordinating public transport agencies in regions with a fragmented public transport governance.[1][2] Verkehrsverbünde include representatives from both public transportation agencies and local government, who work together to provide a coordinated public transport system to passengers.[3]


In the Verkehrsverbund model, separate agencies coordinate schedules, branding, and fares while retaining their individual organisational structures under the surface. This differs from the model of a single regional agency, such as Transport for London, in which most or all regional public transport is run by a single organisation.

At a minimum, a Verkehrsverbund provides the following:

  • A uniform fare system, known as the "Tarif"
  • Tickets that are accepted by all operators within the region
  • Coordinated timetables
  • Issuance of a single schedule
  • Avoidance of duplicate line names
  • Uniform branding on vehicles and stop signs
  • Timed connections between transport modes


The first Verkehrsverbund was founded in Hamburg in 1967, and the model spread across Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, driven by financial pressures on public transport agencies caused by the rise of car travel in post-war Europe. In return for joining the Verkehrsverbund, Hamburg's city government guaranteed any losses of revenue that smaller agencies experienced from the change. These revenue losses were feared by agencies because integrating fares required some providers to reduce the fare they charged.[3]

Starting in 1971, the model spread to other cities in Germany and beyond. In Munich, Vienna, and Zurich, the establishment of the Verkehrsverbund occurred when those cities adopted S-Bahn regional rail systems. Verkehrsverbünde also found favour with the German federal government, and spread to East Germany after German reunification when a Verkehrsverbund model for Berlin was included in the reunification treaty.[3]


While all Verkehrsverbünde represent a cooperative of public transport agencies and regional government, there are three broad categories of how authority is split: Unternehmensverbünde (UVs), Auftraggeberverbünde (AVs), and Mischverbünde (MVs).

Public transport agencies have the dominant vote on the governing board, while local governments provide funding.
Local government agencies have the dominant vote on the governing board, and public transport agencies provide advice on decisions.
Both public transport agencies and local government share influence on the governing board.

All Verkehrsverbünde founded before 1990 were UVs, but this changed after the German Regionalisierungsgesetz des Bundes law of 1993 devolved much public transportation funding to the Lände (States) and liberalised its regulation.[4] This process, described as the "Regionalisation" of public transport, led to a large increase in the number of Verkehrsverbünde, rising from 15 in 1991 to almost 70 in 2006.


  1. "My Rider Is Your Rider: What the Bay Area Can Learn from Germany's Collaborative Transit Planning". SPUR. San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association. Retrieved 2020-04-13.
  2. "Learning from the German Approach to Transit". Circulate San Diego. Retrieved 2020-04-13.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Buehler, Ralph; et al. "Verkehrsverbund: The evolution and spread of fully integrated regional public transport in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland" (PDF). International Journal of Sustainable Transportation. Retrieved 2020-04-13.
  4. Brandt, Torsten. "Liberalisation, privatisation and regulation in the German local public transport sector" (PDF). Hans Böckler Foundation. Retrieved 2020-04-13.

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