The Automobil-Club Verkehr (ACV) is one of the largest automobile clubs in Germany and represents as a modern mobility service provider the interests of its currently 450,000 members (as of November 2019). The primary focus lies on individual mobility considered as the modern society’s indispensable cornerstone. In this respect, ACV regularly takes stand in its communication, in interviews, round tables and campaigns. Traditionally there is close cooperation with DEVK Insurance, which has founded ACV in 1962. Since its inception ACV has been developing a broad network thanks to its involvement in numerous committees and associations reaching out to industry, business and politics, such as the German Council on Jurisdiction in Traffic, the German Transport Forum, the German Road Safety Council or the Senate of Economy in Germany.
ACV is a Founding Member of EAC
ACV leaders understood early on that, on top of that, a strong voice on European issues is also important. ACV is therefore proud to be one of the founding members of the European Automobile Clubs (EAC). The past ten years have shown that European policy issues cannot be solved solely within the nation-state borders – to name a single buzz word “passenger car toll”. Up until now, politics has not been able to find a workable uniform and harmonised solution for the EU citizens. Another, even more urgent problem concerns climate protection and the associated contribution of the transport sector. Together with its partners in the EAC, ACV is fighting for better, sustainable and affordable mobility options in Europe. CEO Holger Küster (pic. 2) and transport policy spokesman Gerrit Reichel (pic. 3) are committed to the work representing ACV in the EAC.
Another important demand relates to the required major renewal of the transport infrastructure. Considering particularly the big cities ACV advocates for the shift towards environment friendly transport modes including using bicycles as a substitute to motorised private transport modes – all the while requiring appealing alternative transport offers. Accordingly, the number of park & ride facilities should be increased while the prices for public transportation should be reduced over time. The entire network of cycle lanes needs to be significantly improved considering the increased use of bicycles. Taking the example of the city of Cologne, ACV has already criticised the lack of a comprehensive masterplan concerning the transport sector. With regard to eco-friendly propulsion systems, ACV counts not only on electromobility but also hybrid, gas and hydrogen cars. ACV has therefore created the Drive-o-Mat for its members, which will help selecting the user’s individual best choice.
Vision Zero and Project Edward: Fighting for More Road Traffic Safety
Improving road safety is another focus area of ACV's transport policy. Like the German Road Safety Council and the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI), ACV endorses the security strategy Vision Zero – with the German slogan "Alle kommen an, keiner kommt um" (“Everybody arrives, nobody dies”). ACV actively fights against road traffic hazards created for example through microsleep or distraction while driving. In 2019, as a member of EAC ACV has also participated in the Project Edward, which is a campaign with one main objective: To set the number of road fatalities to zero for one day.
In principle, ACV believes that a triad of distinct approaches are always required to enhance road safety: 1. The use of innovative technologies, such as assistance systems, 2. The review of the legal framework and, where necessary, the tightening of penalties for serious traffic violations, and 3. The continuous educational work to increase the awareness of the road users with the objective of changing their behaviour, for instance as regards using the mobile phone while driving.
ACV criticises the constantly proliferating tutelage of motorists. CEO Holger Küster explains, “It is unacceptable that virtually every month a new topic emerges, which then further fuels the general hysteria in the transport policy sector at the expense of individual mobility. Germany does not need new limits and prohibitions in the field of transport policy – but smarter solutions.” ACV clearly rejects the restriction of individual mobility, especially a general speed limit on motorways.
Vision for the Future: Commitment and Coherence
With regard to the future of EAC, Holger Küster says, “I hope that EAC will be able to communicate transport policy issues even more to the EU citizens. EAC has the great potential to influence seminal decisions and shape smartly our mobility beyond national borders. It requires coherence and commitment. ACV will do its part. "
Original text written in German by Gerrit Reichel, ACV, available here. Translation into English by Garunya Wieczorek, EAC.