Customer and quality


Punctuality (%)





DB Group (rail) in Germany




     DB rail passenger transport in Germany




          DB Long-Distance




          DB Regional




     DB Cargo (Germany)




DB Arriva (rail: United Kingdom, Denmark, Sweden,
the Netherlands, Poland and the Czech Republic)




DB Regional (bus) 1)



DB Cargo (Europe)




To measure punctuality, we compare the target arrival time to the actual arrival time for every train/bus run. We summarize the arrival of trains on schedule or up to a defined maximum delay using a degree of punctuality.
1) Change in method from 2020 onwards, with retroactive adjustments for the previous year.

Despite major challenges, mainly due to extensive construction volume and high temperatures during the summer months, punctuality in rail transport in Germany improved significantly. The positive development was supported by a large number of measures and the effects of Covid-19, which resulted in the lower infrastructure utilization and lower passenger numbers. In addition, our well-functioning Covid-19 management, in conjunction with capacity relief, particularly on highly overloaded infrastructure, also had an impact in the second quarter of 2020. In order to derive specific recommendations for action for the future, extensive investigations were carried out and a scientific study on the driving factors for punctuality during the Covid-19 re­stric­tions was added. In addition, thanks to good construction site management on the infrastructure side, almost all planned construction work was implemented on time, despite some significant restrictions, and the negative effects of slow-running points on the North South axis were significantly re­­­­duced. At DB Long-Distance, significantly better vehicle quality and availability had a positive effect on punctuality.

Management centers for managing punctuality and construction work

The Punctuality Management Center, which has been part of the Infrastructure Board division since 2018, acts as a cross-business unit management unit for ensuring punctuality targets. Its core tasks include the analysis of punctuality discrepancies during the year, the identification and management of measures and monitoring the implementation of measures. The Puncuality Management Center relies on an established early-warning system for punctuality-related (construction) plans and (construction) operating processes: PlanRadar and risk radar construction.

In 2020, the main focus of investigations during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic was on the development of operating quality. Concrete measures for a sustainable improvement in punctuality were derived and initiated. In ad­di­tion, monitoring of infrastructure restrictions relevant to punctuality was set up on four central line bundles.

In 2020, additional efforts were required in light of the increasing volume of construction and construction implementation risks caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Thanks to prudent and reliable construction site planning and close support from the construction management center, the construction-related restrictions on infrastructure and thus oper­ational restrictions could be kept at a stable level. Forward-looking and  proactive action, alongside good schedule planning of construction work contributed to this.

Forecasting skills

Since 2019, we have been expanding our expertise in the area of forecasting quality indicators, in particular punctuality, with the aim of detecting punctuality-related developments at an early stage and taking measures. The focus is on the medium-term planning horizon. It shows to what ex­tent the planned quality measures are sufficient to achieve our Strong Rail targets.

The models developed in 2020 for the punctuality forecast during the year are being continuously expanded so that they take into account key drivers such as weather developments, the availability of vehicles and personnel or the utilization of our products.

Approach for a high-performance S-Bahn (metro) system

The S-Bahn (metro) systems in the major cities plays a key role in Germany’s transition to more sustainable mobility. Despite the drop in passenger numbers in 2020 due to Co­­vid-­­­19, the S-Bahn (metro) systems have to master significant growth over the next few years – while also improving quality. Punctuality in particular is expected to increase significantly over the next five years. To this end, the Strong S-Bahn (metro) project was launched with the aim of developing and implementing the prerequisites for a high-performance S-Bahn (metro) system. Locally successful approaches, such as the prevention of rail crossings on the Munich S-Bahn (metro), are being implemented as standards for the major cities.

The experience we gained in 2020, and which contributed to an increase in punctuality, is also being incorporated into this. For example, findings from the reduced number of passengers are used to derive measures for the period after the Covid-19 pandemic, such as adjusting platform design, timetable adjustments and infrastructure improvements. All these activities help to achieve DB Regional’s punctuality targets.

Overarching processes

Within the framework of Strong Rail, overarching processes are being developed in compliance with regulatory requirements in order to enable cross-unit process management un­der the responsibility of a overarching process owner. In October 2020, we launched the overarching process “Provide trains.” This will be used to manage the on-schedule arrival, functionality and completeness of all rail passenger trans­­­port and infrastructure facilities in the future, with defined measurement points and performance management, which takes decisions to Management Board level in a short time.

In order to better manage major disruptions, the “Manage major disruptions” overarching process has been established. This ensures information for customers and employees, as well as overcoming the traffic-operational situations, and develops lessons learned for continuous process improvement after each major disruption. This resulted, for example, in the introduction of the RIS major disruption platform, which supports text creation for customer and employee communi­cation in a wide variety of channels and enables automated publication of texts. Using the example of Storm Sa­­bine in the first quarter of 2020, it has already been shown that, despite a significant operational impact, customer and public opinion of incident management was predominantly positive. This was mainly due to the relatively short operational recovery time and the timely and comprehensive commu­nication with our customers. Both are coordinated by the overarching process.

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