The customer is at the center of our actions

For us, increasing punctuality is the most important lever for improving product quality. Internal punctuality management is based on lost units (number of delays) and will be expanded in future with additional key figures that take into account network utilization. To measure punctuality, we compare the target arrival time to the actual arrival time for every train/bus journey. A stop is considered on time if the scheduled arrival time is exceeded by less than six minutes in passenger transport or less than 16 minutes in freight transport. We use a punctuality rate to summarize the arrival of trains/buses on schedule or up to a defined maximum delay. In addition, DB Regional Bus also evaluates buses that have departed more than one minute too early as not punctual. The figures are recorded daily and are made available to executives and employees online, together with the lost units and other management key figures, allowing remedial action to be taken. In addition, punctuality data, together with the associated indicators, are prepared regularly and used by the Management Board to determine current points requiring action and where decisions are required. Punctuality is the key indicator of product quality in terms of the Strong Rail strategy, and is a determining factor in calculating the variable compensation amount for executives at DB Group.

Other important levers for increasing product quality include the use of modern vehicles, reliable and comprehensive customer and transport information, the quality and reliability of services offered, as well as reasonable travel and transport times. That is why we continually invest in our fleet and infrastructure, and optimize cooperation with our suppliers and sector partners. We also place a strong emphasis on tapping into the opportunities of digitalization. Our initiatives for increasing product quality and improving customer satisfaction are an important part of the plan to implement our strategy.

In addition to the various aspects of product quality, the continuous optimization of the price-performance ratio and product innovations, especially in digitalization, are key levers for increasing customer satisfaction. We work extremely hard on our basic service and focus on optimizing product and service quality. We offer our customers a comprehensive range of services for their information needs. Our target is to provide our products at a reasonable price-performance ratio in order to meet the expectations of our customers. The focus is on measures that increase the quality of our services and the efficiency of our processes. In order to assess the success of our measures from our customers’ perspective, we use direct indicators such as revenues and the number of passengers. In addition to this, we use the results of regular customer surveys to measure our success and find potential areas for improvement.







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) 1)




DB Regional (bus) 




DB Cargo




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/buses on schedule or up to a definedmaximum delay using a degree of punctuality.
1) Change in method in UK Trains line of business in 2021, previous years’ figures retroactively adjusted.

In 2021, punctuality in German rail transport was below the high level of the previous year. The main reason for this was the reduction in positive effects in terms of capacity, which therefore increased punctuality, due to the low volume produced in 2020 as a result of Covid-19.

  • Positive effects resulted from a further reduction in primary disruptions thanks to improved system availability.
  • Major structural and external challenges, in contrast, had a strong negative impact on punctuality. Structurally, strong traffic growth, primarily in existing bottlenecks (top connection hubs and lines), together with an expansion of construction volume in these areas, placed a significant strain on capacity. To counteract this development, measures have been adopted to contribute to an increase in quality in the coming years.
  • A large number of external special events also led to temporary slumps in punctuality during the course of the year: the severe cold spell in February 2021, high temperatures in June 2021, the severe floods in July 2021 and storms in October 2021.
  • The GDL strikes also had a negative effect.

Focus on digitalization and technology

Our digital and technical strategy is designed to develop an ultra-smart mobility network by 2030 – connected, automated and customer-oriented. In the future, travel should essentially “plan itself” and adapt to changing circumstances in real time in the event of deviations. To this end, our digitalization processes must be understood and designed as an intelligent overall system – a long-term development, with three core tasks under the Strong Rail strategy:

  • fully connected,
  • self-organized development, and
  • making it easier for customers to use mobility services.

In six strategic areas, digitalization and technology are the key to success for the Strong Rail strategy:

  • Digital rail operations are making us more robust, for example by using automated timetable planning and scheduling.
  • Digital maintenance is making us more efficient, for example as a result of real-time transparency and more proactive planning.
  • The digital customer experience is making us more modern, for example by using more efficient travel chains and more intuitive booking options.
  • The high availability of rail technology is making us more robust – by increasing the availability of infrastructure and vehicles.
  • Flexible rail technology is making us more efficient, for example through the comprehensive modernization of the fleet and infrastructure.
  • Green rail technology is making us more modern, for example through emissions-free and environmentally friendly rail operations.

All of these initiatives will help to steadily increase capacity, efficiency and quality. Implementing the digital and technical strategy also requires a culture that supports ideas and plans for a new working environment, and inspires enthu­siasm for new technologies and new forms of working (together).

IT infrastructure is the basis for driving digitalization. The digital infrastructure concept for a Strong Rail comprises five components:

  • Connectivity: Connectivity is the most basic requirement for data transfer and exchange, because a Strong Rail needs high-speed communication.
  • Cloud services: Cloud services help provide dynamic, scalable and on-demand IT services, because a Strong Rail needs resilient IT resources.
  • Cybersecurity: The area of cybersecurity will also continue to be improved, because only a secure rail system is a strong rail system. Cybersecurity means comprehensive protection of all (digital) assets, systems, data and processes.
  • Development platforms: Our development platforms offer modular services to help speed up the development of software.
  • Data management: The objective within data management is to provide tools and standards for the general use of all data within the Group.

By 2030, the goal is to have trained mobility systems to detect, calculate and network automatically and hence, to keep everything permanently up to date. Artificial Intelligence (AI) determines the pace of this by facilitating new ways of managing capacity, eliminating barriers and satisfying requirements before they are even identified and formulated. The vehicles are highly automated, communicate with each other, update themselves indepen­dently and report potential defects even before they occur – with new sensors, drones and robots.

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