Product quality and digitalization


Punctuality / %

H 1 2023


H 1 2022

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 continually compare the target arrival time for every train/bus run to the actual arrival time. We summarize the arrival of trains/buses on schedule or up to a defined maximum delay using a degree of punctuality.
1) From July 2022, excluding activities sold in Sweden (2022 Integrated Report).

The punctuality in rail transport in Germany has reduced compared with the first half of 2022. The main reasons for this development are the following medium- and long-term structural effects:

  • Poor condition of railroad facilities: There has been an increasing number of superstructure issues and speed restriction sections. The nationwide assessment and the replacement of defective concrete ties have remained a key issue in this regard.
  • Intensive construction activities: Construction measures in the core network and a high volume of short-term construction and maintenance requirements with the simultaneous tight infrastructure capacity had an evident negative impact on punctuality.
  • High network utilization: Highly utilized rail tracks and overloading of the major transport hubs on account of high and, in some cases, increased traffic volumes.
  • Unstable scheduling processes: High demand on scheduling regulations and a significant increase in construction and maintenance measures that were not announced in a timely manner have had a negative impact on the quality of scheduling.

The build-up of all the individual effects has exacerbated the negative impact on punctuality and reduced the performance capability of the system as well as operating quality. By contrast, the decline in delays due to external events – especially on account of adverse weather – has had a positive effect, as have influences from third parties. To counteract the gener­­ally negative development, the planned and additional measures (including the digital production system and the intro­­duction of the maintenance container) were implemented during the business year and a consistent cross-sectoral control of measures was established.

Overarching processes for improved punctuality and quality in rail operations

The overarching process “Provisioning and running trains” brings all the train operating companies and rail infrastructure companies together under the heading of “PlanFahrt” (scheduled journeys). This initially applies to rail passenger transport. In the future, rail freight transport will also be integrated.

  • Focus: The overarching process begins exactly where it is needed the most, namely with the concentration on the six bottleneck areas (hubs and corridors) that are the most relevant for operational stability and punctuality across the overall rail system. For this purpose, the first half of 2023 saw the development of a powerful over­arching organization and the establishment of consis­-
    tent coordination processes for all parties at regional and national level. The committees created will enable fast decision-making pathways and sustainable controlling of measures.
  • Target: The target of the overarching processes is to con­tinuously improve the orderliness of any disruptions (percentage of trains leaving a defined bottleneck with a delay of less than 60 seconds) in the defined bottleneck areas. This is achieved by assessing provision, departure, train run and stops in an integrated manner and considering all the interdependencies of the operation when this is being managed. This process enables findings from the entire production process to be included. With the developed performance management, process obstacles can be detected by means of the transparent portrayal of defined key figures, topics can be discussed in a comprehensive fashion and effective countermeasures developed and established. The cooperation with all train operating companies and rail infrastructure companies in rail passenger transport is the key lever for a structural and sustained improvement in quality and the tackling of operational disruptions. This involvement of all companies has already been piloted in two regions since summer 2022 in the previous overarching process “Provide trains” and has been in the nationwide rollout for the merged overarching process “Provide and run trains” since April 2023. It is particularly important at present to make the best possible use of the existing infrastructure during the modernization of the rail infrastructure. DB Netze Track has overall responsibility for the overarching process.

Digital Production Network

A comprehensively digital railway – this is the task of the Digital Production Network (DPV). The long-term goal is to ensure the completeness and suitability of activities relating to digital transformation in rail operations. The overarching portfolio of the DPV works across three levels of action: first-aid measures for quickly remedying operative inefficiencies, generation of digital platforms for an optimized digital system, and gradual further development of the target vision “ONE digital railway” for a mutual control and cooperation model. Alongside the long-term effects, the focus of the DPV is also to achieve a fast and evident impact for customers. To this end, the DPV includes around 60 short-term digitalization measures that will have a positive influence on punctuality. All the planned measures are already being implemented and should be concluded by the end of 2023. The focus is on the implementation of overarching synergy poten­tials where these are the most practical and feasible. Accordingly, the DPV combines two measures that concern scheduling recommendations by means of artificial intelligence (AI), where the requirements of train operating companies and rail infrastructure companies are taken into consideration. On the one hand, the automatic scheduling assistance program ADA-PMB for the rail infrastructure company perspectives, which works in a non-discriminatory way focusing on the valid scheduling guideline, and, on the other hand, the use of AI in the scheduling with train operating company recommendations. With the support of the DPV, following successful pilot phases, these measures can be further rolled out across the entire network. This makes it easier to decide which train should be where and when, and improves punctuality. A further relevant measure is the buffer and reservation system from DB Cargo. This system enables improved capacity management by means of IT optimization and helps to control transport orders in a more targeted manner, thereby increasing planning efficiency, and helps to cushion temporary capacity bottlenecks. It also makes it easier for dispatchers to stick to transport schedules.

Removing speed restrictions section

Track infrastructure has already been, and will continue to be, encumbered by increases in traffic volume. Today, it is not possible to adequately cope with the traffic due to partially outdated railroad facilities. The high amount of restrictions play a particularly key role here, too. Dealing with these requires numerous short-term construction and maintenance activities to be carried out. This results in a challenging operating situation that has a negative impact on punctuality.

Following the accident in Burgrain in June 2022, an extensive inspection and replacement program was initiated for concrete ties. These activities are currently being extend­­­­ed as part of an overarching program to reduce restrictions. The objectives are to:

  • Deal with existing restrictions as quickly as possible and safeguard the required resources.
  • Consistently establish measures for impending restrictions in order to avoid these before they occur. A key focus here is to replace damaged ties.

Robust vehicles

In order to stabilize punctuality, DB Long-Distance intensified maintenance in the first quarter of 2023, among other areas, so as to improve the availability of vehicles. In the area of “access door” vehicle components, the number of technical lost units (punctuality-relevant disruptions) was significantly reduced in the first half of 2023. Particularly with ICE 4 (series 412), thanks to a sustained optimization of the maintenance, a considerable reduction in the number of defects was achieved compared with the same period in the previous year. Moreover, the buffer times in the train staff shifts were increased so as to avoid the risk of a late changeover of staff and subsequent delays. To further curb the spillover effects of late employees, train employees were increasingly scheduled only on individual corridors and axes. Two specific measures were implemented to improve the adherence to stop times (and consequently also punctuality):

  • The expansion and consolidation of passenger control staff, who can speed up the movement of passengers at the stops; and
  • The more intensive use of early train dispatches, which allow trains to depart as early as possible after a stop in order to improve the use of the network infrastructure.
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