Abstract Bloch oscillations excited in a strain-balanced In x Ga 1 − x As/In y Ga 1 − y As superlattice by fs optical pulses at 1.55 μ m are investigated in time-resolved transmission spectroscopy. The transition from the coherent oscillatory motion to an incoherent drift transport of the electrons is observed via a transient frequency shift of the Bloch oscillations due to the associated screening of the applied electric field. These electric field changes are analyzed quantitatively as a function of the initial field strengths and excitation densities. The incoherent transport can be described by a drift-diffusion model. As a result, the carrier mobility in the superlattice is obtained on a picosecond timescale.