Austria is the European Champion for Public Transportation
On average, every Austrian travels 3,405 kilometers annually with public transport, known as “Öffis”. This is the conclusion of an analysis carried out by the Austrian Traffic Club (VCÖ) on the basis of data provided by the EU Commission. Accordingly, Austria has the leading position in Europe. A glance at the situation in Vienna shows how important public transport really is. The market share of public transport of about 38 percent is extremely high. In comparison, the latest studies show that this figure is at 27 percent in the German capital city of Berlin, to give just one example. When it comes to transport connections, the Austrian capital is already at a level which other European cities would like to achieve.
According to the Austrian Traffic Club, people still drive by car much too frequently. The traffic jams in the country’s various metropolitan areas clearly demonstrate this. Austrians still drive their cars twice as far as they use the railways, bus or street car system. However, a large share of this amount could be avoided, in light of the fact that 40 percent of all trips taken by car are shorter than five kilometers. In particular, there is room for improvement when going to work, as two-thirds of employed Austrians use their cars.
For this reason, mobility management actively promoted by the government is to be welcomed. For example, one incentive is provided by the campaign “Austria cycles to work”. Each year since 2011, employees of a company are encouraged to come together and go to work by bike as frequently as possible. 2017 marked the most successful year of this campaign to date, featuring more than five million kilometers ridden and record savings of more than 800 tons of CO2.
Such initiatives can provide the necessary impetus. However, an important foundation for the successful mobility transition is primarily efficient transport infrastructure, research continually dealing with the ongoing increase in traffic and the demands imposed on quality and availability. Competitiveness in trip duration and the distance of the station to one’s own house are important factors leading to a conscious decision to take public transportation. And Vienna is also well positioned in this regard. Almost every person in Vienna is within walking distance of a stopping point or station for public transport. The price always plays a role. It is to the city’s credit that Austrian public transportation is very inexpensive in international comparison. An annual ticket for public transport costs 365 euros in Vienna, which means you get the entire city every day for a single euro.
On balance, Austria is a forerunner when it comes to transport, traffic and mobility solutions. It also helps that Austria ranks among one of the most dynamic locations for research and development in Europe thanks to a large number of clusters and competence centers and attractive research conditions. Moreover, companies also play a major role, because developments in transport technology are a major concern to them, whether this involves the transport of goods or the ways in which employees commute and customers come to the company. An increasing number of firms are assuming responsibility for the mobility of their staff, making them independent of their own cars when going to work. Examples of effective measures include the public transport “job ticket” for employees, information about how to reach the site by public transportation, weatherproof bicycle racks near the company entrance, awareness-raising initiatives and financial incentives. In return, companies benefit from healthier employees and their enhanced attractiveness as employers. In this way companies can make an important contribution to the success of the mobility transition and afford the energy transition at the same time.