Various challenges for transport planning are to be expected for the next decades. Urban areas around the world show significant growth. Financial and natural resources are getting scarcer. Especially European societies are ageing and shrinking with great spatial differences between urban and rural areas. Transport supply gets more diverse and better connected thanks to dynamic ICT technologies. Transport demand is shaped less and less by regular working trips; the share of multimodal transport for passenger and goods increases. Number and severity of accidents need still to be improved using all available options from traditional planning to modern ICT solutions.
We work on developing innovative solutions for managing those challenges focussing on urban areas and on the active means of transport walking and cycling. Integrating the developed solutions into the whole transport system is a core task throughout our projects.
Within active2work the project team examines the feasibility of reorganizing current working time arrangements on the basis of an overall consideration of working- and travel-time. The objectives are the (1) revaluation of active, financially viable, healthy, sustainable forms of mobility as well as the (2) deceleration of travelling to / from work as essential contributions to a change of mobility patterns and decarbonization.
One of the most important reasons for using motorized individual modes of transport instead of active modes (possibly in combination with public transport) is the ‘lack of time’ in everyday life. The central idea of active2work is that the sum of working- and travellingtime (for trips to and from work) should be approximately the same in all modes of transport in order to facilitate equivalent opportunities for all modes of transport and to enhance active modes. A deceleration of everyday mobility ('sufficient mobility' with a larger share of walking and cycling paths instead of motorized individual transport) is not intended to be a burden on workers' leisure time in order to achieve the central objectives of the mobility turnaround and decarbonization in transport. Such a paradigm shift is expected to improve the acceptance and utilization of active modes of transport substantially and sustainably.
In active2work the project team will draft a 'new deal' between employers and employees and check its feasibility. This agreement provides for a reduction of working time by the additional time for mobility to be applied or, depending on the working time model, alternative compensation options (additional leave, time equalization, etc.). Thus it represents an enabler for 'multimodal lifestyle' (actual freedom of choice). In practice that means
(1) examining the necessary framework conditions and structures for the introduction of the active2work concept
(2) creating the basis for an innovative mobility- and operational approach for a future R&D-innovation-project
(3) to make the foreseeable surplus value for enterprises and the national economy measurable using different development scenarios (economic cost-benefit-analysis on the level of companies and society in which, among other things, health effects, motivation and performance of the employees, reduction of greenhouse gases are considered) and thus creating the prerequisites for a pilot operation.
In order to validate the results, a stakeholder-specific assessment of the active2work concept (consideration of mindsets and acceptance), the presented surplus value and a stakeholder-compatible representation of possible rebound effects are intended to achieve. As a contribution to the ambitious climate targets, the active2work concept is followed by a disruptive approach in a holistic view of working environments and life-plans.
The decline in physical activity (PA) has become a serious problem for children and adolescents. Already 24% of the 7-14-year-old children in Austria are classified as being overweight or obese and suffer from other disorders associated. Promoting PA prevents health problems and is one of the most important prerequisites for a positive development in childhood. Active mobility (AM) on trips from and to kindergartens and schools has high potential to integrate PA in daily routines. Promoting AM is one major objective of the sustainable urban mobility plan (SUMP) of Vienna.
To increase the share of AM of children, various initiatives are offered by a broad range of actors in Vienna. They are aiming at educating children in how to behave in the transport system, improving their travel safety, and strengthening their skills in using different modes of transport in an autonomous way. These offers are mostly not inter-connected, have no higher level of coordination and are not standardized and evaluated in terms of impacts on behaviour change towards sustainable mobility patterns.
The project “AKTIV-GESUND zu Kindergarten and Schulen” wants to integrate the existing initiatives and actors into a coordinated program which facilitates access and ensures optimum use of resources. The program brings mobility training easily into schools and kindergartens and helps the institutions (demand side) to identify the most suitable offers which helps children to foster their independent mobility. This should guarantee that all children in Vienna, regardless of their social background or physical condition, have the same opportunities to benefit of this program.
The project is funded by the “Fonds Gesundes Österreich” and the Mobility Agency of Vienna.
At specific points in live, so called live changing moments, people often change their mobility patterns and a shift from sustainable transport modes to motorized individual transport occurs. Whereas data from Austria is only rarely available, data from Germany shows that especially walking and cycling trips decrease when children live in a household. The concern about children`s safety or the uncertainty about comfort makes active mobility unattractive. Additional barriers are trip lengths and the number of extra trips (e.g. consulting a doctor, leisure trips) which are necessary with children. The reason that family mobility is often associated with a car is that people do not have enough information on the benefits and possibilities of active mobility.
While the number of available active mobility measures is already increasing in cities, rural areas seems to be relatively unaffected by this development. To counter this development, the R&D project ANFANG aims to promote walking, cycling and the use of public transport as part of families’ everyday life in rural areas. For this purpose, a concept on meta-level to promote sustainable mobility for families, will be developed within the ANFANG project which will be tested in representative communities in Austria. Data will be collected by interviews with parents-to-be and families and by workshops with providers of mobility services, local politicians and decision-makers. The concept compromises various measures revealing: (I) wishes, barriers, potentials and constraints to promote sustainable family mobility, (ii) potentials and barriers of multimodal transport, (iii) available products for sustainable family mobility, and (iv) solution approaches to promote active mobility for families in communities. The ANFANG-concept will be available for a wide range of stakeholders (such as municipalities or local companies) for further exploitation. In order to achieve a more sustainable mobility development it is very important to promote active mobility measures. In addition to the positive effect on public health, the promotion of active mobility is a major contributor to achieve the overarching goal of the UN-Convention in Paris to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to limit global warming.
Based on the results of a previous project, done by the Institute for Transport Studies, BOKU, commissioned by FGÖ by the end of 2017, additional research will be done to accomplish the selection of good practice examples for active mobility (walking and cycling) interventions in schools, companies and municipalities. The aim is to find out criteria and factors of success for measures, which could be implemented easily in the three settings to promote active mobility for the reason of health improvement through additional physical activity. The findings will be provided to the contractee, who will compile brochures with recommendations for action tailored for the three target groups.
The project „Was geht ab?“ [what's up?] explores the transport system within the urban areas surrounding schools from the perspective of an environmentally friendly, active and safe mobility. Multiple-method activities and campaigns are conducted for this sustainable mobility of students, parents and teachers. The students are sensitized for their own requirements and of mobility impaired person groups to promote an "inclusive mobility". They learn to understand "mobility" in the context of environment, health and technology. A central result of the project is a digital, interactive map to visualize spatial information.
European cities are facing challenging times and some major policy dilemmas. Encouraging economic growth is seen as the key driver to achieving a wide range of policy objectives, such as raising living standards and improving the well-being of citizens; but historically this has led to a growth in car ownership and use, and consequential increases in urban road traffic levels. These increases, in turn, are associated with a range of negative economic, social and environmental impacts, including traffic congestion, traffic accidents, social exclusion and community severance, dangerous levels of air and noise pollution, and rising CO2 emissions. Congestion costs are estimated at around 100bn euros per annum across the EU, and are projected to grow 50% by 2050. Recently, however, some economically advanced European cities appear to have been successful in decoupling economic growth from traffic growth – and in the process have been able to offer urban living environments that are cleaner and less congested, while maintaining increases in living standards. Cities such as London are experiencing growth in population and rising incomes, while at the same time observing reductions in car ownership and car use – the so-called ‘peak car’ effect. Such cities are succeeding in reducing traffic dominance and are becoming very attractive places for both residents and visitors, and are rated very highly in international satisfaction surveys.
But why have some cities been able to achieve this turnaround while others have not, and what lessons can be drawn for other parts of Europe? To answer this fundamental question, CREATE has brought together a team of internationally leading experts with a variety of specialist skills and experiences. This includes a group of five European capital cities (Berlin, Copenhagen, London, Paris, Vienna), and their surrounding regions, each of which has managed to reduce the car driver modal shares of trips in recent decades. Working with leading analysts, and a major provider of real-time traffic data in many European and North American cities, derived from GPS tracking of motor vehicles, the project will explore changing patterns of road traffic and car use, success factors behind the observed decreasing modal shares of car traffic (e.g. technical, political, economic and social) and lessons learnt. It will work with a group of five city partners in Eastern Europe and the Euro-Med countries (Adana, Amman, Bucharest, Skopje and Tallinn) which are still grappling with rapid increases in car ownership and use and growing traffic congestion, and then disseminate and exploit these findings more widely through a major European city network.
Tourism is one of the most important sectors of the Austrian economy; it accounted to 5.3% of the Austrian GDP in 2013. However, given the nature of tourism, this sector is highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Due to changing temperatures and precipitation levels, changes in the demand and supply of tourism offers can be expected. On the demand side, travel behaviour and destination choice are likely to be affected by warming temperatures, changes in weather patterns and even extreme weather events. Especially in cities, where abundant sealed and reflective surfaces create higher temperatures than elsewhere, an expected increase in the number of heat days is likely to enhance the demand among city inhabitants for short-trips into the surrounding, rural areas that are traditionally known as “SOMMERFRISCHE” (“Summer retreat”) areas. These are areas that are characterized by their location in close distance around heat-affected agglomerations while still displaying significantly lower temperature levels due to their position in higher altitudes. On the supply side, some of these formerly well-visited ski regions are facing challenges due to a de-creasing reliability of snow conditions, while there are new opportunities arising in summer due to the new potential of these “Sommerfrische” regions as described above.
Althought tourism is of high importance for Austrian economy and strongly affected by climate change impacts, tourism research in relation to climate change has singularly focused on the winter season so far. Travel behaviour of urban citizens as response to increasing heat days (demand side) and multi-seasonal tourism destination developments as adaptation to climate change impacts (supply side) in the summer season are still under-developed. Against this background, the two main objectives of the REFRESH project are:
- To explore how metropolitan people adapt to the increasing number of heat days and tropical nights within the urban agglomeration and to explain their adaptation intensions with respect to their booking and travel behavior towards “Sommerfrische” destinations in the nearby mountainous regions.
- To evaluate if nearby mountainous regions can benefit from the metropolitan people’s travel behaviour and how they can respond on this demand and develop a sustainable multi-seasonal tourism portfolio considering the climate change adaptation and mitigation goals.
Autonomous vehicle (AV) trials are currently taking place worldwide and Europe has a key role in the development of relevant technology. Yet, very limited research exists regarding the wider implications of the deployment of such vehicles on existing road infrastructure, since it is unclear if and when the transition period will start and conclude.
It is anticipated that improved accessibility and road safety will constitute the primary benefits of the widespread use of AVs, whilst co-benefits may also include reduced energy consumption, improved air quality or better use of urban space. Therefore, the focus of this COST Action is on observed and anticipated future mobility trends and implications on travel behaviour, namely car sharing, travel time use or residential location choice to name a few. Other important issues to be explored under different deployment scenarios are social, ethical, institutional and business impacts.
To achieve this, it is essential to culminate co-operation between a wide range of stakeholders at a local, national and international level, including academics and practitioners. Consequently, this COST Action will facilitate collaboration within Europe and beyond about this emerging topic of global interest.