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.
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.