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How a European Capital Moved Toward Sustainable Transportation

How did Vienna, Austria, substantially reduce car trips while increasing bicycling and trips taken by public transportation over 25 years? A new paper published in the International Journal of Sustainable Transportation provides answers.
January 16, 2017, 8am PST | Irvin Dawid
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Martyn Jandula

"Vienna's Path to Sustainable Transport" examines the politics of implementing sustainable transport policies in Vienna over a 25-year period from 1993 to 2014, leading to a reduction in the car mode share of daily trips from 40 percent to 27 percent while doubling cycling mode share and increasing transit mode share from 29 percent to 39 percent. 

"The key to Vienna’s success has been a coordinated package of mutually reinforcing transport and land-use policies that have made car use slower, less convenient, and more costly, while improving conditions for walking, cycling, and public transport," notes the abstract. 

Two strategies in particular deserve credit, according to researchers Ralph Buehler, professor of Urban Affairs, Virginia Tech; John Pucher, professor emeritus of Urban Planning, Rutgers University, and Alan Altshuler, professor emeritus of Urban Policy and Planning, the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University:

  • Expansion of the U-Bahn or metro, a young system opening in 1978, two years after D.C.'s now-troubled Metro.
  • Parking management

On a political level, the abstract notes two additional factors:

  • "The continuity of social democratic governments in Vienna since 1945 has provided a crucial political basis for long-term implementation. 
  • "The Greens have vigorously pushed for accelerating implementation of sustainable transport policies since becoming part of the ruling coalition government in 2010."

Vienna, as well as other Western European cities, have made great progress in moving toward sustainable transportation patterns. This paper provides lessons for other cities to reduce auto-dependence.

Full Story:
Published on Wednesday, January 11, 2017 in International Journal of Sustainable Transportation
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