Just like many European countries, Austria has defined policy objectives to become climate-neutral. As part of this, the Austrian Mobility Master Plan 2030 strives for a climate-neutral transport sector by 2040.
Now, the Austrian Court of Auditors has praised the sustainable mobility projects on tram line extensions as an important step, but indicates that more activities are needed to achieve the objective.
Between 2016-2021, the Court of Auditors examined various tram line projects in Graz, Innsbruck and Linz. The three cities constructed new tracks to extend services to new development projects, connect to regional public transport and create good quality public transport services to the city’s hinterland. The Court emphasised that forecasts on passenger volumes were surpassed in reality in the cases where the projects were already in service.
The Court recommended the Federal Ministry of Environment to further extend public transport service improvements in the States of Upper Austria, Styria and Tyrol and specifically in their capital cities Linz, Graz and Innsbruck. It put emphasis on using a push and pull approach and not to stop at service improvements, but to address measures that reduce car traffic levels such as lower speed limits, space and time related car bans, congestion charging, encounter zones and pedestrian zones.
The Court also called for more investments in public transport financed by a cooperation of local, regional and national level. Such investments will address extending service coverage as well as the renewal of rolling stock.
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Article published first at ORF.at on 24 March 2023.