Vienna undergoes a transportation re-vamp

posted on October 22, 2012

After forty years, the Viennese will now be guided through Vienna’s public transportation system by a new voice, that of actress Angela Schneider.[1] But this is only one, and definitely the most inconsequential, of many changes coming to Vienna’s public transportation system. Some urban centers are trying a one-size-fits all approach to deal with overcrowding, traffic jams, and pollution; Vienna, however, is taking an all-of-the-above approach. While New York City is only experimenting with replacing car lanes with pedestrian zones[2] and Singapore continues to tweak its tariff system,[3] Vienna is combining bus, tram, subway, and train improvements with updated pedestrian zones to tackle overcrowding, traffic jams, and pollution.

The transportation landscape in Vienna

Vienna is a thriving metropolitan city with beautiful and historic buildings. However, this leaves very little room for cars. “Vienna Lines” hope to diminish car use in the city by extending several vital underground lines as well as increasing tram service. By 2013 they hope to create a new tramline to connect three of the busiest underground lines thereby increasing business mobility within the city.[4] Similarly, Vienna recently undertook a modernization project for one of its oldest and most used underground lines. Because of the relative success of quicker and more comfortable rides for citizens, now, a similar modernization is in the works for another troublesome line. Vienna also hopes to introduce “ElectriCity Buses” in the two main downtown bus lines, and to rejuvenate the center-city pedestrian zone. Larger paving stones will replace broken walkways for a more comfortable walking surface that will require less maintenance. Modern benches and lighting as well as more trees will make the entire area more attractive for pedestrians and the local businesses.

A modern train station for a modern city

Vienna’s new main train station plans to improve city, domestic, and international business mobility. The old Südbahnhof (South Train Station) will be replaced with a new “thoroughfare” main train station. The new station will provide a vital intersection for north-south and east-west domestic as well as international rail systems. The new covered platforms will also continue to provide a direct connection to eleven suburban train lines as well as an underground line and several bus lines for easier business mobility.[5] The building of the new station has provided an opportunity to create a new and dynamic neighborhood. The entire project is being hailed by newspapers and magazines as “the project of the century” and includes an ambitious residential and business plan. The station will be surrounded by 5,000 new apartments, 550,000 sq. meters of office space, an eight hector park, and several schools and kindergartens. The new city neighborhood will be connected through a dense network of bike and pedestrian paths. The entire project is on schedule to be finished in 2015 and shows Vienna’s holistic approach for a modernized public transport system.[6] The new train station and neighborhood are designed to mutually benefit each other. Vienna’s mayor, Michael Häupl, explains that this “main station is important, not only as a state-of-the-art traffic hub, but also financially and in terms of urban development for the city of Vienna. It promotes Vienna’s role as an interregional center and simultaneously allows the development of an attractive, modern neighborhood.”[7]

Vienna’s transportation system app

And if anyone is overwhelmed by all these extraordinary transportation improvements in Vienna, then he or she can download the app. The new smart phone app can plan a journey no matter what mode of transportation you want to use.[8] With its modern transportation system, neighborhoods, and apps, Vienna is poised to become a central hub for transportation and business mobility in Central Europe. The Alphabet Business Mobility blog will definitely keep an eye on the city’s further developments.

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