With the slogan “Fit for future – fit into the future” (brochure in German) the province of Lower Austria is implementing extensive measures for active mobility. One key project in cycle traffic will be high-quality cycle highways. Cycle Competence member Verracon GmbH is an expert adviser to the project. And our member con.sens mobilitätsdesign has developed a regional concept for every-day cycling.
Assessing the potential for cycle highways in Lower Austria
Almost one third of all journeys in Lower Austria are between 2.5km and 10km. This is also true for 23% of all commutes. This means there is large potential for cycling traffic given fast and uninterrupted cycling infrastructure. The e-bike trend and the massive increase in average journeys that could be seen over the last 10 year also support the need for better average-lengths routes. Cycle highways are covering exactly this segment for average as well as longer routes with high potential.
As the highest ranking, high-quality cycling infrastructure with particular building standards cycle highways render cycling particularly attractive on the routes with the most potential in all the major regions. As a core element for future every-day mobility they will be the figurehead of the Lower Austrian cycling infrastructure. 200Km cycle highways are set to be created by 2030. For a prioritised implementation of cycle highways a separate funding system with increased funding rates will be created.
Cycle Competence member Verracon created a model to show the potential for cycle highways. It identifies suitable areas and route corridors according to different indicators for every-day cycling and considering distances as well as topography. In selected pilot regions criteria for determination and quality standards for creating cycle highways will be developed and applied in pilot projects. All of this adhere to the future cycle traffic regulations RVS as well as internationals best practice.
The new funding focus with a 50% subsidy for cycling highways granted by the BMK/ klimaaktiv mobil, as we report here, can be seen as an additional push for this high-ranking cycling infrastructure
Regional cycling routes for Mobility.Lab Lower Austria
A mobility plan as alternative to car dependency in rural areas is in the making: The province of Lower Austria has started an innovative mobility project in the Weinviertel in the area between Wolkersdorf and Gänserndorf as well as Bad Pirawarth. In the “Mobility.Lab Niederösterreich” which comprises 11 municipalities planners, local authority representatives and interested citizens have come up with alternative offerings to private car ownership – all headed by the province of Lower Austria. The Mobility.Lab includes a new regional bus plan, e-car sharing, bike parking boxes as well as a new plan for every-day cycling.
All these new offerings are presented under the brand “Lisa”, to increase visibility for citizens. Cycle competence member con.sens mobilitätsdesign has developed a regional cycling route plan for every-day cycling. The aim was to seamlessly connect the different town centres and to create cycling routes to the train stations and the new “mobility hubs” with bus stops and e-car sharing.
Representatives of municipalities an interested citizens were actively included in the planning, mainly through joint local assessment rides. This allowed to design a network which will heavily rely on the upgrading of agricultural transport roads mainly away from busy roads to still offer short, direct cycling connections. For the cycling route plan con.sens mobilitätsdesign has compiled a ranking of priorities and a cost estimate including a funding proposal.
Programme “Fit for the future – fit into the future”
Based on international best practice examples and findings from an expert forum on mobility (“Expertenforum Mobilität”) Lower Austria has developed a comprehensive package of measures (brochure in German) to create a safe and attractive environment for cyclists and pedestrians. With its initiative “RADLand Niederösterreich” the province of Lower Austria is also sponsoring member of Cycle Competence.
In the new concept flexibility and speed are identified as major strengths of cycling. Additionally cycling is getting a higher Prestige and a high-quality bike is more and more often seen as a status symbol. The construction of safe, separated and high-quality infrastructure for cyclists as well as pedestrians would be considerable incentives for switching to active mobility. Traffic calming measures are also contributing to increase safety.