8th IRE Expert Conference “Mobility in Smart Regions”:
Daily traffic jams in the morning and in the evening, rapidly increasing demand for parking spaces and missing or incorrect public transport services burden everyday urban life. In addition, this results in serious, almost unsolvable environmental problems. However, not only large metropolises, but increasingly also regional central cities and their surrounding areas are confronted with these issues. This also applies to the state capital of Salzburg, the surrounding districts and the adjacent Bavarian areas.
The Smart Region approach seeks to provide solutions by promoting functional networking of cities with their surrounding area. On 20 February 2019 international experts discussed with entrepreneurs and politicians from Salzburg at the 8th Expert Conference of the Institute of the Regions of Europe in Hallwang near Salzburg. The conference focused on “Mobility in Smart Regions” and presented concrete examples from other regions for environmentally friendly, innovative and safe transport systems as well as contemporary mobility management so that meaningful and effective measures for the specific area of Salzburg can be derived.
Numerous decision-makers from politics and business discussed at the podium (from left to right: Oliver Schmerold [ÖAMTC], Martin Pečar [OmniOpti], Peter Haider [SIR], Helmut Schreiner [Zillertaler Verkehrsbetriebe])
Transport is a central issue for every metropolitan area. Smart Regions go beyond the city limits and enable smaller villages to implement smart city solutions. There are already several successful examples throughout Europe. Some particularly interesting ones, such as Stuttgart, Zurich, Bolzano or Basel were presented at this conference.
State Councilor Stefan Schnöll pointed out the concrete traffic problems in Salzburg: “The basic problem of Salzburg consists in the long distances and limited alternative routes that result from the Salzach and the city hills. The many commuters from the surrounding area of Salzburg, of whom 80 percent go by car, then quickly block the roads.” Therefore, public transport must be made more attractive. However, possible solutions, such as cheaper fares and means of transport, which go in the direction that people need, can only be realized if the city and the Land Salzburg work together.
Here, the responsible politicians are now in agreement, confirmed the Mayor of Salzburg Harald Preuner: “The problem can only be tackled if we bring all individual steps together.” “Isolated individual measures without overall concept and prohibitions without attractive alternative offers not only solve the problems, but relocate at best or even exacerbate the situation, “added Franz Schausberger, Member of the Board of the Institute of European Regions: “Less private transport can only be achieved by expanding public transport services “.
Traffic experts from Stuttgart, Dresden and Zurich present their findings together with state councillor Schnöll, head of the institute Schausberger and SVV CEO Frommer (from left to right: Ralf Maier-Geisser, Kerstin Burggraf, Stefan Schnöll, Franz Schausberger, Allegra Frommer, Pascal Lippmann)
This was also confirmed by Deputy Mayor Martin Wex from Schwaz in Tyrol. In the Tyrolean Inn Valley the situation is similar, with the mountains, the industry and the commuter traffic. There the traffic problems could be improved only by a better and more comfortable public traffic offer and by an increase of the accessibility of the public means of transport. Prohibitions did not help. This is due to individual comfort and morality. It was the digital networking of public and individual mobility that opened up solutions. Today, people use more carpools and switch between different means of transport.
This shows that the policy of Salzburg is on the right track. Together, the city and the state take concrete steps in a joint traffic planning: Starting with a commuter flow analysis, for example, all city and regional bus lines are to be redesigned and optimally coordinated with one another and with the needs of the citizens. The examples from other European cities also confirm the potential for success of the “think smart mobility in a regional way” concept.
120 participants discussed the future of mobility in the digital age on 20 February
Four core ideas proved to be essential at the conference:
Successful traffic planning must not stop at the urban borders, it must involve the surrounding communities and – if necessary – also cross state borders.
- Use rail transport
However, this is only possible if a lot of people are transported from the countryside to the city and out in a short time – enabled thanks to high-performance train networks from the region to the city center.
- Comfort & simplicity
The car only stays at home if public transport is more convenient and easier to use. For this cheap, fast and change-free connections from the front door directly to the destination are necessary.
- Networking & digitization
Modern traffic management uses digitization to collect traffic data in real time, gather it in a central office and steer traffic optimally. The data is also made available to all public and private road users.