|GP/OP: OECD Project «Environmentally Sustainable Transport» (EST) – Case Study Environmentally Sustainable Transport for Austria|
As a contribution to sustainable development the OECD pursues the goal of applying a new strategic, target-oriented approach to reduce the environmental impacts of transport and to achieve an environmentally sustainable transport system. Corresponding to the three pillars of sustainable development – ecology, economy, social affairs – environmental criteria and these political targets are to be attributed equal importance. For this purpose the international project “Environmentally Sustainable Transport (EST)” was initiated within the framework of the OECD working group Transport and Environment, a project in which numerous OECD countries have participated actively.
The cornerstone of the EST approach is the definition of an environmentally sustainable transport system (EST) on the basis of environment and health quality goals and operative targets derived there from on the one hand, and the development of long-term scenarios and the identification of instruments and strategies allowing achieving the goals set on the other hand. Unlike conventional approaches in transport planning the EST project relies on the so-called backcasting approach: The results are not forecasts but alternative perspectives of a sustainable transport system which are examined with respect to their feasibility and impacts.
Within the framework of the four-phase OECD project, case studies are conducted by nine countries. Based on the results gained from the Alps-related pilot project “Environmentally sustainable transport for the Alpine area” carried out jointly by France, Italy, Austria, and Switzerland (presented and published within the framework of the international colloquium on sustainable transport in the Alps in the 21st century held in Chambery in January 2000), where the area studied in Austria was limited to the Alpine area as defined in the Alpine Convention, the OECD approach EST has in a follow-up study been applied to all Austria (whole federal territory).
The follow-up project for Austria aims at analysing the long-term options for transport development in Austria and at examining strategies and measures necessary to reach the goal of an environmentally sustainable transport based on the OECD’s EST approach in Austria.
Transport trends are not environmentally sustainable
In the business-as-usual scenario (BAU scenario) or trend scenario modelling indicated a 47% increase in the transport volume in passenger traffic for the period between 1998 and 2030. Particularly high growth rates are expected for automobile traffic (+59%) and air traffic (+167%). The freight traffic volume is supposed to rise by 71% between 1998 and 2030, with a 70% growth expected for road freight traffic and a 65% growth for rail traffic. With 59% road, 34% rail, 5% navigation on the Danube, and 2% air traffic in 2030 the modal split would remain about the same as in 1998.
Environmentally sustainable transport is feasible, but means a challenge
In the EST scenario it is tried to combine and gradually introduce traffic-controlling and technological measures in such a way that the environment and health quality goals characterising sustainable transport development can be reached until 2030, while at the same time offering a practicable way which is politically feasible.
To be able to reach the reduction of CO2 emissions necessary to achieve the targets, changes in the automobile and motive power technology or in the design of vehicles towards smaller and lighter cars, a reduction of the traffic demand, the shifting of the traffic to more energy-efficient and resource-saving means of transportation, and a more efficient use of vehicles are required.
Sustainable transport – an attractive perspective for Austria – environmentally, economically and socially sound
The EST project of the OECD makes clear that it is well possible to achieve even ambitious ecological goals for the transport system within a period of about one generation (30 to 40 years). From the economic point of view positive impulses due to the wide scale of new technologies and mobility services, but also improved chances for regional supply systems can be expected.
The case study EST Austria was conducted as Austria’s contribution to the OECD project “Environmentally Sustainable Transport (EST)”. It was prepared at the request of the BMLFUW by an expert team of Trafico Verkehrsplanung, Vienna, Dr. Romain Molitor, the Institute of National Economy (Institut für Volkswirtschaftslehre) of the University of Graz and the Institute for Transport Motor Engines (Institut für Verbrennungskraftmaschinen) of the University of Graz and accompanied by project advisers. The results of the OECD case study have been summarised in a publication of the BMLFUW. The brochure can be ordered from the BMLFUW.