Kapsch TrafficCom – After Corona: Austrians prefer to take their car rather than public transport

Nearly 90 percent of motorists in Austria consider taking an alternative route to avoid traffic jams and congested roads

Nearly 90 percent of motorists in Austria consider taking an alternative route to avoid traffic jams and congested roads. For only about half, using public transport is an option. This was the result of a survey conducted immediately before the outbreak of the Corona pandemic in March. Once Corona restrictions are finally lifted, public transport will likely be even less popular and traffic congestion will become even worse. For the “Kapsch TrafficCom Index” study, a representative sample of 1,000 citizens was surveyed by a market research institute in Austria.

Drivers respond to traffic congestion by considering alternative routes (89 percent), avoiding non-essential travel (88 percent) or checking travel information before leaving (81 percent). In contrast, only 57 percent of all drivers could imagine leaving their car behind and using public transport instead.

“We expect that public transport will be even less popular for getting from A to B after the Corona pandemic”, says Gerd Gröbminger, Vice President Sales Kapsch TrafficCom. “Traffic management will have to deal with this as quickly as possible”.

Number of cars rose by 13.5 percent.

Increasing traffic volumes and road congestion have been long-term developments preceding the Corona pandemic: a key driver has been the rise in the number of registered cars. The number of licensed cars in Austria rose to 5 million vehicles within ten years (2019) – an increase of around 0.6 million cars.

“There are technical solutions available today to ensure smooth traffic flow in times of very high traffic volumes,” says Gerd Gröbminger. “Traffic management is based on several pillars: In addition to more efficient resolutions of how to deal with disruptions, the aim is, for example, linking car-based IT to public traffic guidance systems, controlling traffic lights adaptively or selecting routes collaboratively.”

How to reduce congestion times by a quarter.

As a first option the digital control of traffic lights should be considered. Experience shows that congestion times can be reduced by up to a quarter. The widespread use of SIM cards and vehicle-based GPS also makes it possible to obtain and use real-time traffic data from vehicles. This could significantly improve our understanding of the actual traffic situation on the roads, which in turn could help predict traffic jams. The benefits would be comparable to the introduction of satellites in meteorology, which improved weather forecasting, explains Gerd Gröbminger.

Navigation stops working selfishly.

The exchange of networked vehicle data paves the way for new navigation solutions. Currently route planners and guidance systems still work “selfishly” in that they ignore the responses of other motorists: to avoid traffic jams, the navigation systems suggest the same alternative route to all vehicles. In the future, public traffic control centers should suggest and optimize routes. The public administration’s knowledge of road works, events or particular environmental pollution in certain areas can be taken into account when suggesting new routes to the benefit of the community. This allows demand to be controlled in advance (“predictive demand management”).

Congestion: Austrians prefer to take their car rather than public transport.

About the survey “Kapsch TrafficCom index”.

The Kapsch TrafficCom index was conducted with the support of a professional market research institute. A total of 9,000 representative participants in nine countries were asked their views on their current traffic situation, road congestion and strategies to improve traffic management: USA (N=1,000), Argentina (N=1,000), Chile (N=1,000), UK (N=1,000), Germany (N=1,000), Austria (N=1,000), France (N=1,000), Spain (N=1,000), Australia (N=1,000).