Market Intelligence
Information and Communication Technology Austria

Austria Smart Mobility

Technological progress, the decarbonization of the transport system, urbanization, an influential younger generation, and the global COVID-19 pandemic, are driving increased Austrian requirements for smart mobility and transport systems of the future. These trends offer significant export and collaboration opportunities for innovative U.S. companies in the areas of clean mobility, increasing connectivity, the spread of automation, and the shared use of transportation.

The current outlook for mobility solutions is strong on the medium-term as accelerating digital transformation is increasing demand for shared and connected mobility services. However, the COVID-19 pandemic with social distancing and telework regulations has dampened short-term demand for mobility solutions. Post-pandemic mobility in Austria is expected to be more environmentally friendly, more convenient, faster and cheaper, mainly driven by four trends:

1. Clean Mobility

The greatest changes in the Austrian mobility sector can be expected in the areas of energy and the environment. Driven by the Austrian Climate Change Act (enacted in 2011) and supported by the Green party that joined the governing coalition in 2019, CO2 emissions in the transport sector are mandated to be drastically reduced by 2030 with Austria’s transport system to become CO2-neutral by 2050. These ambitious plans will require a comprehensive reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, supported by a strong focus on e-Mobility.

To encourage electric vehicle purchases, during 2021, the Austrian government is subsidizing individual consumers ($6,000 per vehicle) and businesses ($4,800 per vehicle) and has already invested in electric charging infrastructure nationwide. While petrol-driven vehicles are still the most popular choice, electric vehicles are catching up. According to the government`s mobility agency Austria Tech, the number of new electric and plug-in hybrid passenger car registrations grew significantly from a 3.5% market share in 2019 to 9.5% in 2020. Furthermore, the number of charging points has doubled in the last 2 years to reach 8,395 locations as of the end of 2020.

Austrian automotive component manufacturers heavily focus on emission-optimized and energy-efficient solutions, typically in close collaboration with their OEM clients. Examples include the further development of conventional combustion engines, lighter vehicle construction, the development of new drive and assistance systems. These developments offer great opportunities around eco-drive trains and eco-materials as well as smart manufacturing.

2. Shared Mobility

According to a 2018 survey by the VCÖ (a public-benefit organization specializing in mobility and transport), around 900,000 Austrian households were completely car-free, 1.2 million people rarely drove, and more than 100,000 used car-sharing services. The study projected that one shared car has the potential to replace between 4 and 16 private cars in the future.

Shared mobility is particularly popular in Austria`s capital Vienna where a growing number of young people in the city do not want to own a car due to high cost or lack of necessity, and instead prefer sharing concepts in combination with public transport. In 2019 the two leading providers in Vienna, Daimler`s car2go and BMW`s DriveNow; merged their services to form the new car-sharing company Share Now. Together they offer customers a pool of 1,500 BMW, Mercedes, MINI and Smart cars.

The pandemic slowed demand for ride sharing and public transport in Austria with users opting instead for individual mobility with social distance. Providers promote frequent disinfection and vinyl separators in vehicles to win back consumers. In the future, the line between traditional car sales and leasing or alternative ownership with rental, subscription, sharing, and hailing continues to blur.

3. Connected Mobility

Austrian industry and start-ups are active in the Connected Mobility space propelled in part by the country’s advanced digital infrastructure combined with high levels of innovation.

Apps and platforms that allow the combination of different offerings in the sense of multimodal mobility or “Mobility as a Service” (MaaS) are widely used in Austria. Connected Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) industry leaders in Austria such as Kapsch Traffic are active worldwide including in the U.S.

Digital advancement is a priority of the Austrian government across the economy. In Vienna, as part of the country’s Open Government Data (OGD) initiative, the city government makes numerous data sets and web services available to the public, which also can be accessed by U.S. solutions providers. In the field of mobility, examples include the locations of bus stops, speed 30 zones and the route planning service of Wiener Linien.

4. Autonomous Mobility

Autonomous driving will increasingly play a vital role in Austria`s mobility future. The Federal Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology (BMK) is investing around $80 million between 2019-22 in an “Automated Mobility Action Package”. This government’s program aims to further strengthen the country`s role as a leading location for research, development and production in the following areas:

  • close government cooperation with the automotive industry and transport companies in the development of a legal framework for autonomous mobility
  • safer testing and the creation of versatile test tracks
  • strong funding of research projects
  • public promotion of autonomous technology

Most Austrian vehicles are currently classified as Level 0 or Level 1 (max. = Level 5) of autonomous driving. According to a recent study by PWC, the first vehicles classified at least as Level 4 could come onto the market in 2022 and reach 17% of EU market share by 2035. Most fully automated cars are anticipated to be used by car sharing providers. Several major Austrian automotive companies are heavily involved in advance R&D and prototyping of drive trains for autonomous vehicles manufacturers, often working in close collaboration with Austrian universities.

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