Rail-oriented settlement development and accessibility optimisation

The BahnRaum research project deals with the question of how settlement development and railway infrastructure can be better coordinated. The advantages of rail-oriented settlement development are manifold:

  • Settlement areas have a high-quality connection to public transport.
  • The dependence on the car is reduced.
  • Journeys can be made in an environmentally friendly way.
  • Existing railway infrastructure can be better utilised.

The focus of the project is on the planning and coordination processes that are necessary between different project participants (e.g. municipalities, railways, project developers), as well as the strategies, planning instruments and methods used. Experiences and findings from good practice examples are recorded in the project and subsequently applied in practice in two pilot regions. The results will be documented in a practice-oriented, clear and compact planning manual and provide assistance for the coordinated further development of settlement and rail.

Duration: July 2015 - June 2017

Project goal

The rail-bound transport system in Austria largely corresponds to the planning and implementation of the previous century, although the spatial and transport structures have changed considerably in the meantime. Due to the mass motorisation since the 1950s, both the transport offer through the construction of new roads, junctions, car parks, etc. and the simultaneous neglect of rail transport as well as the settlement structures have changed massively. Urban sprawl, low densities (population, jobs, etc.), spatial separation of functions, migration to the periphery, etc. led to car-oriented settlement structures with increasing costs for development, supply and disposal and energy costs as well as negative environmental effects such as accidents, traffic noise, particulate matter, separation effects, etc.

In order to reverse this critical development trend, a rail-oriented settlement development and accessibility optimisation is propagated in the planning discourse, especially from the perspective of regional planning. This planning approach comprises several combinable strategies, such as settlement development in the vicinity of stations, adaptation of the station network, adjustment of the degree of expansion and improvement of transport links.
Nevertheless, coordinated settlement and transport development rarely succeeds for a variety of reasons, as this is a very complex challenge (e.g. lack of interest on the part of owners, weak binding effect of regional planning, complex constellations of actors, lack of funding).

The BahnRaum project pursues the goal of promoting rail-oriented settlement development and accessibility optimisation with a holistic research approach.

BahnRaum addresses the following key questions:

  • What strategies exist for rail-oriented settlement development, rail infrastructure and their transport connections (incl. a catalogue of measures based on the modular principle) and how can these be successfully implemented?
  • How can planning and stakeholder processes be improved?
  • How can the coordination content of settlement-oriented development and accessibility optimisation be anchored in planning instruments?
  • What transport and spatial effects can be achieved through rail-oriented settlement development and accessibility optimisation? How can more rail customers be gained through this?

Using case studies - the pioneers - experiences and findings are also taken from neighbouring countries and examined for their applicability to Austrian conditions. Based on the analyses and methods developed above, pilot regions and pilot projects (2 to 4 regions/projects) will be examined in more detail in consultation with the client. Accompanying this, framework strategies will be developed and discussed for these pilot regions, test plans for pilot projects will be drawn up and evaluated with regard to their traffic effects and the planning process. The findings will be used to create a practice-oriented, clear and compact planning aid that promotes the integrated further development of settlement and rail as the backbone of sustainable development.



Bundesministerium für Verkehr, Innovation und Technologie , opens an external URL in a new window
ÖBB Infrastruktur AG , opens an external URL in a new window

Project team / Contact:
stadtland Dipl.-Ing. Sibylla Zech GmbH (Projektleitung) , opens an external URL in a new window
Dipl.-Ing. Herbert Bork
Phone: +43 (0)1 236 19 12 – 17
Email: herbert.bork(at)stadtland.at

Technische Universität Wien, Department für Raumplanung, Fachbereich für Verkehrssystemplanung
Univ.Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr. Ing. Martin Berger
Phone: +43 (0)1 588 01 – 280 510
Email: martin.kp.berger(at)tuwien.ac.at

Technische Universität Wien, Institute of Transportation, Research Unit of Transport Planning and Traffic Engineering, opens an external URL in a new window
Ao.Univ.Prof. Mag. Dr. Günter Emberger
Phone: +43 (0)1 288 01 – 231 12
Email: guenter.emberger(at)tuwien.ac.at

yverkehrsplanung GmbH , opens an external URL in a new window
Dipl.-Ing. Mag. Mario Platzer
Phone: +43 (0)699 188 707 – 66
Email: mario.platzer(at)yverkehrsplanung.at

Summary in English

Project’s Aim
Rail-based transport system in Austria remains still based on planning and implementation before the previous century, although the urban/regional and transport structures changed largely. Through the mass motorization since the 1950s, the transport infrastructure was largely changed through constructions of new roads and streets, road-network hubs, car parking facilities and so on, while, at the same time, railway transport as well as the settlement structure was largely left behind. Sprawl, low density (population, workplaces etc.), spatial segregation of functionality, relocation into the periphery, etc., worked as a driver towards automobile-adapted urban structures with increasing expenses and efforts for development, maintenance and energy costs, as well as with negative environmental and other impacts such as traffic accidents, noise, particulate matters, separation of communities, etc.

In order to change the course of this critical trend of development, in the planning discourse, especially from the viewpoint of regional planning, a railway-oriented urban and regional development and accessibility optimization is intensively promoted. This planning Approach includes several combinational strategies such as urban development around railway stations, adaptation of railway networks, upgrading the infrastructure and improvement of connections. However, a coordinated urban and transport development seldom works for different reasons, as it faces multifarious challenges such as lack of interest of owners, weak commitment from regional planning, complex structure of stakeholders, lack of financing, etc.

This project BahnRaum aims to strengthen a railway-oriented urban/regional development and optimization of accessibility by applying a holistic approach. BahnRaum’s key Research questions are:

  • Which strategies are potential applicable for a railway-oriented urban/regional development, a railway infrastructure and its connection with other transport Systems (including catalog of measures) and how can they implemented successfully?
  • How can planning- and stakeholder processes be improved?
  • How can we embed coordinated railway-oriented urban/regional developments and optimization of accessibility in planning instruments?
  • Which transport and spatial impacts will be addressed through a railway-oriented urban development and optimization of accessibility? And how can thereby the number of railway customers be increased?

Expertise coming from pilot studies,- called pioneers – and experience and knowledge from neighboring countries will be collected and their applicability for Austrian conditions will be researched. Based on the aforementioned analyses and developed methods, pilot regions and projects (2 to 4 projects/regions) will be researched in detail upon an agreement with the client. Collaterally, for these pilot regions, framework strategies will be prepared and discussed, test planning for pilot project will be made and impacts on transport as well as planning processes will be evaluated.

From the gained knowledge, a practice-oriented, clear and compact planning support tool will be developed for integrated further developments of settlements and railways as a Backbone for sustainable development.