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  • Taster tickets and job bikes star in the Alps

    A project with innovative ideas designed to get cross-border commuters to switch from cars to cycling and public transport has won T&E member VCÖ’s mobility award in Austria.

    The ‘Alpstar’ project is an initiative in an area known as the Alpine Rhine Valley, which groups the Austrian region of Vorarlberg, the Swiss canton of St Gallen and the grand duchy of Liechtenstein. It was overall winner of the VCÖ mobility award for Austria’s most environmentally imaginative transport projects.
    Thanks to an initiative by the Vorarlberg Energie institute and the Cipra International NGO, various measures were put in place in the Alpine Rhine Valley to make it easier for people to get to work by more environmentally friendly means.
    Measures ranged from the creative to the tried-and-tested. Among the creative ideas were cyclists’ breakfasts, company bicycles to bridge the gap between work places and the nearest stations, and differentiated pricing for parking depending on whether or not you have good public transport alternatives. More established ideas included offering new employees free two-week taster tickets for public transport, more covered cycle parking, and real-time bus timetable display boards.
    There are shortvideos on YouTube to make commuters aware of the offers that might be available to them.
    VCÖ policy officer and former T&E president Ulla Rasmussen said: ‘We need inspirational projects like this to encourage the transition from car dependency to multimodal mobility in non-urban regions. What started out as a project turned into a process, which makes it much more likely to be truly sustainable.
    ‘It does not involve one new expensive technological fix but a variety of smaller solutions based on analyses of the commuters’ behaviour and their wishes. And it crossed borders in quite a few ways: between countries, between public authorities and companies, and between people seeing themselves as car drivers and people with other modal preferences.’
    The VCÖ mobility award is now in its 22nd year, and is aimed at showing that good ideas are not just theoretical but can be turned into good practice. A total of 293 projects were entered for this year’s competition.