Mobility and Transport: an Overview

The transport system and its capacity and efficiency face increasingly complex and demanding challenges from social, economic and technological developments. New technologies and innovations can make a substantial contribution to the design of intelligent future-oriented mobility. They are important prerequisites for managing major societal challenges such as climate change, scarcity of resources and demographic change – thus opening up new business opportunities for transport, which is one of Austria’s most important economic sectors.

Transport as an Economic Factor

With an added value of 630 billion euro and 12 million employees (as of 2005), the transport sector and its associated industries are an important factor both at European and national level.

In the last few years, Austria has developed into a key business location for the automotive industry and particularly for the automotive supply industry. The value of exports generated by this sector exceeds that of imports of finished vehicles. According to estimates, up to 370,000 people are employed in the Austrian automotive industry, including second-tier suppliers and upstream and downstream sectors. In Austria, some 700 companies are active in the automotive supply sector alone. Another sector that has also experienced dynamic development over the last few years is the aeronautics industry. A study conducted in 2009 identified a total of 241 companies with more than 8,600 employees active in the aeronautics and aeronautics supply industries in Austria.

Research and Development

Research ratios (share of research spending compared to total turnover) of more than ten per cent make the automotive and aeronautics industries the most innovative sectors by far. The transport sector thus also plays an accordingly important role in research and research funding. In 2007, a total of 4,301 FTEs (full-time equivalents) were employed in research and development (R&D) in the transport sector, which corresponds to 12 % of all R&D employees in Austria. Automotive engineering alone accounts for 8% of R&D employees, illustrating the high level of research intensity in this industry. Austrian transport sector companies, institutions and organisations are active across a wide range of thematic areas including transport systems, infrastructure planning, traffic control, traffic management, telematics and navigation as well as construction of transport routes, road maintenance and a large range of technical developments for the vehicle, railway, aerospace and shipbuilding industries. Alternative drive systems in particular have gained increasing significance over the last few years. Transport is furthermore an important driver for technological development in the fields of mechatronics, sensor technology, information and communication systems (such as embedded systems) and, of course, materials science (metals, plastics, nanotechnology, etc.). Mobility is thus a priority technology field. Based on an integrated approach encompassing infrastructure – vehicles – users, innovative solutions are developed in the fields of alternative propulsion systems and fuels, traffic telematics, smart infrastructure and in the areas of barrier-free and socially affordable mobility as well as in the environmentally-friendly and efficient transport of goods.

Sources: Statistics Austria; Federal Environmental Agency; “Mobilität neu erleben” (Redefining Mobility), Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology.