Urban Culture,  Urban Infrastructure

An ox remains an ox…

…even if driven to Vienna. This Hungarian proverb suggests that the rural ox, driven to crowned-by-urban-myths-Vienna, is just an ox in the end, even if the Viennese would like it differently. There is no arguing about that but change a tiny preposition, the proverb goes “An ox remains an ox even if driven through Vienna”, and you would suddenly be wrong!

Vienna took a huge leap towards an urban transportation system, which is inclusive throughout income groups, sustainable, and smart. The city is addressing one of the hugest problems modern metropolises face these days: car-congested streets, making our urban habitat less liveable than ever and housing shortage due to practically no open building sites. The trick to improvement is as simple as they come: financial incentives. Where cities like Munich have to fight (and I mean almost bullfight-kind-of-fights) for cheaper tickets for its financially already battered students, Vienna goes and sets the price for an annual ticket at 365€. Yes, 1€ per day. Yes, for the whole traffic network. This is why the car is now no longer the preferred means of transport in Marie Antoinette’s place of birth but has been replaced by public transport.

A daily 2.6 million passengers agree with the system on its advantages, thereby breaking the mark of over 1 Billion travellers per year. This is huge. And not just in regards of the sheer number but concerning the impact of improved public transportation. The beauty in mobility lies in it not being bound to a single sphere of influence or concept. It is to such an extent versatile and permeates every area of our life, that its effects are apparent in our daily routine. Improvements in mobility can be made accountable for improvements in housing, quality of life and smarter urban structures.

So let’s look at where we started and take the audacity to alter the Hungarian proverb once again: An ox remains an ox when not driving like in Vienna.

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