Urban Node


Country: Austria Population: 1.8 million
Vienna’s population grows fast. Every year the city grows by up to 40,000 inhabitants. In 2030, the city will most likely inhabit 2 million citizens, one additional million will live in the surrounding metropolitan region.

The new central railway station cleared large areas of former railway grounds at Nordbahnhof and Westbahnhof. The high housing pressure suggests residential buildings on all available grounds. But during the VitalNodes workshops, experts recommended that “Vienna should reinvent itself as an industrial city”, so not only build residential houses, particularly close to noisy infrastructure. They suggest to stimulate integrated mobility management and first and last mile initiatives at a regional scale, in Vienna’s suburbs. This will become a real challenge – also keeping in mind the trend of companies moving out of the city.


As other cities, Vienna faces challenges to govern city-oriented consolidation centres, such as

  • Enforcing the transformation towards multi-company hubs
  • Structural challenges such setting-up polycentric or central consolidation centres
  • Lack of information on the current situation, particularly regarding traffic flows
  • Underused capacity of the Danube river

In January, Vital Nodes held its second urban node workshop in Vienna. The workshop was the first in a row of urban node workshops that will be organized throughout several European urban nodes in the coming two years.  Fifteen Viennese stakeholders participated in the workshop which took into account (different modes of) infrastructure, mobility and spatial developments as well as its local, regional and (inter)national context.

Goal of the workshop was to discuss the challenges and needs for infrastructure and spatial development and potential related funding at European Union level. The workshop results will be input for future transport and infrastructure investments funding strategies. The workshop identified challenges, such as the lack of logistics oriented development, lack of coordinated spatial planning at functional area level and robustness and vulnerability of the network. It looked at good practices which included the local SUMP SETP 2025, the strategy on commercial spaces Produktive Stadt, and the Wien Süd joint multimodal cargo terminal. They can be found in the short version of the workshop report.

Lessons learned

Interrelation between infrastructure/mobility management and spatial planning

One of the conclusions drawn by the participants is the lack of attention to the interrelation between spatial/land use planning and infrastructure/mobility planning on all scale levels, e.g. last mile delivery hubs the location of consolidation centres which directly impact movements in and out the city.

Awareness of the urban node function

There was little awareness of the role of Vienna in the TEN-T network. Within the strategic planning department of Vienna the focus is making local aspects function well. Therewith there is no awareness of the necessity to provide capacity for long distance freight transport. However European freight transport flows passing by Vienna from east to west and vice versa might be obstructed if the network surrounding Vienna has not got the capacity needed.

Interconnection between infrastructure networks

In and around urban nodes the same infrastructure (e.g. railway line) might be used for both local, regional and transnational transport and by both passenger and freight transport. If volumes rise on any of these, they might lead to bottlenecks for all.

Need for cooperation at the functional urban area

The region of Vienna is more directly impacted by the urban node function than the city itself. Through better metropolitan governance negative (environmental) effects might be mitigated and opportunities better exploited. In the case of Vienna the functional urban area, might even cross the border to include Bratislava.

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