Jul 16, 2021
Suddenly everything was different. In 2020, unexpected barriers crossed our path in almost all areas of our lives. Mobility also changed from one day to the next. Since our employees are working on developments in mobility, we asked them which (personal) opportunities and challenges appeared in the year of crisis for them.
"Home office" was the most discussed topic in 2020. Our employees worked from home for no less than 135 days. Therefore, it is not surprising that most of them also see a mobility opportunity in this area. "A mobility opportunity for me was to experience the potential of home office and collaboration via conferencing and collaboration tools," says Stefan Schwillinsky. Franziska Studer also sees a positive impact here, "I think virtual mobility is an opportunity for mobility. Home office, online shopping and teleconferencing can reduce traffic on roads, railways and in the air. This potential should definitely be looked at." Since events and meetings were also held online, "it was possible to participate in interesting events relevant to my work, which I otherwise would not have attended because a business trip would have been far too time-consuming," Martin Dirnwöber adds. Since the many eliminated trips reduced CO2 emissions by 8% in 2020, Damaris Gruber hopes "that the well-functioning virtual meetings in the European area will continue to save on air travel."
Striking changes were seen in mobility behaviour. The high relevance of people's behavioural modifications in the mobility sector become clear by the statements of our employees." The COVID-break made alternatives tangible, which we will have to work on intensively in the future to counteract a much more dramatic crisis - the climate crisis," emphasises Maximilian Jäger. Laura Popp also sees a positive aspect set by the crisis, "For me, the forced realignment due to the pandemic was a mobility opportunity. In less than a year, we've learned that a lot of air travel can be avoided." Lena Zeisel argues her positive view of the pandemic-related change in mobility behaviour by showing "that old patterns can be broken and the increased attractiveness of cycling and walking is not only good for health but also for the environment." Michaela Enzenhofer also sees an opportunity in breaking up habitual patterns of behaviour. For her personally, it meant "being able to avoid daily journeys to reduce unnecessary traffic."
Active and green mobility is an important topic, especially among the younger population. To put it in the words of our Managing Director Martin Russ: "Crises make people mobile, change their view and enable them to become active together." Our employees also attach great importance to this. "I saw an opportunity for mobility in active mobility. Since the pandemic has shown how important our health is, we can contribute to our health and to a sustainable mobility system with active mobility," Natasa Hodzic-Srndic brings the relevance of health in the crisis year into play. Thanks to active mobility, Gerhard Gruber was able to, „explore his neighborhood and discovered many beautiful corners." Since many long journeys were no longer necessary due to the crisis and people had more time available, Jovana Kremenovic also sees the strength in the growth of active forms of mobility.
However, as in other areas too, there are not only positive sides to look at. Our employees were confronted with crisis-related obstacles, both personally and professionally. "A mobility challenge for me was the reorganisation of mobility research in phases of lockdown,“ says Nora Spiegel. "The topic of sharing mobility also had to be pushed forward – despite limited mobility and the lockdown," as Gerhard Gruber reports. "Finding my way around city traffic on my bycycle after years of abstinence was a challange for me at first," Michael Zangl admitted honestly.
If you want a change in the system, you have to engage in the activity yourself. The employees of AustriaTech face the challenges every day in order to make mobility even more sustainable. In 2020 in particular, new approaches were needed to drive innovation.
"For me, helping to shape mobility means mediating at the interface of mobility services and individual mobility needs," explains Nora Spiegel. As a father of two children, Mathias Mitteregger places particular importance on paving a sustainable path for the future generation: "For me, helping to shape mobility means taking responsibility for future generations." Julia Düh experienced a great task in 2020: She was allowed to work on the Mobility Master Plan 2030, to help shape and drive the mobility turnaround. For Tamara Vlk, it meant "creating framework conditions so that users have a wide variety of offers for their individual needs."
To sum it up in the words of Alexander Gstundner: "For me, mobility is a fundamental right and simply part of daily life.“
Read more about the crisis year 2020 at AustriaTech in our annual report.