IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Investment in Rail and Road Infrastructure

Listed author(s):
  • Wilfried Puwein


Registered author(s):

    Starting in the 1980s, Austria has intensified its investment in the rail system while at the same reducing investment in its infrastructure of roads. The purpose of this policy is to improve rail's competitive position and encourage a shift from road to rail as the more "environmentally friendly" alternative, such as is envisaged by the Austrian transport policy. Today, the Federal government and quasi-governmental road construction companies invest only half the amounts, in nominal terms, in federal roads of what they spent in the early 1980s. Ever since 1988, investment into the rail infrastructure has been higher than that made in the network of federal roads. The same shift in investment focus can, incidentally, be observed in Germany and Switzerland. Yet the effort has so far had little effect on the transport performance, respectively, achieved by rail and road. The railway continued to lose market shares, and the slightly weaker growth of road traffic, combined with stagnating road construction, boosted the incidence of traffic jams. The development of the network of major roads helped motor vehicles gain an ascendancy over the railways in long-distance transport, fuelling in particular the brisk growth of truck transit traffic. High-capacity roads for urban short-distance traffic similarly favoured the use of cars. Railway construction and improvement projects pursued over the past ten years, on the other hand, are still largely incomplete and thus have so far had little impact on the railway's offer of services. Improving the rail infrastructure is a necessary but by itself inadequate prerequisite for shifting traffic from road to rail. In addition to renewing its technical infrastructure, the railway needs to overhaul its range of services at an organisational level. The European Union hopes that the opening of networks will spawn competition between railway operators which in turn will lead to more efficient services. In line with EU transport policy objectives, road traffic is to bear its own marginal costs (including the costs to the environment and the costs of accidents and congestion) and will thus be made more expensive.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    File Function: Abstract
    Download Restriction: Payment required

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by WIFO in its journal WIFO-Monatsberichte.

    Volume (Year): 72 (1999)
    Issue (Month): 8 (August)
    Pages: 577-587

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:wfo:monber:y:1999:i:8:p:577-587
    Contact details of provider: Postal:
    Arsenal Object 20, A-1030 Wien

    Phone: (+43 1) 798 26 01-0
    Fax: (+43 1) 798 93 86
    Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    Order Information: Postal: Austrian Institute of Economic Research Publikationsverkauf und Abonnentenbetreuung Arsenal, Objekt 20 A-1030 Vienna/Austria

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wfo:monber:y:1999:i:8:p:577-587. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Ilse Schulz)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.