Because the pharmacies (and in Tyrol the general practitioners) have also been involved, there are now more than 2,000 test options available. The offer for Viennese and Tyroleans is particularly dense. A five-minute drive to the free test is sufficient for over 90 percent.
The residents of some communities in the Mühlviertel and Waldviertel as well as in Upper Styria and Carinthia have to take longer journeys. For example, it takes a good 20 minutes from the Carinthian Heiligenblut to the next free test in Winklern. And for the region around Wildalpen (Liezen district), the state of Styria has organized a test bus because the next stationary test facilities in Mariazell and Eisenerz are 40 minutes away.
“It is now a very dense network”
Overall, however, 98 percent of Austrians can now take the closest free test in a maximum of 15 minutes by car. “It is now a very dense network,” says Florian Pühringer from the Institute for Spatial Planning at the Vienna University of Technology.
Together with his colleague Aggelos Soteropoulos, he calculated the travel time to the test centers in Austria. According to this, there are only 174 (of 2,095) municipalities in which more than a fifth of the population has to drive for more than a quarter of an hour to the next free test – both there and back.
This is a clear improvement compared to the situation before Christmas. At that time, in Lower Austria alone, half of the population would have had to drive more than half an hour to test it. A five-minute drive is now enough for almost 70 percent of Lower Austrians. Not only is the clearly expanded range of offerings in the federal states noticeable – 572 stations across Austria, 311 of which are in Lower Austria alone – but also hundreds of pharmacies with free trials.
Particularly dense network in Vienna, Tyrol and Vorarlberg
However, there are still regional differences. In addition to Vienna and Tyrol (where free tests for those without symptoms are also offered by general practitioners), the network in Vorarlberg is also comparatively close-knit. Here, 80 percent reach the next test opportunity with a five-minute drive.
In Carinthia and Upper Austria, on the other hand, only a little more than half of the residents make it to the test in five minutes by car. In Styria it is 61 percent, in Salzburg and Burgenland 65 percent. Of course, the test offer is still being expanded continuously. At the end of the week, pharmacies were added that are not yet included in the current analysis. In total there are now 895.
The almost nationwide expansion is also reflected in the test statistics. Since the corona tests have been compulsory as an entry ticket for visits to the hairdresser, an average of more than 200,000 tests per day are carried out in Austria. In terms of population, only Slovakia and Cyprus have recently tested more.
2.005 Free Test Sets in Analysis
The travel time to the nearest test center is then calculated for each of these 250 by 250 meter wide units (or the residents living in them).
The opening times of the test locations are not taken into account. For example, many test centers in Lower Austria are only open on individual days of the week. Conversely, some countries offer mobile test offers in rural communities, which were also not recorded for the current evaluation.)