Recently published traffic statistics by the Federal Roads Office (FEDRO) show an increase in road traffic and the number of hours spent in traffic jams.
In 2016, the total collective distance covered by drivers on Switzerland’s national network of motorways grew 2.4% to 25.9 billion kilometres, equivalent to travelling to the moon and back 33,750 times.
24,066 hours of traffic congestion were recorded in 2016, a 5.4% increase on 2015. Too many vehicles was the cause of 21,211 hours (88%) of the time delay caused by traffic. The remainder was due to accidents 2,420 (10%) and road works 356 (2%).
Not every driver in Switzerland was subjected to the same amount of motorway thumb twiddling. Unsurprisingly, the regions with the greatest traffic volumes were Zurich, Basel, Bern, Geneva, Lausanne and Luzern – see map below. Click to enlarge.
The worst parts, or black spots, of Switzerland’s road network in 2016, measured by the number of days with significant waiting were: the northern entrance to the Gotthard tunnel (140 days of the year), the southern entrance to the Gotthard tunnel (185 days of the year), the Baregg region (346 days of the year), the Gubrist tunnel (354 days), the Zurich-Winterthur bypass (355 days), the stretch from Bern to Kriegstetten (281 days), the Belchen tunnel (118 days), the Lausanne bypass (274 days) and the Geneva bypass (281 days).
The greatest deterioration was on the Lausanne bypass where the number of days with a significant lack of motorway motion went up 18%. All other rises were relatively modest and the Geneva bypass (-4%) and southern Gotthard tunnel entrance (-2%) even managed to improve.
To improve traffic flow, FEDRO is working on 20 projects, in particular increasing road capacity at Zurich’s northern A1 bypass and opening the hard shoulder on the A3 between Pratteln and Augst.
In addition, FEDRO is working with the police to find ways of getting traffic flowing again after accidents.
While Switzerland’s trains might be expensive, their ability to avoid traffic might sometimes justify the price premium. All of the routes with the highest volumes of vehicles: Geneva-Lausanne, Basel-Zurich, Zurich-Bern, Winterthur-Zurich, are all well served by train.