Switzerland’s federal government will provide the cantons with an additional CHF 52 billion to cut road noise, reported RTS. The additional CHF 52 billion will be added to an existing funding package of CHF 26 billion.
The main source of noise in Switzerland is from road traffic. More than a million people, over 10% of the population, are exposed to excessive road noise when at home.
Work to reduce road noise includes upgrading road surfaces, adding sound barriers and introducing new speed limits. The existing CHF 26 billion will be invested between 2023 and 2024. The additional CHF 52 billion is earmarked for work between now and 2024.
Resurfacing roads can make a big difference to the noise that comes from the road. Speed limits can also help. Lausanne and Geneva are looking closely at reducing speed limits to 30 km/h in several city zones. In Bern there appears to be a greater emphasis on noise reducing resurfacing, which typically lasts for 10 years.
A particular road noise challenge in Switzerland is motorcycles. The upper noise limit for motorcycles (80dB) is the same as it is for other vehicles. However, it is rare to come across a noisy car and fairly common to encounter a window-rattlingly loud motorcycle, typically a Harley Davidson. Part of the problem stems from a motorcycling culture that favours noisy machines, which leads owners to illegally modify their exhaust systems. Policing and testing offenders is a difficult and largely unsuccessful task.
Noisy motorcyclists are somewhat like smokers. Some smokers feel they should be free to do what they want to do when they want to do it, something that might sound quite reasonable. However, in reality the majority of non-smokers are left with the potential health costs and unpleasantness of passively sucking up smoke so that a minority can enjoy their chosen habit.