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The Swiss traffic transfer policy gains ground

1 August 2013  •  Author(s): Peter Füglistaler, Director of the Federal Office of Transport (FOT), Switzerland

One of the principal aims of Swiss transport policy is to transfer transalpine freight traffic from road to rail. This is why Switzerland has built the new flat-bed rail tunnels through the Alps and introduced a road charge for heavy goods vehicles. In order to further support this development, the Swiss government plans to upgrade the main rail corridor for freight traffic running from Germany via the Gotthard to Italy by 2020, enabling semi-trailers with a corner height of up to four metres to be transported along the whole route.

With the adoption of the ‘Alpine Initiative’ in 1994, Swiss voters gave the government a mandate to transfer transalpine freight traffic from road to rail. Switzerland subsequently took a range of measures to achieve this goal. These included the construction of the new rail links through the Alps and the introduction of a road charge for heavy goods vehicles. This has resulted in a reduction of approximately 600,000 HGV journeys a year through the delicate Alpine landscape. Under current legislation, Switzerland should reduce HGV traffic through the Alps from around 1.2 million journeys a year today to 650,000 journeys a year by 2018.

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