Traffic has more than doubled since 1990
Zurich had 349 days with traffic jams
BERN, SWITZERLAND – Swiss highway traffic increased by 2.8 percent in 2011, to 26 billion kilometres driven. The busiest roads in the country were the A1 autoroute between Geneva and Lausanne, and the A1 between Bern and Winterthur, plus the A1 in the Basel region.
The “national highways” absorbed 40 percent of this traffic overall, but carried more than 67 percent of the country’s truck traffic. A report published Monday 20 August by the Federal Roads Office makes clear the importance to the economy of keeping traffic moving smoothly on these roads.
But traffic jams worsened, with, nationwide, over 19,000 hours recorded when traffic came to a halt, a 2-plus percent increase over 2010; the north side of Zurich was the worst blocked traffic on 349 days. The Geneva and Lausanne ring roads also saw significant traffic jams.
The worsening situation has given a number of partners of the highway office the opportunity to better assess what provokes traffic jams. Figures compiled from a number of sources show that while a 34 percent increase was seen last year due to traffic overloads on roads, accidents caused only a 4 percent increase and traffic jams due to roadworks fell by 14 percent thanks to improved construction and repair programmes.
Given the growing problem of too much traffic on some roads the highway office is studying solutions to improve traffic flows. One of the best examples is the Morges-Ecublens A1 section, where opening from four to six lanes during heavy traffic hours has resulted in a 70 percent cut in the number of accidents and slightly improved noise and fuel pollution.
The report also provides details on Swiss highway accidents in 2011. Inattention is the number one cause of serious accidents and not keeping a safe distance between vehicles is the second. In 2011 37 people died in highway accidents and 327 were seriously injured. Half of the 1,861 accidents on autoroutes and semi-autoroutes were caused by the driver losing control of his vehicle.