The number of hours spent in traffic jams in Switzerland rose by 6% last year, compared to 5% in 2014. Overloaded roads were the chief cause of blockages.
According to a report released on Tuesday by the Swiss Federal Roads Office, the total distance travelled on national roads also went up in 2015, amounting to 26 billion kilometres – an increase of 4.2% compared to 2014.
These national roads represent only 2.5% of Switzerland’s total road network, yet they bear nearly 40.6% of the country’s traffic, the Federal Roads Office said.
Most hours spent in traffic jams are due to excess traffic (19,968 hours), followed by accidents (2,263 hours), construction, and other events like fire, breakdowns and bad weather.
‘Troubling’ and ‘alarming’
The figures provoked strong reactions from some economic organisations, especially given that the Federal Roads Office report comes just two days after the failure of an initiative put before Swiss voters, which would have allocated extra funding to road construction.
The Swiss Road Transport Association and USAM, the association of Swiss small and medium-sized enterprises, both called for the modernisation of Switzerland’s road infrastructure, noting that the fact that traffic overload is the chief cause of bottlenecks is harmful both for the economy and the environment.
In a statement on Tuesday, the Swiss Road Transport Association said the traffic jam figures represent a “troubling historic high”, and called for “accelerated road development”. USAM called the figures “alarming” and called for a relaunch of the debate on the National Road and Agglomeration Fund, a counter-proposal to the recently defeated roads initiative.
swissinfo.ch and agencies