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Cars will remain dominant means of transport for next 20 years

Road traffic will continue to increase over the next 20 years in Switzerland. Keystone / Martin Ruetschi

Rail, road and air transport in Switzerland are all set to rise over the next 20 years, but environmental protection and safety measures will fail to keep up, according to experts surveyed for a study on mobility.

The study, commissioned by the transport ministry, says that transport in 2020 will not have changed much compared to today.

Most cars will still use a combustion engine, and while their petrol consumption is expected to fall, it will remain well above the much-touted three litres per 100 kilometres, the experts say. About 100 specialists were polled for the study.

The study forecasts an increase in private motorised transport of about 20 per cent over the next 20 years. Public transport by road and rail is set to rise by 30 per cent, and air transport by 60 per cent.

The report also says freight transport is expected to increase sharply, by up to 40 per cent on roads and 50 per cent on rail.

The experts say, however, the rises leave little hope that significant progress can be made on reducing the impact of transport on the environment. Noise pollution in particular is set to increase, particularly due to the large rise in air transport.

Extra efforts will also be needed to guarantee the safety of transport, as the number of cars is set to increase from 450 to 500 per 1,000 inhabitants.

The specialists have little faith in an ambitious project to link up all major Swiss cities by a high-speed underground rail link. The report projects that by 2020 Swissmetro will no longer be an issue in discussions of transport policy.

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR