The Swiss transport minister, Moritz Leuenberger, has called on other European nations to follow Switzerland's lead and introduce measures to transfer heavy goods' freight from road to rail.
Speaking at a two-day meeting of European transport ministers in Prague, Leuenberger said such a move not only had environmental benefits but also made sense economically. He said bottlenecks on the motorways indirectly increased transport costs.
He also referred to a study, which showed that more than 20,000 people die prematurely each year in France, Austria and Switzerland due to air pollution from road traffic. This costs the countries in question more than SFr40 billion, according to Leuenberger.
He also said it was up to the railways in Europe to step up cooperation in order to become more competitive in a liberalised transport market.
More than 40 countries are represented at the meeting in the Czech capital, which is focusing on the integration of Europe's transport system and railway reforms. They are also discussing measures to reduce harmful emissions caused by road traffic.
swissinfo with agencies