Swiss study on commercial traffic in urban areas

The transportation of goods and people for commercial and professional purposes is essential to a functioning economy. The Swiss population benefits from this every day: shop shelves are well stocked, waste is regularly disposed of, and packages ordered online are delivered to our homes. However, this also places a burden on transport infrastructure, society and the environment. Today the federal government published a framework study on this issue.

The transport infrastructure in Switzerland is coming under increasing strain. In urban areas the pressure is particularly felt in conurbations, where trams, delivery vans, pedestrians and taxis all use the limited road space at the same time. Social and technological developments are driving this trend. Among other things, people are ordering more and more goods online. The supply of goods and disposal of waste by road and rail in urban areas are therefore becoming more of a challenge.

However, until now there has been no precise definition of what commercial traffic comprises. To remedy this, the Federal Office for Spatial Development (ARE), together with the federal offices responsible for roads (FEDRO), transport (FOT), the environment (FOEN) and energy (SFOE), has drawn up a framework study. This shows that the dialogue between public authorities and the business community should be intensified, for example on the question of whether commercial transport should be controlled or even prioritised in order to improve traffic flow. The Confederation intends to devote more attention to this issue in future and to use existing instruments to promote the proper functioning of commercial traffic.

Definition and systematisation of commercial traffic

The study focuses on commercial transport by road, because rail plays a lesser role in last-mile distribution in urban areas. Commercial traffic refers to the traffic of goods and persons for commercial and professional purposes. This primarily means supply and disposal for companies in trade, commerce and industry, and the public sector. Commercial road traffic accounts for around 16.5 per cent of total road traffic.

Transport for business purposes covers all journeys made by private companies, whereas transport for official purposes comprises journeys made by the public sector. Commuting to and from work is not included. Commercial traffic includes freight and passenger traffic as well as service traffic, for example delivery vehicles of logistics companies or tradespeople, taxi companies or bicycle courier services.

www.are.admin.ch