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Bottlenecks and delays: Which Swiss cities have the worst traffic?

Switzerland may not be known for bad traffic, but there are some frustrating congestion points which can see people lose dozens of hours a year. Here's where it gets the worst.

The Hardbrücke in the city of Zurich. Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash
The Hardbrücke in the city of Zurich. Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash

TomTom GPS has unveiled its annual statistics for the most congested cities in the world.  

The findings cover 404 cities across 58 countries and focus on which urban areas suffer from the most congestion. 

READ MORE: Which Swiss canton has the worst drivers?

Where are Switzerland’s cities placed?

Fortunately, Switzerland again ranked relatively low from a global perspective, with no Swiss city in the top 70 internationally. 

The findings show that Geneva is the 75th worst city globally in terms of traffic jams, but first in Switzerland.

Drivers in the western Swiss city lose 69 hours each year stuck in bottlenecks.

Zurich follows closely in the 77th place and Lugano in the 93rd.

This TomTom chart shows the congestion level as well as time lost in traffic in Switzerland’s six major cities.

Geneva, Zurich and Lugano are in the second worst category globally, while Lausanne, Basel and Bern are in the third worst. 

Tom Tom uses navigation technology to see where people are moving and how fast, thereby giving an indication as to how much time is spent in traffic. 

While Geneva drivers may have lost the most time on the whole, the highest congestion was seen in Lugano, where a 75 percent rate was hit in the middle of summer 2021. 

Things could be set to get slower in Switzerland, with several Swiss cities planning to cap speed limits at 30km/h

What are the world’s worst cities and regions for traffic?

The worst city in the world for traffic is the Turkish metropolis of Istanbul, which has an average congestion level of 62 percent. 

This is followed by Moscow, Kiev, Bogota and Mumbai. 

EXPLAINED: How does roadside assistance work in Switzerland?

There are three Russian cities in the top ten, with Moscow second, St Petersburg seventh and Novosibirsk ninth. 

There are two Ukrainian cities – Kiev (third) and Odessa (sixth) – and two Indian cities, Mumbai (fifth) and Bengaluru (tenth). 

Western European cities do not feature highly in the list, with Dublin (35th), Palermo (36th) and Paris 37th). 

More information about the ranking can be seen here

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Have your say: Should Switzerland change motorway speed limits?

Swiss politicians are calling for a reduction in motorway speed limits to help curb climate change and minimise reliance on Russian energy. Do you agree or disagree? Let us know.

Have your say: Should Switzerland change motorway speed limits?

Switzerland’s Greens are calling for a nationwide reduction in speed limits, wanting to reduce the current limit of 120km/hr on motorways to 100km/h. 

Green National Councilor Raphael Mahaim (VD) announced on Tuesday he would submit a proposal in May. 

Mahaim said it would help achieve environmental and geopolitical aims. 

“On the one hand, the lower speed limit is intended to counteract dependence on Russia, and on the other hand it is intended to reduce CO2 emissions,” Mahaim said. 

In addition to the Greens, the proposal has won support from GLP, but is opposed by the Centre, the FDP and the SVP. 

Matthias Aebischer, a National Councillor with the Social Democrats, said that while the SD “agreed with any proposal which reduced greenhouse gas emissions” they felt it would take “far too long” for the idea to make any realistic contribution to minimise Switzerland’s dependence on Russia. 

FDP National Councilor Christian Wasserfallen said Switzerland “should instead harmonise with other countries and increase the speed limit to 130km/h.”

The maximum speed limit in Austria is 130km/h, while neighbouring Germany’s Autobahns famously have no speed limit. 

The maximum speed on Swiss motorways is 120km/h and 100km/h on expressways. On highways the speed limit is generally set at 80km/h, while in built up areas like cities and towns it is usually set at a max of 50km/h. 

Several urban areas in Switzerland have however indicated they want to introduce a 30km/h limit, including Zurich, Geneva, Freibourg and St Gallen, while the limit has already been reduced in parts of Bern, Basel and Lucerne. 

READ MORE: These parts of Switzerland are set to introduce a 30km/h speed limit

Experts suggest that up to 15 percent of fuel consumption can be saved by driving at 100km/h rather than 120km/hr. 

Have your say

While some are pushing for tighter speed limits – including restricting all traffic to 100km/h – others have argued it should be increased to 130km/h. 

Think things should slow down a tad? Or want them sped up? 

Let us know.