Driving: How serious is the Swiss government’s nationwide 60km/h plan?
This week, news has emerged of a proposal to restrict traffic on Switzerland’s motorways to 60km/h. How feasible - and likely - is it?
Although there are different levels set all over the country, the speed limit on Switzerland’s roads is usually set at 120km/h.
But a proposal to reduce traffic congestion seeks to halve that limit to 60km/h.
Here’s what you need to know.
What is the proposal and why is it being floated?
In order to reduce traffic jams, the Federal Roads Office (FEDRO) is examining the feasibility of lowering the speed limit on the country’s motorways from the current 120 km / h to 60 km /h for a better flow of traffic.
While specifics of the plan haven’t been released, it appears that not all of the country’s roads would have their speed limit cut.
Instead, the limit would be halved in areas where there is a risk of traffic congestion, Swiss media reports.
Traffic is the main reason the proposal has been put forward, although there are other motivating factors.
Road congestion can also be expensive, both in terms of money and environmental damage, according to the Federal Office for Spatial Development, which estimates total loss each year at over 2 billion francs.
Would the plan be effective - and how likely is it?
Anyone who lives in Switzerland knows that change happens slowly - especially something of this magnitude.
FEDRO spokesperson Benno Schmid said the idea will be tested, most likely in 2023.
“"We are checking whether the speed harmonisation systems can keep traffic flowing longer with a speed limit of 60.”
Schmid pointed to the example of the A14 junction between Rütihof and Rotsee in the canton of Lucerne, where reducing the speed limit may lead to a 60 percent reduction in traffic jams and a 25 percent reduction in slow-moving traffic.
However, not everyone is convinced.
The Swiss Road Transport Association argues that if implemented, this measure would create more problems than it solves.
In particular, the SRTA argues that drivers would avoid motorways altogether and use alternate routes instead, including cantonal roads where the speed limit is 80 km/h.
While this may improve traffic on motorways, it will have the opposite effect on cantonal roads, many of which are not equipped for large volumes of traffic.
What other options are being considered?
The idea is just one of several proposals being considered by the Federal Roads Office to curb traffic.
Another is a ban on driving on the left for trucks at peak hour, while simultaneously shortening or cutting the ban currently imposed on trucks driving at night.
The closure of certain motorway exits and lanes is also being considered.