Those using Switzerland's transport infrastructure do not, at present, bear the full costs of this use. The exogenous costs and benefits are thus not priced into mobility. The originator principle applies to the way in which all transport costs - including external costs and benefits - are accounted for. This concept influences the individual's choice of how they travel and leads to better competition between different modes of transport. The transport system as a whole is more efficient as a result.
Since the early 1990s, the Transport Policy section of the ARE has made regular estimates of the exogenous costs and benefits of transport. Under the terms of the Federal Heavy Vehicle Fee Act ('Schwerverkehrsabgabe' LSVA), the federal government is obliged to update its calculations of the exogenous costs and benefits of heavy goods traffic periodically in accordance with the latest scientific findings.
The programme aims to determine the exogenous costs of road and rail traffic. The results constitute the basis for the setting the Heavy Vehicle Fee (LSVA) by the Federal Department of Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (UVEK) by 2005.
The programme is coordinated by the Federal Office for Spatial Development (ARE) and the federal office for statistics while individual projects are commissioned in a competitive manner to private consulting groups.
The programme itself was initiated in the context of ARE's ongoing effort to perform estimates of the exogenous costs and benefits of transport at a regular basis. These estimates provide the basis for the fixation of taxes imposed on heavy vehicles in Switzerland and are part of the terms of the Federal Heavy Fee Act (Schwerverkehrsabgabe LSVA).