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Access situation of leisure facilities (SVI 2004/079)

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Passenger transport


Background & Policy context

High traffic leisure facilities include establishments such as multiplex cinemas, water parks, zoos, theme parks, large museums and combined facilities for shopping and leisure. Just like high traffic shopping centres, large leisure facilities attract a considerable number of visitors and therefore place a strain on local transport networks. Compared to shopping centres, high traffic leisure facilities have a number of specific characteristics:

- Visitor flows vary greatly from day to day and from week to week, as well as from season to season. Many facilities attract extremely high visitor flows within a very short space of time. This poses particular challenges for accessibility and the planning of transport structures.

- A considerable number of visitors travel from a long way away, often using long distance services. For this reason, great importance needs to be attached to the long distance network.

- Depending on the type of services offered, leisure facilities can attract specific visitor types who may have a preference for a particular mode of transport. Target-group oriented approaches are therefore required if the way people travel is to be influenced.

- High traffic leisure facilities can be found in city centres, in suburban areas, and in rural areas. Given this variety, the quality of transport links and the local environment parameters will differ greatly from facility to facility. The planning function for leisure facilities must therefore be designed in a highly context-sensitive way.

Recommendations as to how high traffic facilities should be planned have up until now been based mainly on the analysis of major shopping centres. The unique characteristics of leisure facilities, however, mean that proposed measures should be developed in a targeted way for precisely these high traffic establishments.


Up until now, no such comparative analyses have been available for the different types of leisure facility that exist in Switzerland. The purpose of this study is to undertake this task. It is restricted to leisure facilities that offer services of a permanent nature. It does not consider facilities that offer leisure services for only a certain time or for a particular season (e.g. winter sports establishments). The aim of the investigation is to develop empirically- derived recommendations for the optimization of transport connections and to resolve the problem of high traffic levels in the vicinity of leisure facilities. 


The objectives are to be achieved through the following analysis:

- In a comparative study, the status quo of the access situation at 20 leisure facilities of different types is documented, with typical problem situations being identified.

- Analysis of the planning history of three leisure facilities (FCS Park Schaffhausen, Aquabasilea Pratteln, Westside Berne) has been undertaken to identify, on the basis of these actual examples, how the criterion of accessibility was taken into account in the search for (and development of) the location in question.

- Differences in the form of transport selected by visitors and in local area access provision – including for pedestrian and cycle traffic – are investigated with the aid of customer surveys, on-site questionnaires and supplementary expert discussions for four specific leisure facilities: the Kino MaxX multiplex in Emmenbrücke, the Maag site in Zurich, the Swiss Transport Museum in Lucerne and Technorama in Winterthur.

These analyses then feed into comprehensive recommendations that are formulated for the following three areas of action: spatial planning, traffic planning and mobility management. These recommendations are also documented in a separate guideline for planners, facility operators, and a wider specialist audience.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Private foundation
Institution Name
Association of Transportation Engineers
Type of funding
Public (national/regional/local)


Based on these analyses, the following need for action at Swiss leisure facilities is particularly evident:

  • Improvement of the planning process: Optimization of the process of determining/ selecting the location; better use of the opportunities provided by spatial planning instruments; clear determination of the objectives and transport-related measures; financing with the participation of leisure facilities themselves; review of the success of spatial planning decisions taken and traffic planning measures implemented
  • Management of the strain caused by peak periods of road congestion and public transport usage, particularly at leisure facilities where event start times are crucial
  • Reduction of congestion and traffic build-up on access roads
  • Ensuring that the local public transport system in the vicinity of a leisure facility cancope
  • Management of parking space at and in the immediate environment of leisure facilities
  • Preventing facility-related parking pressures spilling over into neighbouring areas
  • Increasing the proportion of public transport in visitor travel preferences
  • Ensuring high quality of access for pedestrians and cyclists, taking particular account of the routes connecting the leisure facilities with the nearest public transport stations/stops

The cantons and municipalities should agree cost participation with leisure facilities at an early stage if additional measures in the area of access, transport management or mobility management are to be required as a result of the strain placed on transport networks by leisure facility visitors.

Up until now, there has been virtually no controlling work undertaken with respect to the impact of spatial planning decisions and traffic planning measures on leisure facilities. The traffic-related objectives stipulated in the various planning documents and the specified measures should be subjected to a systematic controlling process in the future. Here the degree of implementation of measures stipulated (implementation controlling), their effectiveness (effectiveness controlling) and the degree to which targets have been achieved as a result (success controlling) should be evaluated at fixed intervals. In many cases the methodological basis of such approaches has yet to be developed.


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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