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Interactions transport/land use

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Complete with results
Project Acronym
C8 (NRP 41)
STRIA Roadmaps
Smart mobility and services (SMO)
Transport policies
Environmental/Emissions aspects


Background & Policy context

The NRP 41 was launched by the Federal Council at the end of 1995 to improve the scientific basis on which Switzerland's traffic problems might be solved, taking into account the growing interconnection with Europe, ecological limits, and economic and social needs.


The NRP 41 aimed to become a think-tank for sustainable transport policy.

Each one of the 54 projects belongs to one of the following six modules:

  • A Mobility: Socio-institutional Aspects
  • B Mobility: Socio-economical Aspects 
  • C Environment: Tools and Models for Impact Assessments 
  • D Political and Economic Strategies and Prerequisites 
  • E Traffic Management: Potentials and Impacts 
  • F Technologies: Potentials and Impacts 
  • M Materials 
  • S Synthesis Projects

Current production methods and style of living in our highly developed societies - with complex, distributed working structures - are far from being sustainable.

The entire deployment of resources (economic, ecological, social) is linked with the provision and the return (to nature by so-called 'disposal') of goods and services. Provision and return can be allocated entirely to production and transport processes.

This leads to the first conflict of objectives.

If one sets an upper limit for the deployment of resources then the question arises as to what is the proportion conceived to production and what is conceived to transport. As more resources are deployed for transport, so fewer resources remain for production. More of the one means less of the other.

We know that we will have to lower energy deployment by a factor of between four and ten. 30% of energy production and as much as 60% of fossil energy are consumed by transport.

In other areas the relationship is hardly different - transport uses approximately 30% of developed space. A sustainable society without a sustainable transport system is hardly feasible.

Transport is a question of distribution of people, goods, services and activities, or in a word - regional planning. A sustainable transport system can hardly be implemented without sustainable regional planning. Regional planning, in turn, is partly the result of transport provision.

This means that without considering the interaction between transport systems and regional planning, we cannot find ways to a more sustainable transport system. A sustainable transport system is characterised by a number of different qualities.

The question as to whether a transport system becomes more sustainable may be evaluated, in a simplified way, by means of three indicators:

  • Fewer motorised trips
  • Shorter distances of motorised trips
  • Reduced deployment of resources for motorised trips – generally true for public transport. All regional planning favouring one of these processes will be more sustainable and will represent a step towards a more sustainable transport system. But what is sustainable regional planning?

Not available


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
Swiss National Science Foundation SNF
Type of funding
Public (national/regional/local)


What is 'Spatially Sustainable' Transport Policy?


With very few exceptions, the measures suggested by NRP 41 projects contribute to sustainable regional planning. Pricing measures in particular (with appropriate regional implementation), and improved public transport, support the objectives of regional planning although they cannot prevent the growth of settlements at the edges of conurbations.

The general trend of land use increasing annually by 1.5 per cent (reduced density) will not easily be halted by additional measures.


These findings are the result of looking at trends and suggested measures from the viewpoint of regional planning within NRP41.

The report shows that regional planning can generally be defined as 'sustainable' if it offers short trips, and therefore benefits for public and non-motorised transport.

It can be described in terms of 'high density', 'activity mix' and 'multi-centrality'.


The authors query current objectives and means of promoting rural regions, and suggest not equal conditions, but life styles of equal quality adapted to the prevailing circumstances.

Apart from a clarification of the use of the term 'sustainable regional planning', the report provides a broad survey of the interrelationships between regional planning and transport, as well as a critical analysis of policies in this controversial area.

Policy implications

If one examined the challenges provided by a more sustainable transport system for the Regional Planning Policy, and by more sustainable regional planning for the Transport Policy, then the following can be stated from the perspective of this study and the results of NFP41:

Challenges for the Regional Planning Policy:

  • The Regional Planning Policy must improve co-ordination to guide development initiatives to suitable areas, and develop criteria based on sustainability objectives for the design and funding of transport measures relevant for large areas.
  • With regard to small areas, the Regional Planning Policy must establish standards and criteria so that regional planning can base the development of utilisation of soil on a more sustainable response to the growing demand for public transport (e.g. the dependence of new zones on public transport supply standards); the future deployment of telematics in particular must be based on clear criteria.
  • The co-ordinating roles of federal/cantonal authorities, and cantonal authorities and communities, needs to be strengthened.


2. Challenges for the Transport Policy:

  • With regard to large areas, the design and funding of measures for transport must be determined increasingly in accordance with efforts for more sustainable regional planning (e.g. funding contributions for new public transport services to be based on a policy for more sustainable regional planning).
  • With regard to small areas, criteria and standards have to be developed for how the design and funding of public transport services can be made increasingly dependent on a more sustainable settlement structure (funding contributions in relation to area usage).
  • With regard to the authorities: concepts and factual plans need to be re-evaluated; projects and programmes need to be evaluated earlier with regard to their regional feasibility, and this also requires the development of a suitable instrument from the perspective of sustainable regional planning.


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
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