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A marketing approach for the promotion of pedestrian and bicycle traffic in Switzerland

Switzerland Flag
Complete with results
Geo-spatial type
Project Acronym
SVI 2001/504
STRIA Roadmaps
Network and traffic management systems (NTM)
Transport mode
Road icon
Transport policies
Societal/Economic issues
Transport sectors
Passenger transport


Background & Policy context

The promotion of pedestrian and bicycle mobility in infrastructural sector in Switzerland is widely organised through the responsible official authority. This follows the tradition of classical engineering, assuming that bicycles and feet are means of transportation, which can be supported by appropriate offers. These approaches improve the general infrastructure conditions of the slow traffic, but neglects to promote it.

This research presents ways of efficient slow-mode traffic promotion through marketing steps. The main thesis is that the marketing has to be organised "top-down", which means centrally organised from the government.


This study aimed to present ways on how to promote slow traffic by means of marketing. The main idea is that marketing has to be organised 'top-down' by the governement.

Main goals were:

  1. Development of an new approach, which shows known and new ways to shift the modal splits towards the slow modes. 
  2. Elaboration of a manual or an internet platform made of package of measure with target group realisation bodies.
  3. Pointing out of a new optical view out of the marketing point of view, future visions as well as the mechanisms of the surroundings.

The classical marketing approach from consumer goods and service marketing was adopted. This approach included the following important steps:  

  1. In-depth analysis in the fields of strategy, environment and markets, competition, marketing
  2. Definition of measures
  3. Marketing mix (attribution of measures)
  4. Assessment of efficiency
  5. Definition of packages of measuers
  6. Implementation (development of a handbook)


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


The potential of non motorised traffic is by far not fully exploited in Switzerland even though there has been an increase in the awareness of its importance and in according investments in cycling and pedestrian traffic in the past two decades.

The experience with traditional promotion measures shows that the usual singular measures do not lead to a significant change in mobility behaviour. A possible approach to increase pedestrian and bike traffic is to combine coherent singular measures to create packages. In doing so one would expect synergy effects and ranges of products which are (more) suitable for the target groups. The adaptation of the classic marketing approach is a promising methodological approach to create these packages. This approach is considered to be sales promoting and is a commonly used empiric management instrument in corporate governance.

Therefore in this research project the basic method is transferred to pedestrian traffic and cycling. Deficits that appear are enhanced and the method is then assessed for its practical suitability involving practice oriented experts.

The formation of packages is carried out on the basis of 114 possible measures for pedestrian traffic and 179 possible measures for cycling. These measures are kept in a database and are encoded with attributes relevant to marketing. They cover the "average case" in chosen areas of application and the responsible bodies.

The research project leads to the following main conclusions:

  • The adaptation of the marketing approach for pedestrian traffic and cycling proves to be a suitable instrument to increase the effectiveness of promotion measures through the creation of packages. The strong points are: focus on promising fields of action, the development and evaluation processes are focused on quantitative and qualitative goals, the explicit consideration of new target groups, the plausibility of the generated packages and the suitability of the marketing mix (groups of the market-oriented measures) as a controlling instrument.
  • The effectiveness and efficiency of packages (of measures) can be optimised if the main principles of a package building that are derived from the research project are taken into consideration.
  • The generated models of packages are too general to be made standard practice. It is shown, that the formation of packages of measures only makes sense at the interface of local opportunities and synergies.

    Policy implications

    The potentials of the promotion of non-motorised traffic determined according to market and competition analysis is very high for pedestrian as well as for bicycle traffic.

    Differences in the potentials are relatively low for pedestrian as well as for bike traffic. Also, for both traffic modes, almost all defined strategic measures are promotion-worthy seen from the marketing side. This generally means that investments made for the promotion of pedestrian and bike traffic pay off in view of the superior goal setting of more distances travelled. With pedestrian traffic it is leisure traffic, work traffic as well as urban space (net and combined pedestrian distances) that show the biggest potentials; with cycling it is leisure traffic, educational traffic as well as urban space (simple and combined cycling distances).


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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