With the finalisation of the Swiss national highway system, the realisation of the first and second stage of the railway 2000 project, the connections with the European high speed rail network and possible introduction of new innovative technologies, main enlargements and substitutions of the Swiss transport network are in discussion at the moment.
Two questions are currently being discussed, in both technical and political terms, which are of importance to the spatial and traffic-related development of Switzerland. The first one concerns the traffic capacity of transit corridors and the corridors between major conurbations; the second question involves the urban and conurbation policies of the federal government and the cantons, which aim at internal urbanisation in city areas and the creation of a functional and strategic urban network. These two topics form the core of this analysis "Specialisation and integration: Transport capacity and demand analysis in the urban system of Switzerland".
Main requirements of the Swiss urban network are good communications between the metropolitan areas themselves and with smaller regional cities. It is aim of the project to analyse and to explain traffic system which is relevant to the Swiss city network. Parameters are to be analysed which may have much influence on meaning, volume and development of traffic flows. Inter-relationships between traffic supply, development of demand and the Swiss city network are to be analysed in qualitative terms. Potential changes in supply are to be explained in consideration of sustainable policy targets.
As for capacity planning this study reaches a conclusion similar to that of the federal government under its traffic engineering plan: the problems of demand and supply have their origins mainly in conurbations.
On the one hand, (inter)national and regional transport connections overlap in these areas. This, and the fact that they are densely populated, create capacity bottlenecks. On the other hand, the percentage of commuters between metropolitan areas is relatively small when compared to commuter traffic within conurbations, but it is growing.
It was clear during the course of the study that there are not sufficient data available for this area in particular. There are very few quantitative statements about business and leisure traffic between metropolitan areas, even though sociodemographic trends, combined with a more flexible economy and an ever more varied range of cultural events in major centres, point to an increase in business and leisure traffic between conurbations. It is against this background that traffic between metropolitan areas is gaining in, at least, qualitative importance. With a clear focus on the supply and demand side (making public transit more attractive and decentralising it, especially with respect to international train connections; the removal of bottlenecks regarding roads, combined with supporting measures; measures to increase utilisation of the modal shift potential in business and leisure traffic; clarification and taking into account of new transport needs among young adults and senior citizens) it is crucial to push for a transport policy for the Swiss urban system that is based on criteria of sustainability.
Given the qualitative approach of the study, it was not possible to solidify or confirm certain hypotheses in quantitative terms, but they have been consolidated into extended or further hypotheses: International integration - despite or especially because of good regional and national accessibility - is a location factor that has been neglected so far. In particular, the tripolar metropolitan system consisting of Geneva, Basle and Zurich would have to be strengthened by creating traffic-based and functional synergies.
The forecast increase of road traffic continues to be an incontrollable element. In addition to known measures such as traffic management and pricing, qualitative measures (e.g., comfort, safety, reliability) that take into account demographic trends could have a relatively substantial effect on future travel behaviour. C