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Old February 2nd, 2013, 12:47 PM   #1
Coccodrillo
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Traffic across language borders

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Originally Posted by Coccodrillo View Post
It would be interesting to see how traffic varies in Europe where the language border is also a state border (Liège-Maastricht-Aachen), where it is not (between the three language areas of Belgium), and where there is a state border but not a language border (Ticino-Milano, Nordtirol-Südtirol, Antwerpen-Breda).
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Originally Posted by mcarling View Post
Yes, this would be very interesting, but keep in mind that it will change as English becomes universally known throughout Europe.
English will never replace existing languages, so language borders will remain.

What is quite certain is that if the language border is not a state border traffic is higher than if there was also a state border, but lower than where there is a state border but not a linguistic border.
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Old February 2nd, 2013, 01:04 PM   #2
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If you look at the busiest border crossings then you can see they are within the same language area. The busiest border crossings are Hazeldonk (Belgium - Netherlands), Bad Reichenhall (Germany - Austria) and Chiasso (Switzerland - Italy). However, these border crossings also tend to be near large cities.

International traffic is in large part generated by long-distance truck traffic and local traffic that are taking advantage from varying taxation rates. For instance Dutch go to Germany to buy gasoline and electronics while Germans are going to the Netherlands to get diesel and pharmacy products.

Interestingly, there is also some commuting to work across language borders. For example, many Dutch live in Germany just across the border to take advantage of the lower housing prices and less regulation. Similar situations are found at the Øresund connection between Sweden and Denmark, where some Danes live in Sweden and commute to Denmark. I've read there is also a tendency for Poles in the Szczecin area to live just across the border in Germany because housing is cheaper there.

International commuting usually happens in situations where there is a large city (job center) not far from the border. Commuting has its limits, few people are willing to drive 100 kilometers one way, even if it is uncongested.
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Old February 2nd, 2013, 01:56 PM   #3
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I have spent a week in the Limburg area, NL and rode the bus Aachen-Gulpen several times.

There are both german and dutch busses.

When entering the bus at Aachen railway station, it was quite empty, some germans rode the bus to the outskirts of Aachen.

The dutch passengers waited in Vaals, where the bus began to fill up.

So the passengers who rode that bus the whole way were few, maybe 5 out of 25.

The city of Aachen is located close to both NL and B, but still I don't remember hearing any dutch language there, there were quite a few french speaking people sitting the open air cafés at cathedral though.

Conclusion: Language barrier exists between Germany & The Netherlands



Gulpen Bus station


About the Öresund trains: mostly swedish people travel the whole way Copenhagen-Malmö, few danes do that, they only use the trains on danish territory. The absolute majority of the swedish passengers enter at Kastrup Airport and go to Malmö.
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Old February 2nd, 2013, 05:00 PM   #4
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Basel has suburbs in France (St Louis) and Germany (Lorrach, Weil am Rhein) and there is a lot of commuting from there to work in the city. The other way around is rare because of significantly higher salaries and lower taxes in Switzerland. Some Swiss also live across the border to take advantage of lower property prices.
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Old February 2nd, 2013, 05:07 PM   #5
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Fréjus & Mont Blanc tunnels, Simplon Pass: ~2.500 cars per day
Gotthard tunnel: ~12.000 cars per day
Brenner Pass: something around 12.000 cars per day

Fréjus railway: ~450.000 passengers per year
Gotthard railway: 3.500.000 passengers per year (two thirds to/from Ticino)
Simplon railway: I suppose around 1.000.000 passengers per year

To compare, the Euostars London-Lille/Paris/Bruxelles carry around 10 million passengers per year between cities much bigger than Zürich, Lugano or Milano.
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Old February 2nd, 2013, 08:50 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunfuns View Post
Basel has suburbs in France (St Louis) and Germany (Lorrach, Weil am Rhein) and there is a lot of commuting from there to work in the city. ...
But around Basel there is no language border at all, especially not along the border to Germany. And one from St-Louis speaking alsatian can perfectly communicate with people in Basel and around.
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Old February 2nd, 2013, 08:57 PM   #7
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But around Basel there is no language border at all, especially not along the border to Germany. And one from St-Louis speaking alsatian can perfectly communicate with people in Basel and around.
Not that many in the younger generation speak Alsatian any more plus a lot of people from other areas of France have moved there specifically for jobs in Basel. I think there is a real language border there.
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Old February 2nd, 2013, 09:14 PM   #8
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I twould be interesting to see traffic across language borders within the same nation, like Flanders/Wallonia or Italy/Südtirol.
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Old February 2nd, 2013, 09:17 PM   #9
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Belgium is a bit hard to compare. Brussels is at the language border and has the busiest road in the country. In other locations traffic volumes near language borders are not very high, but this is also due to the absence of large cities, though there is not much commuting from/to Hasselt and Liège (two cities quite close to the language border).

I haven't seen reliable traffic data from Italian motorways. Switzerland was discussed in the Swiss thread.
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Old February 2nd, 2013, 09:25 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NordikNerd View Post
The city of Aachen is located close to both NL and B, but still I don't remember hearing any dutch language there, there were quite a few french speaking people sitting the open air cafés at cathedral though.
Conclusion: Language barrier exists between Germany & The Netherlands
Not really, since 30% of people living in Vaals are German from origin. And German bus services also run into Vaals with 2 lines (and somemore ending on the border).
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Old February 3rd, 2013, 01:53 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post
Belgium is a bit hard to compare. Brussels is at the language border and has the busiest road in the country. In other locations traffic volumes near language borders are not very high, but this is also due to the absence of large cities, though there is not much commuting from/to Hasselt and Liège (two cities quite close to the language border).

I haven't seen reliable traffic data from Italian motorways. Switzerland was discussed in the Swiss thread.
I live in the region you mentioned and what you say is true. There is however bigger commuting from the line Sint-Truiden-Tongeren towards the language border. For instance the N80 between Sint-Truiden and Namur is packed each morning towards the E40/A3 (well mainly because of that, not because people go to Namur) and the N3 between Sint-Truiden and Liège is always busy though I'm not sure if that is because of local traffic or not, same for the N20 Tongeren-Liège wich is a busy road but not sure because of local traffic or cummuters towards Liège.

But you are right about Hasselt, People from Hasselt rarely got to Liège by car, but the trains towards Liège are allways full. Not to forget: Maastricht has more influence in Belgian Limburg than Liège does although since the city is starting to lose its bad reputation more people are going to Liège for shopping. Maastricht has better road connections with Belgian Limburg; no rail connection and several bus connections. Liège doesn't have bus connections. The rail connection of Liège is only with Tongeren and Hasselt. From Sint-Truiden to Liège requires a detour around Landen and the whole west and much north of Hasselt has no rail connections what so ever.
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Last edited by joshsam; February 3rd, 2013 at 01:58 AM.
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Old February 3rd, 2013, 10:34 AM   #12
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Here are some language borders in Finland (all in or around the Ostrobothnia region), with the respective shares of Finnish and Swedish speakers (in this order) on each side and the respective AADT according to Liikennevirasto (Transport Agency).

To limit the size of this list, I've only included "strict" language borders, meaning that the majority language on each side is spoken by at least 80 %; and only main roads (with a road number lower than 100) or roads with AADT exceeding 2000.

Road 749, Kokkola (84 %, 14 %) - Larsmo (6 %, 92 %): 3000
Road 13, Kokkola (84 %, 14 %) - Kronoby (16 %, 82 %): 3300
Road 13, Kronoby (16 %, 82 %) - Kaustinen (97 %, 2 %): 3100
Road 8/E8, Kokkola (84 %, 14 %) - Kronoby (16 %, 82 %): 5700
Road 63, Kaustinen (97 %, 2 %) - Kronoby (16 %, 82 %): 1500
Road 63, Kronoby (16 %, 82 %) - Evijärvi (96 %, 2 %): 2000
Road 68, Pedersöre (9 %, 90 %) - Evijärvi (96 %, 2 %): 590
Road 19, Kauhava (98 %, 1 %) - Nykarleby (8 %, 88 %): 2000
Road 67, Närpes (6 %, 87 %) - Teuva (99 %, 1 %): 950

Note that in some cases the road merely passes the area with the other language: such is the case especially with the road 63 between Evijärvi and Kaustinen, and road 67 between Teuva and Kaskinen.

Road 8/E8 goes along the western coast and carries a lot of traffic through the whole country: 237 km of it goes all the way through the Swedish-majority Ostrobothnia, though "interrupted" by some 10 km in the Finnish-majority city of Vaasa.

Last edited by OulaL; February 3rd, 2013 at 11:49 AM.
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Old February 3rd, 2013, 01:49 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OulaL View Post
Here are some language borders in Finland
What's the conclusion? Is the AADT explicit lower at the linguistic border?
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Old February 3rd, 2013, 05:48 PM   #14
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Quote:
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What's the conclusion? Is the AADT explicit lower at the linguistic border?
Could be that few people commute between two cities where different languages are spoken, but 99 % of swedish speaking finns understand finnish so I don't think there's a difference.

For Belgium it could be otherwise. Few francobelgians understand dutch/flemmish. The flemmish on the otherhand are more keen to learn french.
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Old February 3rd, 2013, 07:11 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OulaL View Post
Road 749, Kokkola (84 %, 14 %) - Larsmo (6 %, 92 %): 3000
Road 13, Kokkola (84 %, 14 %) - Kronoby (16 %, 82 %): 3300
Road 13, Kronoby (16 %, 82 %) - Kaustinen (97 %, 2 %): 3100
Road 8/E8, Kokkola (84 %, 14 %) - Kronoby (16 %, 82 %): 5700
Road 63, Kaustinen (97 %, 2 %) - Kronoby (16 %, 82 %): 1500
Road 63, Kronoby (16 %, 82 %) - Evijärvi (96 %, 2 %): 2000
Road 68, Pedersöre (9 %, 90 %) - Evijärvi (96 %, 2 %): 590
Road 19, Kauhava (98 %, 1 %) - Nykarleby (8 %, 88 %): 2000
Road 67, Närpes (6 %, 87 %) - Teuva (99 %, 1 %): 950
Only the last example refers to a strict language border: the border of an monolingual Finnish municipality to a monolingual Swedish one.

There are only three monolingual Swedish municipalities in the Finland mainland (outside Åland islands which are monolingual Swedish by constitution): Närpes, Korsnäs and Larsmo. Only Närpes shares a border with monolingual municipalities.

Here you can see the road 6841 being a strict language border: https://maps.google.fi/maps?q=n%C3%A...13.99,,0,-5.03

The road lies in Närpes, in the Swedish-speaking area. The right-hand edge of the road is the border to Kurikka in the Finnish-speaking area.

The strict policy to show the languages in their order of majority in the signs lead to funny situations: There is an internal border within the approach section of the exit to the road 673 south-east of Vaasa. The order of the names are reversed between the advance direction signs:

https://maps.google.fi/maps?q=Gammel...,,1,10.11&z=15

https://maps.google.fi/maps?q=Gammel...139.97,,0,-0.3

Last edited by MattiG; February 3rd, 2013 at 07:21 PM. Reason: Incorrect link
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Old February 4th, 2013, 12:46 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichiH View Post
What's the conclusion? Is the AADT explicit lower at the linguistic border?
Let's put it this way: can you find even the roughest idea about the existence of the language border by just looking at the AADT map? Because, honestly, I can't.

http://portal.liikennevirasto.fi/por...40B40A1B015709 (Warning, a big file)

In addition to Ostrobothnia region there are Swedish-majority areas in southern and southwestern Finland as well, though that majority isn't anywhere near 80 %, it's more like 60 %. (And of course there's Åland, but they don't have a road connection with the mainland at all.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by MattiG View Post
Only the last example refers to a strict language border: the border of an monolingual Finnish municipality to a monolingual Swedish one.
Officially, yes, but wouldn't that make a short list? And misleading as well, because road 67 goes from Finnish-only inland to the port of Finnish-majority Kaskinen. At the border there's virtually no traffic whatsoever going to or from the centre of Närpes, since that traffic would use road 673.

So I defined "strict" in a little wider sense. All by my own, I admit, but the definition can be seen there in this thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MattiG View Post
The strict policy to show the languages in their order of majority in the signs lead to funny situations:
This policy also includes that in monolingual areas the minority language is not used at all. This is easy to see in the vast monolingually Finnish areas, but it works the other way as well. Like this in Närpes:

https://maps.google.fi/?ll=62.399954...,97.71,,0,5.03

Björneborg = Pori, and obviously Vasa = Vaasa. Seinäjoki doesn't officially have a Swedish name at all, so the Finnish name is used. (There is an archaic name though, Östermyra.)

However, the road 8/E8 is an exception:

https://maps.google.fi/?ll=62.470752...54.88,,0,-1.64

Bilingual signs in monolingual Närpes. Except for Korsnäs, which in turn doesn't have a Finnish name at all.

Also, on the road 1/E18 in monolingually Finnish areas there are bilingual signs guiding towards the Swedish-majority archipelago (but not towards Helsinki or Turku).
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Old February 4th, 2013, 08:14 AM   #17
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Quote:
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However, the road 8/E8 is an exception:
It is not an exception, but different rules apply to main roads: one- or two-digit roads, motorways, and expressways. The additional rule applies only to the directional signs: In monolingual areas the target location name is shown in both languages if the majority there speaks the opposite language.

That additional rule is not known to all those who should know. This sign showing the name of Närpiö/Närpes in Finnish only is illegal:



The northern endpoint of the road 19 is Uusikaarlepyy/Nykarleby, which is a tiny bilingual town having Swedish as the major language. All the northbound direction signs on the 70 km stretch north of Seinäjoki show the name in Finnish only, which is a violation to the additional rule.



The same happens on the road 68. The victim is Pietarsaari/Jakobstad shown in Finnish only.
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Old February 4th, 2013, 08:55 AM   #18
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Interesting. Didn't know that. And apparently many of the people responsible of the signs don't know either.

(Though I'd probably change the destination on road 19 north of Seinäjoki to Kokkola anyway. Just like south of Seinäjoki it is Tampere, not Jalasjärvi.)
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Old February 4th, 2013, 10:19 AM   #19
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In Wales, the area where English is the prominent language (South Wales), on the bilingual roadsigns, they put English first, then Welsh. In the prominent Welsh speaking areas it's the other way round.
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Old February 4th, 2013, 10:35 AM   #20
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Are there also saami/sapmi roadsigns in Finland ?
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