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Old December 8th, 2010, 10:49 PM   #1061
Magnus Brage
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Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post


routes.tomtom.com

The great thing about TomTom HDtraffic is that it also detects traffic congestion on roads and motorways where there are no frequent detection loops (which are more motorways than you might think). This way, traffic congestion due to snowfall can be mapped much more accurate than with the traditional traffic information.
Great site, I scrolled the maps.

Stockholm: No surprices same light congestions (by nordic means) at Essingeleden, Norrtull, Frescati. I drove a taxicab there for 6 years so I know.

Paris: Hmm looked like all hell broke loose.

Moscow Nothing ?? can't be ..does this map really cover all cities ?
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Old December 10th, 2010, 12:54 AM   #1062
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It was in the news today that the canton of Uri is backing a proposal to construct a second tube at the Gotthard tunnel before the large renovation after 2020, which will need to shut down the existing tube.

However, there is of course the utterly ridiculous thing that it is not allowed by law that the capacity of trans-alpine routes increases.

But is the adding of a second tube in addition to the existing one actually increasing capacity? I don't think so, because the A2 has both north and south of the tunnel already 2x2 lanes. This means there is a local capacity increase, but as a whole, the capacity of the Gotthard trans-alpine route does not increase by building a second tube.

Aside from the technical definitions of "increasing capacity", there are also the so-called "problems" concerning transit traffic. There are no high traffic volumes on A2. The problems are extremely exaggerated, almost the entire A2 between Lopper and Bellinzona does not exceed 20.000 vehicles per day on average. Only the summer peaks are much larger. If you drive outside the summer weekends, you'll find an empty A2 with a truck and a few cars every now and then.

I made a video of the A2 towards the Gotthard Tunnel in 2009. Here you can see the "insane transit traffic":

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Old December 10th, 2010, 01:41 AM   #1063
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It was in the news today that the canton of Uri is backing a proposal to construct a second tube at the Gotthard tunnel before the large renovation after 2020, which will need to shut down the existing tube.
Because of the law, the propositions are for a new two lane tunnel, but with one opened so as to have one traffic lane plus a full width emergency lane. This one is for a new bidirectional tunnel, which would leave the existing one as a service tunnel. But it's clear that these two unused lanes would not remain closed for long.

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However, there is of course the utterly ridiculous thing that it is not allowed by law that the capacity of trans-alpine routes increases.
It's maybe too limiting, but I prefer a too strict law that nothing.

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But is the adding of a second tube in addition to the existing one actually increasing capacity?
One should check the exact text of the law, but it generally says that increasing capacity on transalpine roads is forbidden, which is too vague. If "transalpine" is read as "crossing a main watershed" then any capacity increase on roads like Rawil, Simplon, Lötschberg,F urka, Gotthard, San Bernardino would be banned.

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...there are also the so-called "problems" concerning transit traffic.
It's mainly truck traffic that is looked with angry, especially long distance freight traffic that really doesn't need to go by road (it's not like Dutch or Germans carrying tons of luggage going to Italy on holydays as fast as possible). Then there is the famous (or infamous for you) limit to 650.000 trucks per year, originally to be introduced in 2009, now postponed to 2019.

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If you drive outside the summer weekends, you'll find an empty A2 with a truck and a few cars every now and then.
That's why a second Gotthard tunnel would never be considered financially doable: it has too few traffic to be considered saturated and with a need of capacity increase. There are more used roads, railways and transport infrastructures in general in Switzerland that are really saturated, but where capacity increase is not considered urgent because of "high" cost. I know mainly railways, there are some with 400-500 daily trains on two tracks and 170 on single track, that is nearly the double of what is usually considered "saturation" for a railway (you can't really compare trains and road vehicle numbers - but I think it's comparable to 200.000 daily vehicles on a 2x2 motorway, if you consider 130.000 as the limit for a free flowing traffic on a 2x2).

As for the peak days, I would try to use the existing tunnel one-way (even if there are sometimes long queues at both ends, usually the big flow is in one direction only), and/or forbid completely trucks in these days so to allow more vehicles per hour (today limited around to 1.000 per hour per direction because of safety - trucks counting fo 2 or 3).
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Old December 10th, 2010, 01:54 AM   #1064
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Then there is the famous (or infamous for you) limit to 650.000 trucks per year, originally to be introduced in 2009, now postponed to 2019.
This is so extremely ridiculous it's almost sad it's actually proposed by "experts" or politicians. This translates to 1.780 trucks per day on arguably one of the most import transalpine routes in Europe. Completely unrealistic. Traffic, including truck traffic will grow. No fancy Gotthard base tunnel is going to change that, unless you simply ban all truck traffic from A2. For comparison; normal truck routes in Europe carry around 2.500.000 trucks per year, with some up to 7.300.000 trucks per year. With these statistics at hand, you can see how ridiculous a limit of 650.000 trucks is. Such limits would work at village roads, not international transit routes.

I can't believe you have politicians in Switzerland that live in some kind of dream world or sky castle. The total lack of reality is astounding...

You can't act like some kind of isolated state while you're in the crossroads of Europe!

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I know mainly railways, there are some with 400-500 daily trains on two tracks and 170 on single track, that is nearly the double of what is usually considered "saturation" for a railway (you can't really compare trains and road vehicle numbers - but I think it's comparable to 200.000 daily vehicles on a 2x2 motorway, if you consider 130.000 as the limit for a free flowing traffic on a 2x2).
The maximum free-flowing daily traffic volume for a 2x2 motorway is around 75.000 vehicles per day, though volumes up to 120.000 are known to exist. The traffic volume of A2 is around 20.000 vehicles per day.

Last edited by ChrisZwolle; December 10th, 2010 at 02:03 AM.
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Old December 10th, 2010, 02:17 AM   #1065
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This translates to 1.780 trucks per day on arguably one of the most import transalpine routes in Europe. Completely unrealistic.
Some people say that pollution and noise of traffic on mountain routes is the triple than on flat roads - so actual traffic would be comparable to 3.000.000 trucks. Whether this is true or not, traffic in mountains is really more noisy than on flat plains.

So, provided there is an alternative at a similar cost and speed, I don't see a truck ban as a limit to freight traffic. That's a different position from, say, Susa valley which protest against both a new railway and a second Fréjus road tunnel (and to more truck traffic).

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The traffic volume of A2 is around 20.000 vehicles per day.
So A2 runs at around 1/4 of its capacity (or something below a capacity limit for a 1x2 lane tunnel, outside peak days).

As I said, there are single tracks railways with 6 trains per hour per direction where capacity increase is not considered urgent (despite there is demand for it) ==> nearly no hope for an usually empty road.

There are also road bottlenecks or roads with much more traffic without funding available for widenings, but I don't know them so I can't compare.
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Old December 10th, 2010, 04:52 AM   #1066
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The issue is that:

(1) car traffic is way, way more seasonal than truck traffic on Gotthard pass (road + tunnel) and in transalpine traffic in general. Of course, you can't plan an infrastructure to cope with the (in)famous "bollino nero" days (black mark days), those 3-5 critical weekends + Fridays and some holidays in highways get clogged. You don't design transport infrastructure to operate with comfort and good buffer capacity at 10-15 peak days per year

(2) because of that, an increase in truck traffic would make more feasible to bore a second tube on Gotthard on the short term. CH should reconsider its position giving the astonishing developments in cleaner diesel engines. A new truck pollute (in terms of harmful emissions at point of use, CO2, no matter the fuss about global warming, is harmless at point of emission, e.g., the exhausting pipes), as per kW/ton, 60% less than a 10-year-old one.

(3) Gotthard base tunnel will NOT allow RO-LA operations due to safety concerns (from having a lot of fuel-loaded trucks in a 50-km tunnel). This hinders just-in-time operations and increases costs of certain logistic operations that can't spare no time.

Thus, a second one-lane bore would still be useful there. There is a pilot bore right by the current tunnel. They could build 2 new lanes to leave them open while the tunnel will be renovated, then, converting it into 2 bores, each with lane+shoulder+small left shoulder, until car traffic puts pressure and incentive the Swiss to reconsider their position (there is no way any car shuttle can take care of summer leisure traffic on alpine passes anyway)
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Old December 10th, 2010, 09:49 AM   #1067
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(1) that's why a new road tunnel would never be built for capacity reasons

(2) new diesel engines are a good thing, anyway

(3) the GBT will allow Rola just like the LBT (Lötschberg) or the Channel Tunnel were Rola are already running, the problem is on access railway lines that prevent trucks higher than 3.80 m (except in the GBT itself), but the target is to transport freight, contaienrs, swap bodies and semitrailers (these also hindered by the height limit), not entire trucks

(4) the second tunnel would certainly not reuse the existing pilot-safety tunnel, but would be a completely new bore
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Last edited by Coccodrillo; December 10th, 2010 at 10:40 AM.
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Old December 10th, 2010, 11:44 AM   #1068
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Some people say that pollution and noise of traffic on mountain routes is the triple than on flat roads - so actual traffic would be comparable to 3.000.000 trucks. Whether this is true or not, traffic in mountains is really more noisy than on flat plains.
I agree on the noise issue. I can't say how much this is exactly, but ascending trucks make more noise indeed. I'm not sure if the same amount of descending trucks would offset this though.

However, I do not agree on pollution. When the Alpinitiative was implemented in 1994, we had euro 1 norm. Today most of the trucks have euro 4 or 5, which means emissions are about 70 - 90% lower than that of 1994. Which in turn means the number of trucks can increase by that amount before you return to the "no growth cap" of the Alpinitiative of 1994. Of course this won't happen, but it gives you an idea.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Europea...Goods_Vehicles

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So A2 runs at around 1/4 of its capacity (or something below a capacity limit for a 1x2 lane tunnel, outside peak days).
17.000 vehicles on the Gotthard tunnel means it is approaching capacity outside peak days.


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There are also road bottlenecks or roads with much more traffic without funding available for widenings, but I don't know them so I can't compare.
I agree, but the Gotthard tunnel is a far larger traffic safety problem than a regularly saturated motorway. Plus the holiday peaks are much worse here than on any other Swiss motorway.

That said, the Gotthard peak problem goes beyond a few summer Saturdays, as is sometimes suggested. It is frequently congested in weekends, maybe not 4 hour delays, but up to 2 hours are also common during winter months and regular weekends as many people go to subtropical Ticino for the weekend. And in those weekends, it are mainly the Swiss themselves who causes the problems.

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the target is to transport freight, contaienrs, swap bodies and semitrailers (these also hindered by the height limit), not entire trucks
That is exactly why the Gotthard base tunnel is not going to reduce truck traffic on the A2. Virtually all LGV's are over 3.8 m high. Besides that, the Germans aren't exactly eager to invest in connecting rail lines. (search for Betuweroute or Rheintalbahn). This whole Swiss idea about truck traffic disappearing in favor of rail freight is just a pipe dream at the expense of the gullible tax payer...
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Old December 10th, 2010, 01:14 PM   #1069
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When the Alpinitiative was implemented in 1994, we had euro 1 norm. Today most of the trucks have euro 4 or 5, which means emissions are about 70 - 90% lower than that of 1994.
True.

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17.000 vehicles on the Gotthard tunnel means it is approaching capacity outside peak days.
But doesn't surpass it - in winter traffic is as low as 12.000 vehicles per day. And as I said there are many other saturated transport infrastructures cheaper to improve but still without funding...both road and railway.

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This whole Swiss idea about truck traffic disappearing in favor of rail freight is just a pipe dream at the expense of the gullible tax payer...
But until now, even without a truck ban (except for sundays and nights), it worked, also but not only because of the single tube.
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Old December 10th, 2010, 01:20 PM   #1070
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...
Can't add anything more to what's already been commented by Coccodrillo, but I want to underline the lack of funds to commit on such project, something which seems not to have been clearly understood. Was there plenty money coming out of an oil rig I wouldn't mind the tunnel being doubled, but as he's said, right now there are many other priorities in the country before this one that can't either be built due the lack of funds and they've been waiting in some cases literally for decades. Such is the example of the third rail between Lausanne and Genèva or the CEVA which is progressing very slowly. There's also the moral grounds of not understanding why should the swiss taxpayer pay for an infrastructure to be used by trucks crossing the whole country from one side to the other, but that's a different story.
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Old December 10th, 2010, 01:22 PM   #1071
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But until now, even without a truck ban (except for sundays and nights), it worked, also but not only because of the single tube.
If it really worked, you wouldn't need excessive truck tolls or the 650.000 truck/year limit.

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There's also the moral grounds of not understanding why should the swiss taxpayer pay for an infrastructure to be used by trucks crossing the whole country from one side to the other, but that's a different story.
I assume you have never heard of the Schwerverkehrsabgabe? Trucks pay around € 200 to cross Switzerland one way!

If you have 1.500 trucks per day crossing Switzerland, they pay around € 110 million per year in tolls. Add the toll vignettes to that, and you can construct the Gotthard second tube solely on the expense of foreigners. This must appeal to SVP-voters I assume.
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Old December 10th, 2010, 01:31 PM   #1072
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I assume you have never heard of the Schwerverkehrsabgabe? Trucks pay around € 200 to cross Switzerland one way!

If you have 1.500 trucks per day crossing Switzerland, they pay around € 110 million per year in tolls. Add the toll vignettes to that, and you can construct the Gotthard second tube solely on the expense of foreigners. This must appeal to SVP-voters I assume.
These €200 are charged for the conservation of the infrastructure used by those lorries. If you use that money to build a tunnel then there wouldn't be anything left for the extra maintenance and it would again be the swiss taxpayer who would have to pay for it, so we're at the same point.
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Old December 10th, 2010, 01:36 PM   #1073
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If it really worked, you wouldn't need excessive truck tolls or the 650.000 truck/year limit.
Actually the tax for transiting trucks is around 200 € (but this varies a little for the various euro classes), that is less than the 270 € for the two France-Italy tunnels alone (without counting the toll of access motorways).

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There's also the moral grounds of not understanding why should the swiss taxpayer pay for an infrastructure to be used by trucks crossing the whole country from one side to the other, but that's a different story.
I agree that Switzerland cannot simply forbid transit traffic, as this has effects on Italy and Germany neighbors with whose has economical relations, but as long as it provides an alternative, I don't see why it should allow this transit by road.
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Old December 10th, 2010, 01:36 PM   #1074
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Yeah, the idea of the Swiss paying for their own road network is absurd, I know. Only foreigners should pay!

I agree with the trucks being tolled more heavily in the Alps though. But the idea of introducing a limit on truck traffic is absurd, especially since it will most likely grow like elsewhere in Europe. The only reason these trucks drive are us consumers. Just like you like to buy stuff in Switzerland, they like to buy stuff in Germany and Italy as well, and that is why you have truck traffic.

Last edited by ChrisZwolle; December 10th, 2010 at 01:42 PM.
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Old December 10th, 2010, 01:41 PM   #1075
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Yeah, the idea of the Swiss paying for their own road network is absurd, I know. Only foreigners should pay!
I'll take this sarcasm as a joke considering Switzerland is building out of its own pocket without anybody's aid the longest rail tunnel to date, and most of the decision to build it was taken with transit traffic in mind.
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Old December 10th, 2010, 01:44 PM   #1076
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Of course it was a joke. I am not against the Gotthard base tunnel per se, but I think a second Gotthard tube is necessary for multiple reasons, including traffic safety, redundancy of the transalpine road network and reduction of traffic congestion. The whole concept of truck traffic disappearing out of the transalpine routes, and I repeat, there is no truck problem at all on transalpine routes, is just not realistic.
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Old December 10th, 2010, 01:47 PM   #1077
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...and reduction of traffic congestion.
As I have already said Swiss ministry of transport would reply that there are other worse bottlenecks without funding - we can talk days on this point, but that it is.
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Old December 10th, 2010, 06:12 PM   #1078
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I am researching the history of the Swiss interchanges. I came up with something interesting in the northeast of Zürich.

I always thought A3W was supposed to connect to A1L, as both were built around the same time in the mid-1960's, and were in fact the earliest motorways in Zürich. Around 1966 the A1L-A1-A51 (Zürich - Kloten) was completed. The A1 Dübendorf - Winterthur was completed around 1975.

See Landkartenarchiv:
http://www.landkartenarchiv.de/cgi-b...9&ost=1.307143
http://www.landkartenarchiv.de/cgi-b...8&ost=1.394231

You can also see the section between Verzweigung Zürich-Ost and Dübendorf was one of the last sections to be completed in the eastern side of Zürich. This is weird, since it is the busiest motorway section in Switzerland today with 138.900 vehicles per day (2009).

However, if we look at the Dübendorf exit, and the Brüttiseller Kreuz, you can see these were built with an extension in mind.

Now my theory is that A1 was supposed to run directly from Verzweigung Zürich-Nord to the Brüttiseller Kreuz, a route slightly north of the current route. It seems that the current A1 was not planned, at least not in the early years of motorway construction (i.e. the 1960's). Then there would've been an A3-A1 connection from Zürich-City (A3W) to the Dübendorf exit, which would complete the Zürich beltway and is a missing link until today.

I have visualized it here:


Apparantly there were serious plans for this:

Last edited by ChrisZwolle; December 10th, 2010 at 06:37 PM.
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Old December 10th, 2010, 06:15 PM   #1079
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Schwerverkehrsabgabe? Translation please?
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Old December 11th, 2010, 12:30 AM   #1080
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@ Chris: If I remember correctly, in the early planning stage there were plans to build a Autobahndreieck in the middle of Zurich itself, i. e. let run A1 right through the centre and connect it with a Autobahn on the Western side of Lake Zurich there (A3 on a bridgo over the Sihl further in direction of Hauptbahnhof).
I'm not sure about this, though. It was quite a long tima ago that I heard about something like that.
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