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Old February 24th, 2012, 11:13 AM   #1601
Vaud
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I am sorry Chris, but I have to say your comparison is quite stupid. People does not voluntarily get sick, but they do voluntarily buy and drive a car. The statement "if there are more highways, there is more traffic" is proven to be true, even if just because they decrease the travel time by car. However you are right in saying the same applies to public transportation: the more services you introduce and the faster they are, there's also more users, and that's what basically you achieve with more highways for private cars.
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Old February 24th, 2012, 11:31 AM   #1602
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Quote:
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The statement "if there are more highways, there is more traffic" is proven to be true
Traffic has almost always increased, whether there has been more highway capacity or not. What has been proven true is that if traffic volumes top out due to capacity constraints and 20 years later you increase capacity because congestion becomes unacceptable, traffic volumes rise. This is not because there is more capacity, but because the demand has been higher than capacity for years and people took alternate routes.

People don't drive more because there's more highway capacity, people drive somewhere because they need to get from A to B using the most efficient mode of travel for them. In most cases, that is by car.

Traffic volumes grow because of a growing economy, population or changes in spatial planning like new office parks, industrial areas or housing developments. Not because new highway capacity becomes available.

If you want to drive somewhere, but the preferred route is constantly congested, you will strongly consider to take an alternate route, or alternate time. However, once congestion is freed up on the preferred route, you naturally return to your preferred route and time. That's most of the immediate traffic growth effects after a road widening. Not those silly arguments that people will massively leave the trains to get back into their cars. That has never happened on a significant scale. Road traffic and public transport pretty much cater to their own public, rather than strongly communicating with eachother.
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Old February 24th, 2012, 10:33 PM   #1603
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According to this article a second Gotthard tunnel (to be used later with only one lane) is being considered as an alternative for the refurbishment of the first tube. The news is that until now it was ruled out. The cost of the temporary shuttle set (apparently voluntarily) high together with political reasons has played a role in this decision. However nothing is sure, a decision may be taken this year (but in 2014 at the latest).
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Old February 24th, 2012, 10:40 PM   #1604
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Wasn't that ruled out by popular vote?
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Old February 24th, 2012, 10:56 PM   #1605
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The law prohibits an increase of capacity (between Erstfeld and Biasca, Brig and Gondo, something similar on other passes), not new roads or lanes if they remain closed.
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Old February 24th, 2012, 10:56 PM   #1606
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Increasing capacity was ruled out. Increasing the number of tubes to two was not, as long as capacity doesn't increase.

A new tube is much safer.
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Old February 24th, 2012, 11:08 PM   #1607
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vaud View Post
I am sorry Chris, but I have to say your comparison is quite stupid. People does not voluntarily get sick, but they do voluntarily buy and drive a car. The statement "if there are more highways, there is more traffic" is proven to be true, even if just because they decrease the travel time by car. However you are right in saying the same applies to public transportation: the more services you introduce and the faster they are, there's also more users, and that's what basically you achieve with more highways for private cars.
People have a natural desire for more mobility.

Except for a very, very tiny minority of people who drive for fun (I guess me and Chris are included in this negligible group), most people use cars, trains, trams or whatever to go from A to B.

Opening a new highway doesn't make people crazily drive more because of new capacity. Actually, it enables more people to travel in the area. Maybe some people can now live in a more remote town and still work in a big center. Maybe some people now shop during peak times in other cities instead of being limited to their own. Maybe real estate developers, figuring out easier travel, build more houses.

When you have a phenomena of a new highway suddenly getting full, that is only symptom of a bigger problem: capacity is still below the demand of people living in the area.

Spain is a good counterexample: they have been furiously building highways to the point they now have the 2nd best network among big countries in Europe. Building highways on axes with travel density of 10.000 vpd, and then a second highway parallel to the first one, haven't made those highways get jammed.

Negating highway capacity is merely social engineering, the bad one, in which activists take over the government and start thinking they have the right to dictate behavior change in travel patterns. They usually ally with medieval NIMBYs who can only think, care and act in terms of a 3km radius of their homes.
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Old February 27th, 2012, 04:35 AM   #1608
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Here some Swiss Highways Videos on a MAP:

http://schweizerautobahnen.blogspot.com/
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Old February 27th, 2012, 06:55 AM   #1609
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vaud View Post
I am sorry Chris, but I have to say your comparison is quite stupid. People does not voluntarily get sick, but they do voluntarily buy and drive a car. The statement "if there are more highways, there is more traffic" is proven to be true, even if just because they decrease the travel time by car. However you are right in saying the same applies to public transportation: the more services you introduce and the faster they are, there's also more users, and that's what basically you achieve with more highways for private cars.
Remember that the Dutch tried that from the 1970s though the 1990s - and they are now paying for that mistake BIG-TIME.

Mike
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Old February 27th, 2012, 10:10 AM   #1610
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nils16 View Post
Here some Swiss Highways Videos on a MAP:

http://schweizerautobahnen.blogspot.com/
Thank you, but the links "From Weinfelden TG to Zürich West /Switzerland/ Highway A7,A4,A1,A1L / 03.2010 / HD" and "From Luzern to Horgen / Autobahn A14/A4a /Schweiz / 02.2011/ 1080p HD" don't work.
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Last edited by Coccodrillo; February 27th, 2012 at 10:17 AM.
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Old February 27th, 2012, 11:29 AM   #1611
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Quote:
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Remember that the Dutch tried that from the 1970s though the 1990s - and they are now paying for that mistake BIG-TIME.

Mike
Exactly. The Dutch has an extended motorway network, but lack of lanes has caused congestion. People will still drive, no matter what. And unless public transport is extensive and cheap, people will get in their cars even if there are no roads at all to drive on. It's all a matter of adequate infrastructure, and plenty of room for people to drive their vehicles. And as efficient as the Dutch may be, they didn't see this coming, this high volume of traffic. The Dutch has one of the strongest economies in the world, and also one of the highest population per square kilometre, and this could have been prognosed in the 70's. But green leftists didn't see it like that.
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Old February 27th, 2012, 11:46 AM   #1612
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It is well known that the public transport potential in many European countries is more or less maxed out. Car usage in western Europe has been at 80 - 90% for years. Like I said before, public transport is mainly proficient at getting people to and from city centers, however car traffic is far more complex with much more criss-cross traffic patterns. Nowadays most motorway traffic is intersuburban, rural to suburb or city edges. Only a small portion of motorway traffic actually has a destination or origin in the city center.

The so-called "competition" between motor vehicle traffic and public transport hardly exists. Public transport is not a reasonable alternative for approximately 90% of the car trips. It already caters to the other 10%.

Instead of wasting money on pathetic attempts to lure motorists out of their cars, it's better to spend the money on the audience who is actually willing and already using public transport. Every country needs a good motorway network, even if there is extensive public transport. Transit-oriented locations such as Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Osaka and Seoul are good examples of that.
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Old February 27th, 2012, 02:48 PM   #1613
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The Swiss have high car usage rates as well. Despite their "acclaimed" railway network.

I don't know of a site that provides that for CH, but I bet if you could make a plot of the average time it takes for people living in narrowly defined areas (1 sq. km² each) to travel to any other square within a 100km radius (as the crow flies), car would still be far more time-competitive for the majority of the possible combinations.
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Old February 27th, 2012, 04:04 PM   #1614
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post
Instead of wasting money on pathetic attempts to lure motorists out of their cars, it's better to spend the money on the audience who is actually willing and already using public transport.
Basically agree, using public money for creating public transports structures that can make people leave the car and use public transport has a lack of sense, except for travels that have a beginning and/or end in city center.
Switzerland has the largest modal split for railways in Europe but a great majority of those railway travels are made from suburbs to city centers (S-Bahn traffic) and back. For the society it is cheaper and more efficient to create and develop railway structures (by railway I mean everything that uses rails: subway, tram, S-Bahn, etc) for such commuting than building wide motorways in a densely built area that can satisfy capacity needs.
But for every other type of travelling car rules even in Switzerland. And there is not any reason for forcing people to use public transport instead of car.
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Old February 27th, 2012, 04:59 PM   #1615
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Cars are often quicker from suburb to suburb (but speed isn't all), especially in mountainous areas. Still, the Swiss use railways more than other European countries of the same size. Some statistics, in billions of passengers*km:

Code:
    road   rail  total
BE  113    10    123
NL  149    16    165
AT  72     10    82
CH  88     20    108
Rail accounts 10% of the total, except for Switzerland where it accounts for 20%. However these numbers aren't very representative, as they don't consider bicycles.

In addition to that in Switzerland no motorways have more than 80.000 vehicles a day*, whereas in the Netherlands (although with a bigger population) some reach 260.000 or more.

*with the exception of a few motorways around Zürich, Basel and a few spots elsewhere
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Old February 27th, 2012, 05:06 PM   #1616
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Traffic volumes are no indication at all for car usage, there are too many factors such as road network density, motorway availability and population distribution.

Besides, the Netherlands has the equivalent of the entire Swiss population in an area the size of the Zürich, Aargau and Soloturn cantons, so it's comparing apples and oranges.

By the way I think the Swiss rail numbers are overstated due to the large number of tourists using them compared to other countries. That's why you can't compare the Dutch cycling with German or Swiss cycling.

For instance, the average number of annual kilometers for a Swiss car is only about 10% lower than in the Netherlands. (1.000 km)
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Old February 27th, 2012, 05:29 PM   #1617
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In addition to that in Switzerland no motorways have more than 80.000 vehicles a day.
(this also means that there isn't really a need of many road widenings)

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post
By the way I think the Swiss rail numbers are overstated due to the large number of tourists using them compared to other countries.
Not really, as a Swiss on average travels 2400 km a year by train, compared to less than 1000 for a Dutch.

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For instance, the average number of annual kilometers for a Swiss car is only about 10% lower than in the Netherlands. (1.000 km)
Where did you find these numbers?
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Old February 27th, 2012, 05:52 PM   #1618
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Where did you find these numbers?
Simple; the Bundesamt für Statistik. Just divide the number of kilometers of private passenger cars annually (55.8 billion) by the number of private cars (5.5 million) = just over 10.000 km. In the Netherlands it's 11.800 km.

I'm not sure if it's a reliable way of comparison though, because as you probably know the Dutch are used to travel by car throughout Europe, I doubt if the Swiss do that too. At least I don't see many Swiss cars outside Switzerland while the Dutch are everywhere. The average Dutch private car drives 1.750 kilometers outside the Netherlands annually (7% of the total mileage).
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Old February 27th, 2012, 06:38 PM   #1619
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There are plenty of Swiss plated cars in Italy, Austria and France.
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Old February 27th, 2012, 07:09 PM   #1620
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There are plenty of Swiss plated cars in Italy, Austria and France.
Swiss travel a lot abroad, since they have no sea at home. It's plenty of them in Italian and French seaside towns. And the recent Schengen membership help them.
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