Carpooling lanes to be introduced in Switzerland from 2023
The Federal Roads Office (Astra) has confirmed that Swiss cities and cantons will be able to convert lanes on roads and motorways in Switzerland into so-called “carpooling lanes”. The government explained that the scheme is designed to reduce the number of drivers in Switzerland by encouraging people to share, but have disagreed with cantonal authorities as to how the idea should be implemented.
Carpoolers in Switzerland to be given extra lane in 2023
According to 20 minuten, from January 1, 2023, local governments and councils (Gemeindes) in Switzerland will be able to use new road signs that reserve traffic lanes for people “carpooling”. The signs will indicate that the lane is for cars and other vehicles with more than two, three or four occupants, decided on a case-to-case basis. The government also confirmed that some parking spaces in large cities will be reserved for carpoolers.
Speaking to 20 minuten, the federal authorities said that it wanted to “counteract the low occupancy in Swiss cars.” They argued that a large number of traffic jams are caused by hundreds of cars that are only occupied by one person - a recent study by Astra found that there were a record-breaking number of traffic jams in Switzerland last year.
Canton Geneva to instal carpooling lanes on Swiss motorways
The carpooling signs have already been trialled at border crossings in Geneva and Ticino. Authorities in Canton Geneva have also been the first to announce that they would be implementing carpooling lanes on the motorways between Bardonnex and Perly and between Vengeron and Nyon, Canton Vaud. Other Swiss cantons are yet to announce where and when they will put the new signs up.
Organisers told 20 minuten that they hoped the lanes would make carpooling the faster option and convince more people to take public transport. However, a spokesperson for Astra said that putting the signs on motorways was not the right approach, with spokesperson Thomas Rohrbach stating that “there are no lanes in stock in Switzerland.”
Swiss government doesn't want new system on motorways
He argued that putting carpooling signs on motorways could actually make traffic worse, and the increased lane switching would make delays more likely. It also remains to be seen how the emergency services would enforce the new lane rules.
Instead, Astra said that it wanted the tool to be used in cities. "This step was primarily about giving cities a tool to give preference to carpooling, for example by allowing them to drive in bus lanes or no-driving zones," a spokesperson concluded.