Learning from Switzerland

why there are fewer traffic jams in Switzerland and what the Netherlands could learn from this

Traffic jams and the lack of a strong public transport network define the infrastructural layout of the Netherlands in the last decades. The Mittelland of Switzerland shows striking similarities with the Randstad in Holland. Both are defined by a polycentric network of cities, have an equal number of inhabitants and also the lineal meters of asphalt are roughly the same. Even so, there are approximately 50% less traffic jams in the Mittelland.
In the publication Learning from Switzerland, ZUS and Topotronic explore the causes by comparing the present situations in Switzerland and the Netherlands. Apparently the Swiss landscape of mountains and valleys is the perfect base for a structural development of linear cities; urbanized areas where public transport can be exploited efficiently. The Netherlands do not have such a profitable landscape and the anti-urban policy up till the eighties (spreading urbanization) was the starting point for inevitable congestion. In the research some basic spatial concepts are taken from Switzerland. These spatial concepts are then applied to three Dutch case studies (Rotterdam, Utrecht and Dordrecht), the urbanization since 1950  is re-done: the Swiss way.

This research is done by ZUS and Topotronic, financed by the Stimuleringsfonds voor Architectuur and the Provincial Departments of Zuid Holland and Utrecht.


Name: Learning from Switzerland
Author: Topotronic and ZUS
Date: 2011
Client: Province of Utrecht, Province of South-Holland and Stimuleringsfonds voor Architectuur
Status: Publication
Jointly with: Arjan Harvers - Topotronic
Language: Dutch