Transalpine passenger transport

In 2021, an average of 74 300 persons per day crossed the main Swiss Alpine ridge by road (in both directions) in 32 700 passenger cars and coaches and on 1600 motorcycles. The most heavily used crossing was the Gotthard tunnel: Nearly 43% of the people who crossed the Swiss Alps used this route. This was followed by the San Bernardino with 20%.

Alpine crossings by rail totalled an average of 11 800 persons per day. The majority of travellers (65%) by rail also used the Gotthard.

Compared with the last survey in 2015, transalpine traffic by road fell by 20% and by rail by 28%. The main reason for this was probably the COVID-19 pandemic.

Percentage shares of different traffic types: source and destination traffic, transit and domestic traffic

Transalpine passenger transport by road is made up of three similarly sized parts: domestic traffic, source/destination traffic (journeys from Switzerland to another country or vice versa) and transit traffic. As would be expected, for Alpine crossings very close to the national border, the shares of international traffic are greater.

In transalpine rail transport, journeys within Switzerland, i.e. domestic traffic, dominate with a share of two thirds. In this sector, transit traffic is practically non-existent.

Transalpine passenger transport by type of traffic, 2021
  Road Rail
  Average number of persons per day (in both directions)1 Share in % Average number of persons per day (in both directions) Share in %
Source/destination traffic: CH – abroad or abroad – CH  
25 072 34 3 688 31
Transit traffic:
abroad – abroad
22 892 31  160 1
Domestic traffic:
CH – CH
26 327 35 7 978 67
1) by passenger car, motorcycle or coach
Note: The different percentage values were rounded separately. Therefore, their sum does not always add up to exactly 100%.
Source: FSO – Transalpine and cross-border passenger transport (A+GQPV)

Purpose of travel

The majority of people who crossed the main ridge of the Swiss Alps in 2021 did so in the context of leisure activities. In road transport, the share of leisure traffic was particularly large at 87%, but leisure also accounted for almost two-thirds of rail transport at 64%. The largest share of commuters was recorded at the Simplon, namely 17% by road and 33% by rail.

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