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Bottlenecks and delays: Which Swiss cities have the worst traffic?

Switzerland may not be known for bad traffic, but there are some frustrating congestion points which can see people lose dozens of hours a year. Here's where it gets the worst.

The Hardbrücke in the city of Zurich. Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash
The Hardbrücke in the city of Zurich. Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash

TomTom GPS has unveiled its annual statistics for the most congested cities in the world.  

The findings cover 404 cities across 58 countries and focus on which urban areas suffer from the most congestion. 

READ MORE: Which Swiss canton has the worst drivers?

Where are Switzerland’s cities placed?

Fortunately, Switzerland again ranked relatively low from a global perspective, with no Swiss city in the top 70 internationally. 

The findings show that Geneva is the 75th worst city globally in terms of traffic jams, but first in Switzerland.

Drivers in the western Swiss city lose 69 hours each year stuck in bottlenecks.

Zurich follows closely in the 77th place and Lugano in the 93rd.

This TomTom chart shows the congestion level as well as time lost in traffic in Switzerland’s six major cities.

Geneva, Zurich and Lugano are in the second worst category globally, while Lausanne, Basel and Bern are in the third worst. 

Tom Tom uses navigation technology to see where people are moving and how fast, thereby giving an indication as to how much time is spent in traffic. 

While Geneva drivers may have lost the most time on the whole, the highest congestion was seen in Lugano, where a 75 percent rate was hit in the middle of summer 2021. 

Things could be set to get slower in Switzerland, with several Swiss cities planning to cap speed limits at 30km/h

What are the world’s worst cities and regions for traffic?

The worst city in the world for traffic is the Turkish metropolis of Istanbul, which has an average congestion level of 62 percent. 

This is followed by Moscow, Kiev, Bogota and Mumbai. 

EXPLAINED: How does roadside assistance work in Switzerland?

There are three Russian cities in the top ten, with Moscow second, St Petersburg seventh and Novosibirsk ninth. 

There are two Ukrainian cities – Kiev (third) and Odessa (sixth) – and two Indian cities, Mumbai (fifth) and Bengaluru (tenth). 

Western European cities do not feature highly in the list, with Dublin (35th), Palermo (36th) and Paris 37th). 

More information about the ranking can be seen here

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Reader question: Does the new EU automatic speed limit apply to Switzerland?

From July 6th, an EU rule requiring cars to install automatic braking technology when they cross the speed limit will come into force. What does this mean for cars in Switzerland?

Reader question: Does the new EU automatic speed limit apply to Switzerland?

The rule will only apply to new cars sold on or after the deadline, i.e. cars will not need to be retrofitted with the technology. 

What is an intelligent speed assistance system (ISA)?

Pursuant to Regulation (EU) 2019/2144, all cars sold in the EU must be equipped with an intelligent speed assistance system (ISA). 

This is a technology that automatically slows down cars breaking the speed limit. 

READ MORE: The roads and dates to avoid driving in Switzerland this summer

It uses GPS and speed cameras to determine whether a car is exceeding the speed limit in that area, and then prompts the driver to slow down before gently pushing back on the acceleration pedal and automatically reducing engine propulsion.

From July 2022, all new car models sold in the EU will have to have this technology installed. From 2024, even older car models being sold will have to have to be equipped.

From July 6th cars will also be required to have a black box which records a range of driving parameters like speed, acceleration or braking phases, wearing (or not) of a seat belt, indicator use, the force of the collision or engine speed, in case of accidents.

This information will be available to the police only in the event of an accident and will not be accessible by insurance companies. It will also not be available to the police for the purpose of checking speeding fines. 

What about cars in Switzerland? 

The rules will also apply in Switzerland. 

While Switzerland is not a member of the EU, it is a party to several agreements which mean certain EU regulations apply here as well. 

This means that all cars sold in Switzerland after July 6th will need to comply. 

Why is the rule coming into place? 

The major reason is road safety. 

READ MORE: What is Switzerland’s ‘traffic calendar’ and how can it help me save time?

In Switzerland, along with several other EU countries, speeding is the most common cause of accidents. 

The rule hopes to reduce accidents by 20 percent. 

While many modern cars already have this technology on board, this will be the first time it is mandated.