Moving towards the future

downloadBy today’s standards it is not much more than a surprisingly small, yellow and black lacquered plywood box. But in the 1840’s, drawn by five horses, it grandly ushered in a new era, putting Switzerland at the crossroads of major transport corridors in Europe and thereby reshaping the country’s geographic, political and social contexts: The first stagecoach negotiating the hair-raising hairpin turns of the then newly opened road over the Gotthard pass.

As in many industrialized countries, the transport system in Switzerland has since evolved with ever increasing speed. Not just in the Gotthard region, where in 1882, the pass road was outclassed by the opening of the railway tunnel. Almost exactly one hundred years later, the motorway tunnel started operating, dwarfed today by the rail base tunnel whose 57 km make it the world’s longest tunneling project.

Technology Assessment (TA) is well-placed to know that such technological feats entail opportunities as well as risks. Greater mobility, better means of communication and improved transport systems have to be balanced with ever increasing numbers of infrastructure users, traffic congestion, pollution and environmental impacts as well as exploding costs in financial as well as social terms. By furnishing independent and credible analyses, TA provides policy options intended to guide technological developments for the good of society.

The EPTA report 2017 provides an overview of mobility pricing in different countries as well as their plan to tackle the challenge of managing mobility in the near future. It is part of a series of similar reports compiled every year by the respective presidency of the EPTA network1. As in previous editions, it is a collection of contributions written from the perspectives of different full and associate members of EPTA.

As such, it can be read as a stand alone survey of the transport policy situation in 16 industrialised countries, but it also provides an information basis for the issues that have been addressed by the international  EPTA conference “Shaping the Future of Mobility” hosted by TA-SWISS in the Swiss Transport Museum in Lucerne on November 8, 2017 –Switzerland’s most popular museum. You will find most of the presentations on our website.

Sergio Bellucci, Director of TA-SWISS and this year’s EPTA president

(Illustration: The Post Office Stage Coach, Oil Painting by Rudolf Koller)

 

 

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