In the heart of the mountains, Switzerland is now covered with a network of ecomobile routes, developed and managed by a consortium of organisations. This national network called SwitzerlandMobility is intended for non-motorised traffic, in particular for leisure and tourism.
Background & Objectives
The aim of the ecomobile network is to make Switzerland an "active leisure paradise", through non-motorised traffic. Everything is designed so that visitors can move around without cars: walking, biking, mountain biking, rollerblading, canoeing, in conjunction with public transport. In total there are 22 national routes and many regional routes, all clearly signposted. Welcoming a growing number of visitors to these routes, the partners of SwitzerlandMobility went further by offering tourists and hikers the chance to book their accommodation along the route. SwitzerlandMobility is a very advanced project and a real pioneer in this field. It is a great example of an effective system where all the information about the mobility chains, and the services around them, is easily accessible and readable. The strong partnerships with private businesses in the tourism sector are also a good example for similar initiatives to follow.
In 1993, a few cycling enthusiasts had the idea of creating a set of national cycle routes in Switzerland. From this "Cycling in Switzerland" was born, composed of organisations from traffic, sports and tourism. 9 routes, encompassing more than 3000 kms, were identified and marked by the cantons. This idea was extended in 1999 to the Swiss Hiking Federation.
There are a total of 24000 kms of routes:.
- 9000 km of hiking trails;
- 9000 km of tracks suitable for cycling;
- 4500 km of trails and bike routes;
- 1100 km route suitable for skates;
- 350 km canoe-accessible rivers and lakes.
550 stops are served by public transport (bus and train) to provide comfortable conditions for the visitor who can thus combine various modes of travel. All public transport stops and schedules are shown on the interactive map of the website. Signs signalling "slow traffic" have been introduced, which is the only standard in the world for signs of non-motorised traffic.
SwitzerlandMobility combines these routes with a diverse range of services: accommodation, bike rental, transport of luggage. These services for tourists are provided in connection with SwissTrails that prepares and sells offers for national and regional routes. These offers include travel by train or bus, booking accommodation, luggage transfer, bike rental, guides and documentation, telephone support, advice, etc. Another partner of SwitzerlandMobility, Rent a Bike, handles the bike rental stations (numbering 100) that can usually be found in train stations. Rented bikes can be returned to any station.
It is hard to quantify the number of visitors who explore SwitzerlandMobility routes on their own. Using bookings through SwissTrails as an indicator, the company increased its turnover by 18% in 2009, compared to 2008, on the SwitzerlandMobility national routes. 5500 active visitors (up from 4500 the year before) reserved SwissTrails nights and generated 30000 nights (up from 24000 the year before). As far as the costs for visitors are concerned, these vary according to their choices of routes and accommodation. This active tourism, with a strong link to nature, attracts many visitors from neighbouring countries: France, Italy, Germany, etc.