Impacts of the mobility on the environment

What impact does mobility have on the environment in Switzerland? Effects of mobility on tranquillity, air, climate, soil, landscape, biodiversity, waste and raw materials.


Transport is the main cause of noise pollution in Switzerland. According to model calculations, every seventh person is exposed to harmful or disturbing road traffic noise. 1-2% of the population is affected by excessive noise levels caused by rail traffic, which is similar to the percentage of people affected by air traffic.


About half of the air pollution caused by nitrogen oxides and around one-fourth of the air pollution caused by particulate matter can be attributed to motorised transport. Ozone generated by the combination of nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds in the summer is another substance that poses a risk to health.


In 2016, 31.7% of all greenhouse gases emitted in Switzerland originated from motorised transport. In 2000, transport’s share was still 30.6%. In contrast to the significant reductions achieved in the buildings sector, greenhouse gas emissions from transport have actually risen slightly since 1990. These figures do not include emissions from international air transport.


With a 2.3% share of the national territory, roads, railways and other transport infrastructures put a strain on the limited resource of soil.



Transport infrastructures are – together with housing – a fundamental cause of urban sprawl.


The construction of transport infrastructures destroys the directly affected habitats (sealing) and fragments neighbouring habitats.


Waste and raw materials

Overall, the total mass of Swiss mobility is approximately 11 mio t, in which steel clearly dominates, at approximately 7 mio t. When broken down into vehicle categories, at 7 mio t, passenger cars make up almost two-thirds of the entire mobile mass.

While the total environmental impact of Swiss mobility is dominated by energy use, whose share is about three-fourths, materials make up about a one-fourth share. Among the materials, metals in particular (14.9% overall) cause considerable ecological effects. Despite their small share of the mass, i.e. 0.1%, electronics also make up a significant share, i.e. 4.3%, of the total environmental impact.

Last modification 30.11.2018

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