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Development of cooperation in data collection

Since the 1970s surveys on road transport have been carried out in France, Switzerland and Austria. The key element of these surveys is a sample based survey of interviews of lorry drivers.

In Switzerland, since the opening of Gotthard road tunnel in 1980, data on Alpine crossing transport have been collected systematically, considering both road and rail. Information on road  transport has been collected by use of road side interviews.

In Austria at that time road side interviews have been carried out on all major routes, not only concentrating on the Alpine crossings.

In France roadside interviews have been implemented for a long time only in the context of specific infrastructure projects, without specifically paying attention to the consistency of the various data sets. A first national survey by use of roadside interviews about freight transport was conducted from July 1992 to June 1993, with a major aim to increase the knowledge about the traffic transiting France, using the Alpine and Pyrenean crossings as locations where this type of traffic flows are being concentrated.

In 1994 Switzerland took the initiative to establish a cooperation of the three Alpine countries in the field of data collection.  At that stage existing national data sources were harmonised and integrated into a common data base, although the national surveys themselves were carried out independently: In Austria and Switzerland similar surveys took place in 1994. In France, as it was not possible to repeat the survey within a short period of time, the 1992/1993 national transit survey had been used, expanding the interview results on the basis of 1994 traffic.

The integration of the different data sources was carried out in charge of the Swiss “Dienst für Gesamtverkehrsfragen.”

In 1999 a harmonised survey was carried out by each of the three Alpine countries for the first time. The harmonisation did concern:

  • the general approach of surveying and sampling, which was aiming to come up with representative figures for the entire year,
  • the questions and the possible categories of answers and
  • the exchange of data in a harmonised format.

In principle it was possible to combine the different data sets easily in a common data set covering Alpine transport.

This data soon turned out to be an important data source for transalpine transport. While using the date in several projects like EU-funded projects, the now common “brand-name” “CAFT” has been established.

The last step of the development of the CAFT survey was based on the Zurich Process. Once again, the survey was carried out in 2004 by France, Switzerland and Austria. But the data collection and calculations had been placed under the umbrella of the Working Group dealing with the Mobility in Alpine Region, chaired by Italy. The counts, which the expansion of the CAFT surveys is based on, as well as some global results, have been crosschecked with Italian statistics. Thus, CAFT data are being considered as the common data base for all Alpine countries. The results of the CAFT Survey were presented at the meeting of the Transport Ministers at Lyon under the French presidency of the Zurich Process.

copyright by BMVIT
Bundesministerium für Verkehr, Bau und Stadtentwicklung (Germany) Ministère de l'Écologie, de l'Energie, du Développement durable et de l'Aménagement du territoire (France) Ministero delle Infrastrutture e dei Trasporti (Italy) Bundesminsiterium für Innovation, Verkehr und Technologie (Austria) Eidgenössisches Departement für Umwelt, Verkehr, Energie und Kommunikation (Switzerland) Ministrstvo za promet (Slovenia) Directorate General Energy and Transport