The Swiss Federal Council has approved a decree on the continuation of the "The Rolling Highway” (Rola) program until the end of 2026. The program makes a significant contribution to shifting transalpine freight traffic from road to rail. It transports around 105,000 trucks or semi-trailers through the Alps every year. It is suitable for those transalpine road transports that are hardly ever shifted to unaccompanied combined transport (UCT) for logistical reasons.
Rola is used to transport trucks by rail through Switzerland. The drivers travel in an accompanying passenger coach. The Rolling Highway is a key part of Switzerland's transit traffic policy and represents an economical and environmentally responsible alternative for transiting Switzerland and its Alps. The existing funding expires at the end of 2023. As part of the 2021 modal shift report, the Federal Council proposed last November to fund Rola one last time until the end of 2028 with around 20 million Swiss francs annually. The proposal met with a largely positive response in the consultation process. However, on the basis of financial policy considerations, the Federal Council has decided to continue operating Rola only until the end of 2026.
The temporary continuation of the Rola project will avoid moving trucks back onto the roads, which will help to protect the climate and the environment. Existing rolling stock specific to the Rola project can therefore be used until the end of its useful life. Thanks to the temporary continuation of Rola, return shifts to the road can be avoided and the existing Rola-specific rolling stock can be used until its end of life.
According to RAlpin, however, with the year 2026 now proposed by the Federal Council, the threat of a partial shift back to the roads of the lorries currently transported in an environmentally friendly manner by the Rolling Highway increases, as the planned shift of lorry transports to unaccompanied combined transport cannot be achieved in such a short period of time. The adopted financial framework of 64 million Swiss francs will probably not be sufficient due to higher special depreciation and it would be reasonable if the project could continue until 2028.