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Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

What does “CAFT”mean?
CAFT is an abbreviation for “Cross Alpine Freight Transport”. The name was introduced within EU projects using the CAFT data. At the beginning of the common data collection, the official name of the survey was “AQGV” – “Alpenquerender Güterverkehr” which is still used in Switzerland and Austria, at least in national publications.

What is the content of CAFT?
CAFT is a data collection of Alpine crossing freight transport covering both relevant modes, road and rail. The spatial distribution of the traffic flows as well as their characteristics are surveyed.

What is the definition of "Alpine crossing transport"?
Alpine crossing transport is any kind of transport that crosses a geographical line laid over the main ridge of the Alps. This line is defined by three different arcs:

  • Alpine Arc C covers the entire Alpine Arc from the Mediterranean sea (at Nice /Ventimiglia) up to the Danube and the Pannonian lowlands (Wechsel is regarded as the most eastern Alpine crossing).
  • Alpine Arc B is following the main ridge of the Alps from Ventimiglia to Brenner, but is then turning south following the Italian-Austrian border to Tarvisio.
  • Alpine Arc A is a subset of Arc B and Arc C, comprising the Swiss Alpine crossings plus the relevant neighbouring ones.
Boegen END3
(c) by BMVIT

> to download the graphic (Alp Arcs) as pdf click here

Alpine crossing transport according to that definition is not the same as transport within an Alpine region, e.g. Alpine region defined by Alpine convention: it includes trips having their origin and/or destination outside the region. Vice versa, it excludes trips within the region not crossing the main ridge of the Alps.

Why are CAFT data only available every five years?
Data collection is very cost intensive and requires a lot of administrative efforts. E.g. stopping of lorry drivers for interview purposes needs the support of police forces, which would not be available more frequently. As for the years in between, more aggregated figures give an overview on recent developments. (Link to ALPINFO: BAV and extraction for yearly data)

What is the definition of "good weights" at CAFT?
CAFT is considering “net net tonnes”. This means that only the weight of the goods transported is taken into consideration. The weight of containers is excluded as well as the weight of lorries using rolling road. Thus, there is a difference to the definition of weights used by the European railway statistics or by the statistics of railway enterprises. For their purpose, the total amount of tonnes transported by rail is being considered. However, the definition used for CAFT is the only one to ensure compatibility between the different modes and to calculate valuable modal split figures.

What is the difference between CAFT and the French National Transit survey?
The French part of the CAFT survey is embedded into the so-called French National ‘Transit’ survey, which aims both at covering all traffic flows crossing mountainous borders of France and at covering as much as possible of traffic flows transiting France. As a consequence, in addition to Alpine passes at the border between France and Italy, the interviews also take place at the two main passes through the Pyrenean border with Spain, as well as at Bâle at the Swiss border in order to capture a significant part of the North-West/South-East transit flows not crossing the Alps or Pyrenees. At these additional survey points there is indeed more traffic concentrated than at the French Alpine crossings.

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