Diminishing effects of location? Some evidence from Swiss municipalities, 1950-2000

Boris A. Portnov, Kay W. Axhausen, Martin Tschopp, Moshe Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper analyzes how location has affected, in the second half of the twentieth century, the population growth of 2889 municipalities in Switzerland. The analysis demonstrates the temporal relativity of location attributes, even for small territorial divisions, such as the Swiss cantons. However, we also show that, both absolute and relative location attributes have weakened over time as population growth predictors, apparently due to improving road infrastructures, and growing motorization. The study has been made possible by a detailed historical population and accessibility database available for Swiss municipalities. To the best of our knowledge, no database of such scope and quality is available for any other European country.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1368-1378
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Transport Geography
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The data for this study were collated and generated at the Institute for Transport Planning and System (IVT), ETH Zürich funded by the Swiss National Fund (SNF) and the Bundeamt für Verkehr (BAV), Bern. The historical networks were the work of P. Fröhlich, which is gratefully acknowledged.


  • 1950-2000
  • Accessibility
  • Location
  • Population growth of municipalities
  • Switzerland

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Transportation
  • General Environmental Science


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