System comparison UCT-Rola

"As much UCT as possible – as little Rola as necessary"

Unaccompanied combined transport (UCT) and the Rolling Highway (Rola) differ greatly in terms of transportation method. In UCT only the loading units are loaded onto the train, while the driver and the traction engine remain at the terminal. On Rola, the entire truck including the driver travel by train.


Consequently, the net load capacity of Rola trains is lower than that of UCT. An average Rola train transports approx. 20 trucks, while a UCT train moves up to 36 road consignments. This results in higher production costs per transported unit. Added to this is the inefficient use of scarce rail line capacities. Other aspects which adversely affect the Rola system include significantly higher acquisition and maintenance costs for the required special wagons.


As far as the environment is concerned, the scale also tips in favour of UCT compared to Rola. The average transportation distance in UCT is considerably longer. Rola shifts shipments to the railroad only for relatively short distances. Additionally, the CO2 savings of UCT shipments are significantly higher than on Rola.


Of the combined transports through the Swiss Alps approximately 850,000 road consignments are currently attributable to UCT and 100,000 to Rola. This ratio should be maintained in the future. The transportation policy focuses on UCT. Rola, on the other hand, plays an important supporting role, because it also accommodates transports which lack the special equipment that is required for UCT.


Hupac opposes a substantial expansion of the Rolling Highway, because it would jeopardize the development of UCT, which is economically and ecologically more efficient. The scarce rail line capacities would be used for a system that requires three times as much in subsidies at half the load capacity and therefore it is considerably more expensive per consignment.

 System comparison UCT-Rola


 UCT Rola
Net weight per train Ø750 t 400 t
Average transport distance800 km     300 km
CO2 emissions per consignment-km
in comparison with road
Investment costs per wagon  
Wagon maintenance costs  
Need for subsidies per consignment  


The cost-benefit ratio of UCT is considerably more favourable than that of the Rolling Highway.