Thousands of vehicles drive across the Storebælt Bridge on a daily basis and it has become much easier to travel to different parts of Denmark compared to the days of the ferries. Before the Storebælt fixed link was built, it took one hour to cross Storebælt. In addition to this, there was the waiting time at the ferry port and the need to plan the time of departure. Today, it takes 12 minutes to drive across, there is no waiting time and no planning to account for the ferries’ departure times is required.
It has not only become faster, but also cheaper to cross Storebælt. Today it costs DKK 193,80 to cross the bridge by car using automatic payment as PayByPlate or Brobizz®. The same trip by ferry cost DKK 335 in 1998 corresponding to DKK 472 in today’s prices – the price has, therefore, halved.
From 2006 to 2007, the number of vehicles across Storebælt increased by almost 7 per cent while traffic nationally increased by 3.2 per cent. Some of the traffic increase on Storebælt between 2005 and 2007 was due to a decrease in the toll fees in June 2005 – 20 per cent for passenger cars and 5 per cent for lorries. Moreover, in September 2005, new discount schemes were launched which, amongst other things, benefitted the leisure traveller at weekends.
In 2006, average vehicle traffic across Storebælt reached three times the level of the previous ferries.
In 2009, for the first time since its opening, the bridge experienced a 2.0 per cent decline in vehicle traffic. The decline continued into 2010 when traffic fell by 2.9 per cent. This was mainly due to the hard winter weather and the general downturn in the economy. In 2011 and 2012, traffic began to increase again and rose by 3.1 and 0.7 per cent respectively. Traffic in 2013 was on a par with traffic in 2012, but traffic in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 rose by 4.4. per cent, 4.6 per cent, 4.4 per cent and 3.0 per cent respectively.
In 2018, road traffic across Storebælt totalled 13,029,955 vehicles, which is the largest number of vehicles in the bridge’s history with a rise of 2.0 per cent compared to 2017. The expected growth in traffic as a result of the toll fee reduction on 1 January 2018, however, has not materialised. On the contrary, there was a decline in growth for passenger cars, which was 1.7 per cent in 2018 compared to 2.8 per cent in 2017, with growth rates of over 4 per cent in the two previous years.
For lorries, the increase amounted to 3.6 per cent in 2018, and thus shows a higher rate of growth compared to passenger cars. Despite the large number of public holidays, May was a record month for lorries – 135,560 in total – which corresponds to an average of 4,373 lorries per day. The significant focus on – and competition for – long-distance coach traffic is reflected in the traffic figures for Storebælt; coach traffic increased by almost 12 per cent in 2018.
The 13,029,955 vehicles correspond to a yearly traffic of 35,699 vehicles, of which passenger cars amount to 88 per cent. By comparison, in 1997, which was the last full year of ferry operation, it was transported approximately 8,200 vehicles over the Storebælt Bridge.
Number of vehicles year for year:
Train traffic has also benefitted significantly from the fixed link across Storebælt. An average of 130 trains crossed Storebælt on a daily basis in 2016 compared to 40-45 before the bridge’s opening.
In 2017, an average of 21,175 passengers travelled by train across Storebælt on a daily basis against around 12,000 when the ferries were in operation.
Number of passengers year for year:
Number of passenger and freight trains: