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Land take by transport infrastructure

Indicator Fact Sheet (Deprecated)expired
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This content has been archived on 06 Nov 2013, reason: Content not regularly updated

Assessment made on  01 Jan 2002

Generic metadata


Transport Transport (Primary theme)

Land use Land use

DPSIR: Pressure


Indicator codes
  • TERM 008
Geographic coverage:

Policy issue:  Minimise land take per transport unit

Key messages

  • Land take by transport infrastructure is increasing


Key assessment

Land resources in most of Europe are relatively scarce, and achieving a sustainable balance between competing land uses is a key issue for all development policies. The spatial impact of policies (including transport) on the European territory is therefore one of the key issues in the European spatial development perspective (ESDP) and the sixth environmental action programme.

The ESDP proposes the integration of transport policy and land-use planning to specify the appropriate location of activities requiring journeys, with focus on the development of Euro-corridors. The common transport policy aims for an optimal use of existing infrastructure and some Member States have developed land-use policies restricting additional transport developments in certain areas.

Lack of up-to-date and historical land coverage data (e.g. GIS data) hampers the accurate assessment of land �consumption� by transport. However, the increasing length of roads, particularly motorways, and the development of other roads shows that more and more land is being used for transport in the ACs as well as in the EU.

Because of its denser infrastructure networks, land taken by transport in the EU is greater than in the ACs. It is estimated that, in 1998, road and rail infrastructure claimed around 0.82 % of total surface area in the ACs and 1.3 % in the EU. Road is the biggest land consumer in the ACs as well as in the EU.

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