Passenger transport demand by mode and purpose
Assessment made on 01 Apr 2004
ClassificationTransport (Primary theme)
DPSIR: Driving force
- TERM 012
Policy issue: Break the link between economic growth and passenger transport growth.
Passenger transport has grown in almost all countries hampering efforts to limit the environmental impacts of transport. Growth has roughly paralleled growth in GDP. However, since 1999 a slight decoupling of economic development and passenger transport has appeared, possibly a result of increasing fuel prices.
Passenger transport continues to be dominated by the car, with a share of 72 % of total passenger-kilometres. The share of air transport has increased strongly, while bus/coach and rail transport have both declined slowly. The objective of increasing the share of alternative modes has not been achieved.
Transport demand grows
Passenger transport demand has grown steadily in the EEA-23 over the past decade, thereby making it increasingly difficult to reduce the environmental consequences of transport.
Most countries saw growth every year, but there are a few exceptions, notably Germany, where demand has declined since 1999.
Passenger transport demand per capita also increased during the nineties to above 10 000 km in the EEA-23 in 2001. There are several factors underlying the strong relation between passenger transport demand and economic growth and hence the continuing growth of passenger-km.
Decline of alternative modes
The slow decline of bus/coach and rail passenger transport demand is a problem in light of the objective of stabilizing and eventually increasing the shares of alternative modes. On EEA-23 level the decline is nevertheless slow. However, for the five new member states where data is available the decline has been much greater, and is probably greater yet if the 1990-1993 period is included. The decline may be related to increased car ownership in those countries. Intra-EU rail transport competes with air transport. The upcome of low-cost carriers has made rail transport less favoured for longer distances. Besides, international rail connections are still slowed down by border-crossings. High-speed rail lines are developing quickly to better compete with air transport, but, without internalizing the external costs of transport, air transport growth may continue to outpace growth in long-distance rail transport.
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