Passenger transport demand by mode and purpose
Assessment made on 01 Mar 2005
ClassificationTransport (Primary theme)
DPSIR: Driving force
- TERM 012
Policy issue: Break the link between economic growth and passenger transport growth.
Passenger transport volume has roughly paralleled the growth in GDP, though with some noticeable exceptions. Recently a slight decoupling of economic development and passenger transport has appeared, possibly a result of increasing fuel prices. The passenger transport volume still increases in most countries hampering efforts to limit the environmental impacts of transport.
Passenger transport continues to be dominated by the car, with a share of 73 %1 of total passenger-kilometres. The share of air transport has increased strongly since 1990, while bus/coach and rail transport shares have both declined slowly. The objective of increasing the share of alternative modes to the car has therefore 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 impacts of transport.
Most countries saw growth every year, but there are a few exceptions, notably Germany, where demand has declined every year since 1999.
Passenger transport demand per capita also increased during the nineties to above 10 000 km in the EEA-23 in 2002. 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 (see TERM 32 - size and composition of vehicle fleet). Intra-EU rail transport competes with air transport and the rise 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.
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