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You are here: Home / Data and maps / Indicators / Passenger transport demand - outlook from WBCSD / Passenger transport demand - outlook from WBCSD (Outlook 017) - Assessment published Jun 2007

Passenger transport demand - outlook from WBCSD (Outlook 017) - Assessment published Jun 2007

Indicator Assessmentexpired Created 08 Jan 2007 Published 08 Jun 2007 Last modified 11 Mar 2014, 01:48 PM
This content has been archived on 12 Nov 2013, reason: Content not regularly updated
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Generic metadata


Environmental scenarios Environmental scenarios (Primary topic)

Transport Transport

passengers | belgrade | cars | modal split | transport modes | traffic | transport
DPSIR: Driving force
Typology: Descriptive indicator (Type A - What is happening to the environment and to humans?)
Indicator codes
  • Outlook 017
Geographic coverage:
Albania, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia (FYR), Malta, Mexico, Moldova, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uzbekistan

Key policy question: K: Is there in Europe a trend of decoupling of passenger transport demand from economic growth?

Key messages

Assessment created in 2007

If present policies and technological trends continue*, passenger transport will continue to grow worldwide, but more rapidly in the fast-growing economies of Eastern Europe, China and India. 

The modal shares are also expected to shift in a less sustainable direction. Air passenger transport is projected to be the fastest-growing mode. This and road passenger transport together will continue to be the biggest contributors to transport-related CO2 emissions.

Passenger-km per year per capita in 2000 and projected for 2050 and Projected car ownership rates in 2050

Note: International comparison

Data source:
Downloads and more info

Projected percentage change in passenger transport by mode and car ownership rate from 2000 to 2050

Note: International comparison

Data source:

World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) "The Sustainable Mobility Project".

Downloads and more info

Key assessment

The increase in passenger-km per capita per year in non-EU Europe by 2050 is projected to be around 260%. This is more than in the EU and OECD North America and less than in China and India. In the former Soviet Union countries, passenger-km per capita per year will remain lower than in the OECD Europe and OECD North America (which is the highest with 26 000 passenger-km per capita per year). It is projected almost to triple in Eastern Europe, which include SEE and some EU 10 compared with 2000 and  by 2050reach the OECD Europe level (about 20 000 passenger-km per capita per year).

Although  passenger travel per capita in China will remain rather low compared with countries in OECD Europe and OECD North America, it is expected to have the second biggest share of transport volumes in the world (11 608 billion passenger-km per year), after OECD North America  (15 111 billion).

In terms of modal shifts, air passenger transport is projected to be the fastest-growing mode in all world regions (ranging from 1 167 % increase in India to 337 % in OECD Europe). Passenger rail will be the second most rapidly growing mode of personal transport, with the biggest increase in China and India. Road transport is expected to continue increasing at moderate rates, but loosing its share in the total due to increased air transport, which is projected to increase from around 10 % to one third of total passenger transport.

*Projections are based on the reference case scenario. The reference case projects one possible set of future conditions, based on recent trends. Adjustments are made for expected deviations from recent trends due to factors such as existing policies, population projections (UNSTAT), income projections (IEA) and expected availability of new technologies. Expectations of other future changes in trends, such as saturation of vehicle ownership, are also incorporated. In general, no major new policies are assumed to be implemented beyond those already implemented in 2003, and no major technological breakthroughs.

Data sources

More information about this indicator

See this indicator specification for more details.

Contacts and ownership

EEA Contact Info

Anita Pirc Velkavrh


EEA Management Plan

2010 (note: EEA internal system)


European Environment Agency (EEA)
Kongens Nytorv 6
1050 Copenhagen K
Phone: +45 3336 7100