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Passenger transport demand (CSI 035) - Assessment published Dec 2008

Indicator Assessment Created 10 Dec 2008 Published 21 Dec 2008 Last modified 13 Dec 2013, 04:29 PM
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Generic metadata


Transport Transport (Primary topic)

csi | transport
DPSIR: Driving force
Typology: Descriptive indicator (Type A - What is happening to the environment and to humans?)
Indicator codes
  • CSI 035
Geographic coverage:
Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom

Key policy question: Is passenger transport demand being decoupled from economic growth?

Key messages

Growth in the volume of passenger transport has nearly paralleled that in GDP. Decoupling transport demand and GDP over the period has only occurred in two of the years, 1996 and 2002 and in both cases has been less than 0.5 % per year.

Trend in passenger transport demand and GDP

Note: The decoupling columns displayed in the chart represent annual decoupling

Data source:

Eurostat and UN Statistics Division

Downloads and more info

Key assessment

Over the past decade, passenger transport growth has been slower on average than growth in the economy. However, passenger transport demand has grown steadily in the EEA countries as a whole, thereby making it increasingly difficult to stabilise or reduce the environmental impacts of transport.

The majority of countries saw growth in passenger transport demand every year, with few exceptions. The main underlying factor in this trend is the growth in incomes coupled with a tendency to spend more or less the same share of disposable income on transport. Additional income therefore means additional travel budget, which allows more frequent, faster, farther and more luxurious travelling.

Overall growth in passenger transport demand has been very similar to that of GDP. Transport growth was marginally higher than GDP growth in 1996, but was then surpassed by growth in GDP from 1997 onwards. Decoupling (the difference between GDP and transport volume growth) between transport demand and GDP growth occurred in 1996 and 2002, and was less than 0.5 % in both cases.

Specific policy question: Is the share of passenger car transport in total inland transport being reduced relative to other transport modes?

Specific assessment

As part of the modal-split indicators project, Eurostat is working on methods regarding the calculation and territorial attribution of air passenger transport. Until such data becomes available, the core set indicator "passenger transport demand" will include an EU estimate of air for the headline graph.

Data sources

More information about this indicator

See this indicator specification for more details.

Contacts and ownership

EEA Contact Info

Peder Gabrielsen


EEA Management Plan

2010 (note: EEA internal system)


Filed under: ,


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