Passenger transport demand

Indicator Specification
Indicator codes: CSI 035 , TERM 012
Created 09 Dec 2008 Published 21 Apr 2009 Last modified 05 Dec 2016, 10:06 AM
Topics: ,
'Passenger transport demand' is defined as the number of pkm travelled every year in a country or group of countries. Inland passenger transport includes transport by passenger car, bus and coach and train. 'Modal split' is defined as the proportion of total pkm allocated to different transport modes every year. The 'decoupling indicator' is defined as the annual changes in the ratio of pkm (inland modes) to GDP (in constant prices) growth.   

Assessment versions

Published (reviewed and quality assured)

Rationale

Justification for indicator selection

The main underlying cause of the increase in passenger transport demand is the growth in incomes, coupled with a tendency to spend more or less the same proportion of disposable income on transport. Additional income therefore means more money for travel, which allows for more frequent, faster and more luxurious travel over longer distances. 

Transport is one of the main sources of greenhouse gas emissions and also gives rise to significant air pollution and noise, which can seriously damage human health and ecosystems. The modal split policy is important for the environmental impact of passenger transport because of differences in the environmental performance (resource consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, pollutant and noise emissions, land consumption, accidents, etc.) of transport modes.

This indicator explains how the sizes of different passenger transport sectors are changing, which in turn explains the observed trends in the impact of transport on the environment. It also helps to explain the main variables that influence transport modal choice and the relative success of the policy measures that the EU and/or each Member State are implementing in order to reduce demand or influence modal choice.

Scientific references

  • No rationale references available

Indicator definition

'Passenger transport demand' is defined as the number of pkm travelled every year in a country or group of countries. Inland passenger transport includes transport by passenger car, bus and coach and train.

'Modal split' is defined as the proportion of total pkm allocated to different transport modes every year.

The 'decoupling indicator' is defined as the annual changes in the ratio of pkm (inland modes) to GDP (in constant prices) growth. 

 

Units

The unit used to express passenger transport volume is the passenger-kilometre (pkm), which represents one passenger travelling a distance of 1 km. It is based on transport by car, bus and coach and train. 

Gross domestic product (GDP) is expressed in constant euros, indexed to the year 2005.

Passenger transport demand and GDP are shown as an index (2005 = 100). The ratio of the former to the latter is indexed to the year t 1 (i.e. annual decoupling/intensity changes) in order to observe changes in the annual intensity of passenger transport demand relative to economic growth (GDP). For the oldest indicators (i.e. before 2010), passenger transport demand and GDP are shown as an index (2000 = 100).

Policy context and targets

Context description

The EU has set itself the objective of decoupling economic growth from passenger transport demand in order to create a more sustainable transport system. This decoupling has been a central theme in EU transport policy and is intended to minimise the negative impacts of transport.

Targets

In this indicator, the policy target to significantly decouple transport growth from GDP growth in order to reduce the negative environmental effects of transport and congestion is considered.

Related policy documents

Key policy question

Is passenger transport demand being decoupled from economic growth?

Specific policy question

Is public transport increasing as a proportion of total passenger transport?

Methodology

Methodology for indicator calculation

In order to measure the decoupling of passenger demand from economic growth, the volume of passenger transport relative to GDP (i.e. the intensity) is calculated.

Methodology for gap filling

No need for gap filling

Methodology references

Data specifications

EEA data references

  • No datasets have been specified here.

Data sources in latest figures

Uncertainties

Methodology uncertainty

To understand whether or not passenger demand is being decoupled from economic growth, the intensity of passenger transport demand relative to changes in real GDP is analysed. A reduction in intensity should signal the relative decoupling of transport demand from economic growth.

A decoupling indicator analyses pressures on the environment with changes in the relevant economical variables, to which the environmental pressures are causally linked. This indicator compares the growth in pkm as a proxy of the pressures on the environment caused by transport. It is considered a good proxy; however, it is known to be inaccurate as pkm values in isolation do not fully explain the environmental pressures. 

 

Data sets uncertainty

Figures on pkm travelled by air are available as an EU-28 aggregate only. Air pkm are a provisional estimate for domestic flights and flights between EU countries. Figures for car, bus and rail travel are available separately for all EU-28 Member States. The sources used by the European Commission (DG-MOVE) include national statistics, estimates, the International Transport Forum and Eurostat.

Rationale uncertainty

Even if two countries have the same passenger transport intensity, or show the same trend over time, there could be important environmental differences between them. The link to environmental impact has to be complemented on the basis of the energy consumption and fuels used to satisfy passenger demand, and the technology used, in addition to the new infrastructure-related impacts.

Further work

Short term work

Work specified here requires to be completed within 1 year from now.

Work description

In 2009, Eurostat consolidated the development of community data collection on road traffic (in road vehicle kilometres). This improved-quality data will be incorporated into future indicators. The core set indicators (as opposed to the structural indicators) includes air transport demand as a proportion of total passenger demand. Air transport data originate from the DG MOVE. Eurostat is reviewing methods for the calculation and territorial attribution of air transport performance data so that they can be included in total passenger demand. Any change in the structural indicators, particularly with regard to the methodology (i.e. possible inclusion of air transport demand) and the metadata section (i.e. quality), will be incorporated as soon as Eurostat validates the data.

Resource needs

No resource needs have been specified

Status

In progress

Deadline

2015/12/31 00:00:00 GMT+1

Long term work

Work specified here will require more than 1 year (from now) to be completed.

General metadata

Responsibility and ownership

EEA Contact Info

Diana Vedlugaite

Ownership

European Environment Agency (EEA)

Identification

Indicator code
CSI 035
TERM 012
Specification
Version id: 2
Primary theme: Transport Transport

Frequency of updates

Updates are scheduled once per year

Classification

DPSIR: Driving force
Typology: Descriptive indicator (Type A - What is happening to the environment and to humans?)

Related content

Data references used

Latest figures and vizualizations

Relevant policy documents

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