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Passenger transport demand (CSI 035/TERM 012) - Assessment published Apr 2009

Indicator Assessment Created 11 Dec 2008 Published 21 Apr 2009 Last modified 13 Dec 2013, 04:28 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
  • TERM 012
Temporal coverage:
Geographic coverage:
Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom

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

Key messages

Passenger transport demand in EEA-32 is growing slower than GDP. Demand for air transport is growing faster than for any other mode of passenger transport with rail transport coming second (between 1996 and 2006).

Trend in passenger transport demand and GDP

Note: Aviation is not included

Data source:


Downloads and more info

Key assessment

Over the past decade, passenger transport growth has been slower on average than the growth of 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 the exception of Austria and Switzerland. Private car passenger growth was observed in all countries, which influenced the demand for passenger transport in the region. 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 slower than for GDP. Passenger transport growth was marginally higher than GDP growth in 2002, but was then surpassed by growth in GDP from 2003 onwards.

Between 1996 and 2006 Turkey and Austria's bus usage has increased the most. Iceland, Estonia and Belgium have experienced the highest level of decline in bus usage across Europe.

The UK increased rail use by 45 % over a ten year period from 1996 to 2006. France experienced an increase in rail usage by 34 % over the same period. Bulgaria, Switzerland and Romania all experienced declines in rail usage.

Turkey and Greece experienced the largest increase in road use. The only country to have a decline in road use was Austria (less than one percent).

Data sources

More information about this indicator

See this indicator specification for more details.

Contacts and ownership

EEA Contact Info

Cinzia Pastorello


EEA Management Plan

2009 2.10.2 (note: EEA internal system)


Frequency of updates

Updates are scheduled once per year in October-December (Q4)
Filed under: ,


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