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Sound and independent information
on the environment


This is the first indicator-based report developed under the Transport and Environment Reporting Mechanism for the EU (TERM). It has been designed to help EU and Member States to monitor progress with their transport integration strategies, and to identify changes in the key leverage points for policy intervention (such as investments, economic instruments, spatial planning and infrastructure supply).

Seven questions are addressed which policy-makers in the EU regard as key to understanding whether current policy measures and instruments are influencing transport/environment interactions in a sustainable direction:

  1. Is the environmental performance of the transport sector improving?
  2. Are we getting better at managing transport demand and at improving the modal split?
  3. Are spatial and transport planning becoming better coordinated so as to match transport demand to the needs of access?
  4. Are we optimising the use of existing transport infrastructure capacity and moving towards a better-balanced intermodal transport system?
  5. Are we moving towards a fairer and more efficient pricing system, which ensures that external costs are recovered?
  6. How rapidly are improved technologies being implemented and how efficiently are vehicles being used?
  7. How effectively are environmental management and monitoring tools being used to support policy and decision-making?

To answer these questions, a selection of 31 indicators was made, dealing with the various aspects of the transport and environment system. The indicator set is, to some extent, a long-term vision of what an "ideal" indicator list should look like. Some of the proposed indicators could not as yet be fully quantified, as a result of data limitations. Where data availability has prevented an EU15 analysis, national examples or proxy indicators were used.

The report shows that although environmental regulations (such as vehicle and fuel-quality standards) have led to progress in certain areas, these are not sufficient to meet international and national environmental targets. Greater policy impetus is needed to redress current trends in environmental impacts from transport and to reduce the coupling between transport demand and economic growth. The concepts of demand management, accessibility and eco-efficiency are however not yet sufficiently reflected in EU transport policies and targets.

Although this first TERM report focuses mainly on EU developments, important lessons can also be learnt by comparing national performance, as this can yield interesting information regarding the effectiveness of various policy measures. It is therefore intended to develop TERM into a benchmarking tool for this purpose. A first attempt at comparing national performance is presented in Table 1, which gives a qualitative evaluation of a limited number of key-indicator trends with respect to a number of "integration" objectives.

There are several common features at Member State level. For example, transport demand, energy consumption and CO2 emissions are increasing in most countries. The modal mix is increasingly biased towards road transport, and air transport is also expanding rapidly, to the detriment of more environment-friendly modes. There are, however substantial differences in approach to delivering transport systems that better address sustainability concerns. For example, Nordic countries make much more use of taxes, pricing mechanisms and land-use planning than countries in southern Europe. Some countries, such as Austria, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands and Sweden, have developed environmental action plans and set national targets for the transport sector. Some have also established conditions for carrying out strategic environmental assessments of certain transport policies, plans and programmes. This enhances the integration of environmental issues and ensures the involvement of environmental authorities and the public in decision-making.



Table 1: Qualitative evaluation of key indicator trends

Integration question

Key indicators

Integration objectives

Evaluation of indicator trends



















Emissions of:




Meet international emission-reduction targets


















Passenger transport

De-link economic activity and passenger-transport demand

















Improve shares of rail, public transport, walking, cycling


















Freight transport

De-link economic activity and freight-transport demand



















Improve shares of rail, inland waterways, short-sea shipping
















Average journey length for work, shopping, education, leisure

Improve access to basic services by environment-friendly modes


















Investments in transport infrastructure

Prioritise development of environment-friendly transport systems














Real changes in the price of transport

Promote rail and public transport through the price instrument


















Degree of internalisation of external costs (1)

Full recovery of environmental and accident costs


















Energy intensity

Reduce energy use per transport unit


















Implementation of integrated transport strategies (1)

Integrate environment and safety concerns in transport strategies















positive trend (moving towards objective);

some positive development (but insufficient to meet objective);

unfavourable trend (large distance from objective);

? quantitative data not available or insufficient

(1) no time series available: evaluation reflects current situation, not a trend

This evaluation is mainly made on the basis of the indicator trends. As there is an inevitable time lag between policy development, implementation, and the appearance of effects in the indicator trends, a . negative. trend does not necessarily mean that no positive policy developments are taking place to change these parameters. Monitoring these key indicators is the first step towards managing current and future policy measures. For example, tracking user prices, as is done in the UK and Denmark, is essential to manage measures to promote fair and efficient pricing.


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