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Sound and independent information
on the environment

Access to transport services

Indicator 11: Access to transport services

  • Access to public transport is more difficult in non-urban areas, particularly for social groups with low car availability.
  • Car ownership rates increased by a factor of 2.5 from 1970 to 1997. Together with the increase in road infrastructure, this has made road transport access easier than other modes
Figure 3.8: Distribution of population within certain walking time to rail and bus services (Denmark)

Source: The Danish Ministry of Transport, 1997

Objective
Improve access to public transport.

Definition

  • Proxy indicator: share of population within a given distance and time from public transport nodes
  • Proxy-indicator: number of cars and buses per capita.

 

Policy and targets

Access to transport services measures the . ease of reaching. transport facilities and is closely related to the concept of mobility, which covers the ease of moving around using all transport modes (including walking). Mobility also depends on individual circumstances, such as health, disposable income, car availability and distance to public transport or road infrastructure. This indicator is closely related to those covering the supply of transport infrastructure (Indicator 12) and the size of the vehicle fleet (Indicator 25).

Improving access to transport infrastructure is a CTP goal. It is one of the policies being implemented through the TEN programme, which aims to improve access to multi-modal networks and improve the inter-linking of modes. The Citizens. Network (CEC, 1995) proposes ways of promoting public transport. However, no specific EU targets have been established for this indicator and few Member States have set any.

The Netherlands has, however, targeted that, by 2010, improved public transport links will enable 50-100 % more peak-hour passengers to be carried on main corridors than in 1986.


Findings

Access to public transport is a key factor in measuring access to transport services in general. Data is not available at the EU level, so this analysis draws on a limited number of Member State examples.

Data from Denmark shows public transport accessibility for various types of urban area. Figure 3.8 illustrates the distribution of the population with respect to walking time to the nearest train station or bus stop, and shows the much higher access times in non-urban areas. This is a particular problem for social groups with low car availability, and the problem becomes worse when public transport service frequency is taken into account.

The trend in car ownership rates provides a proxy indicator for accessibility to car transport. In the EU, the car ownership trend shows how access to road transport has increased dramatically, although geographic differences are still large.

The density maps below show that the former West Germany, northern parts of Italy and large parts of Sweden have the highest car ownership rates . more than 500 per 1 000 inhabitants. Former West Germany, large parts of Italy and some parts of Spain also have a high density of motorbikes. The UK, Denmark and Sweden have the highest densities of buses. Railway data is not available for Germany and the UK, but does show a high rail density in the former East Germany.

Another proxy indicator for the degree of individual mobility is the share of households without a car. In 1994 this ranged from 17 % in Luxembourg through 42 % in Denmark and the Netherlands to 45 % in Greece and Portugal, with an EU average of 28 % (and decreasing).

Non-car ownership rates may vary significantly within social groups and with geographic location. Danish data shows that non-car ownership rates are higher than average in the city of Copenhagen, and that the rates are much lower for single-parent households than for couples and also much lower for low-income groups than for high-income groups. A UK survey showed that households without a car find access to key amenities more difficult than those with a car (see Figure 3.9)

Figure 3.9: Car ownership and access to basic services, United Kingdom, 1997/98

Source: Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (United Kingdom, 1996)

Map 3.1: Car density in Europe


Map 3.2: Railway density in Europe


Map 3.3: Motorbike density in Europe


Map 3.4: Bus density in Europe

 

Future work

  • EU data on public-transport access needs to be improved. It should show the distribution of population against distance and walking time to public transport nodes, together with service frequency and possibly the type of destination served. It should also show how public transport is accessed (e.g. the modes used to travel to and from airports, rail and bus stations).
  • EU data on car access should show the distribution of population against time and distance to the main road network.
  • Car ownership data should include a breakdown by social group. This would need careful classification of social groups.

Data

Number of passenger cars

UNIT: cars per 1000 inhabitants

 

1970

1980

1990

1991

1992

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

Austria

160

298

388

397

412

422

433

447

458

469

Belgium

214

321

388

397

400

409

423

428

435

442

Denmark

218

271

309

307

310

312

312

321

329

340

Finland

155

256

389

385

384

371

368

372

379

378

France

234

341

466

474

476

478

478

477

477

478

Germany

194

330

447

460

471

479

488

495

500

505

Greece

26

89

171

173

177

188

199

211

223

229

Ireland

137

218

225

237

242

252

265

280

291

313

Italy

189

313

483

501

518

520

540

553

571

577

Luxembourg

212

352

480

496

513

523

540

559

559

573

Netherlands

197

322

368

368

373

376

383

364

370

372

Portugal

49

94

187

203

205

224

242

258

277

297

Spain

70

202

308

321

335

343

351

362

376

390

Sweden

284

347

421

421

414

410

409

411

413

419

United Kingdom

214

277

361

360

360

367

372

374

388

398

EU15

184

291

401

410

418

423

432

437

447

454

Source: Eurostat

Households without a car, 1994

Country

B

DK

D

EL

E

F

IRL

I

L

NL

A

P

FIN

S

UK

EU15

% households without a car

24%

42%

26%

45%

32%

22%

34%

22%

17%

42%

35%

45%

36%

27%

30%

28%

of which % who cannot afford a car

7%

16%

5%

24%

16%

7%

18%

4%

4%

7%

n.a.

28%

n.a.

n.a.

11%

9%

Source: Eurostat, DG Transport.
Note: Data for Sweden refer to 1997

Geographical coverage

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