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If 2005 is taken as the reference point , the cost of purchasing motor cars has decreased significantly since 1996, in comparison to average consumer prices .
In contrast, the costs of passenger services and the operation of personal transport equipment has generally increased.
The volatility of the transport market can be seen in 2009, for example, when overall transport prices fell at a faster rate than average consumer prices, primarily due to a significant drop in the average crude oil price between 2008 and 2009, and subsequent reductions in fuel prices.
Rail transport prices are less closely tied to the costs of fuel as most services operate under 'public service obligation' and an increasing proportion of passenger rail is electric-powered.
Achieving levels of good air quality in Europe is still a challenge, especially in urban areas with high volumes of traffic.
Despite considerable improvements over recent decades, air pollution is still responsible for more than 400 000 premature deaths in Europe each year. It also continues to damage vegetation and ecosystems.
Transport contributes significantly to the emissions of many air pollutants and the resulting poor air quality, particularly in urban areas with high traffic volumes.
The annual EU limit value for NO 2 , one of the main air quality pollutants of concern and typically associated with vehicle emissions, was widely exceeded across Europe in 2013, with 93 % of all exceedances occurring at road‑side monitoring locations.
In 2013, about 17 % of the EU‑28 urban population was exposed to PM 10 above the EU daily limit value. In 2013, transport also contributed to 13 % and 15 % of the total PM 10 and PM 2.5 primary emissions, respectively, in the EU Member States. Non-exhaust emissions are estimated to equal about 50 % of the exhaust emissions of primary PM 10 and about 22 % of those of primary PM 2.5 .
The average age of road vehicles in Europe has increased since 2000.
In 2014, the average age of passenger cars was 7.4 years, 8 % older than that of the average fleet in 2000. For other vehicle types, the average age was 8.4 years for vans, 8.1 years for heavy duty vehicles, 9.1 years for two-wheelers, and 9.4 years for buses.
The proportion of renewable energy used by the transport sector is growing but remains small. A cross the EU‑28, according to official statistics, the average share of renewable energy used in transport was 5.4 % in 2013 , a 0.3 % increase compared to the previous year. P reliminary EEA estimates indicate that the share further increased to 5.6 % in 2014. These figures include only those biofuels that meet the sustainability criteria of the European Union's (EU) Renewable Energy Directive.
All EU Member States are required to achieve a 10 % share in renewable energy by 2020, for all transport options. Individual Member States' progress towards this target varies, with most of them requiring significant further increases.
Since 1980, the real price of transport fuel has fluctuated between 0.75 and 1.25 EUR per litre, with an average of 0.98 EUR . This price covers all transport fuels expressed as the equivalent consumption in unleaded petrol, corrected for inflation to 2005 prices and including taxes.
At just 0.96 EUR, t he average European fuel price in December 2015 was slightly lower than the long-term average .
The price of fuel is an important determinant of the demand for transport and the efficiency with which fuel is used. Both freight and transport demand have increased significantly over the past years.
The level of internalisation of environmental externalities through fuel taxes has, however, not significantly changed during this period. T axes on transport fuels have not been widely used in Europe as an environmental policy measure that directly influences transport demand levels, thereby reducing environmentally harmful effects caused by the sector .
Compared with 2013, sales of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) in 2014 increased by more than 50 %, continuing an upward trend since 2008. Nevertheless, electric vehicles (EVs) continue to constitute only a very small fraction of new vehicle registrations in the EU‑28 .
According to the most recent estimates, the share of alternative fuel passenger cars in the total fleet has remained constantly around 5 % over the last five years, with liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cars playing a dominant role. The number of electric vehicles (EVs) has grown, but represents only a minor proportion (0.07 %) of total passenger car fleet numbers.
Since the mid-nineties 1990s, spending on transport infrastructure increased significantly across the EEA-33 member countries, reaching a peak in 2009. It has subsequently decreased each year. Despite these reductions, in 2013, the level of spending was 7 % higher than in 1995.
The share of road transport investment has decreased from a high of 62 % in 1995 to a 53 % share of total investment in 2013. Rail investments comprised a 35 % share in 2013, a larger fraction than in 1995 when the share was less than 27 %. Infrastructure spending on other transport modes has remained broadly constant.
Over the last decade, EU investment trends varied by region. The EU-13 Member States have generally seen rises in the level of transport investment, while the EU-15 Member States have seen a decrease in spending on transport infrastructure across all transport modes.
Freight transport grew considerably in the EU‑28 between 2000 and 2008. A sharp fall in freight demand occurred in the years immediately following the economic crisis and, following a limited recovery, freight volumes have since remained largely stable.
In 2013, total freight transport was 7.3 % higher than in 2000, but remains 9 % below its 2007 peak . It decreased by 2 % between 2011 and 2012, mainly due to a 3 % reduction in road freight transport, and remained broadly stable in 2013.
Maritime freight transport decreased by 2 % between 2012 and 2013, whereas inland waterway transport increased by the same amount. Road transport increased by 1.6 %, air transport decreased by 1 %, and rail transport was stable compared to the previous year.
The modal share remains constant; road transport dominates freight transported over land (75 %), followed by rail (18 %) and inland waterways (7 %).
Passenger transport demand in the EU-28 increased by nearly 1.1 % between 2012 and 2013, after an overall downward trend since its peak in 2009. Car passenger travel remains the dominant transport mode, with a share well above 70 %. Air transport grew by 10 % in 2011, but stabilised in 2012 and 2013. However, it retained its pre-crisis modal share (9 %). The share of rail passenger travel has grown slightly in recent years, accounting for 6.6 % of transport demand in 2013.
Land only passenger transport demand continued to grow in 2013 in the non-EU-28 countries, with Iceland experiencing 2.9 % growth, Turkey 3.2 %, Switzerland 1.6 % and Norway 1.3 %.
Between 1990 and 2013, the transport sector achieved some significant reductions in the emissions of major air pollutants: carbon monoxide (CO) and non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs) (both around 83 %), nitrogen oxides ( NO x ) (35%), sulphur oxide ( SO x ) (36%) and particulate matter (35 % in the case of PM 2.5 and 27 % for PM 10 ).
Emissions of all pollutants decreased in 2013 compared with the previous year. NO x emissions decreased by 5 % , SO x by 12 % , and PM 10 and PM 2.5 by 9 % and 10 % respectively. The latest data shows that non-exhaust emissions of primary PM 10 and PM 2.5 make up 27 % and 16 % of total transport emissions of these pollutants , respectively.
All transport modes have experienced a decrease in emissions since 1990, except for international aviation and shipping for which emissions of each pollutant have increased. Also, ammonia (NH 3 ) emissions from road transport have increased following the introduction of three-way catalytic converters on road vehicles, from which NH 3 is released as a byproduct.
In 2013, the transport sector contributed almost one quarter (24.4 %) of total EU-28 greenhouse gas emissions. The figure increases to 19.8%, if international aviation and maritime emissions are excluded.
In 2013, emissions from t ransport (including aviation) were 19.4 % above 1990 levels, despite a decline between 2008 and 2013. Emissions fell by 0.6 % compared to the previous year. International aviation experienced the largest percentage increase in greenhouse gas emissions over 1990 levels (+ 93 %), followed by international shipping (+ 28 %) and road transport (+ 17 %).
Emissions will need to fall by 67 % by 2050 in order to meet the long-term reduction target of the 2011 Transport White Paper.
The annual energy consumption of transport in the EEA-33 grew by 38 % between 1990 and 2007. However the impacts of the economic recession caused a subsequent decline in transport demand. Between 2007 and 2013, energy demand decreased by 9 %. Overall, between 1990 and 2013, there was a 25 % net growth in the energy consumption of transport in the EEA-33.
The shipping sector saw the greatest decline in energy consumption during the economic recession; it dropped by 10 % between 2008 and 2009 alone, with a total decrease of 20 % between 2007 and 2013. Total energy use for road, aviation and rail transport fell by 7% between 2007 and 2013.
Road transport accounts for the largest share of energy consumption, with 74 % of the total EEA-33 demand in 2013. Despite a decrease in energy consumption since the recession, road transport energy consumption in 2013 was still 23 % higher than in 1990. The fraction of diesel used in road transport has continued to increase, amounting to 71% of total fuel sales in 2013 .
Road traffic is, by far, the major source of traffic noise in Europe both inside and outside agglomerations. It should be also highlighted that significant numbers of people remain exposed to high levels of noise from rail and aircraft.
In the largest European cities, over 250 thousand inhabitants, noise from road transport is a major concern, as in 2007 almost 67 million people were exposed to long-term average road traffic noise levels exceeding 55dB L den (weighted average day, evening, night). At night time, for the same reported cities, more than 45 million people were exposed to road noise levels higher than 50dB. Concerning noise from major roads outside agglomerations, 33 million were affected during daytime and 23 million at night periods.
When available data allows for comparison between 2007 and 2012, different patterns have been observed: there has been a general increase of people exposed to all noise bands from airports, a slight increase of people exposed to noise from roads (only people exposed to lower noise bands), and a slight decrease of people exposed to noise from railways. Nevertheless, for 2012 reference year, information on strategic noise maps is missing for 12 out of 33 EEA member countries.
Specific CO 2 emissions of road transport have decreased since 1995, mainly due to an improvement in the fuel efficiency of passenger car transport. Recent EU Regulation setting emission performance standards for new passenger cars is expected to further reduce CO 2 emissions from light-duty vehicles in view of the 130 g/km and 95 g/km emission targets set for 2015 and 2020 respectively.
Specific CO 2 emissions of air transport, although decreasing, are of the same order of magnitude as for road, while rail and maritime shipping remain the most energy efficient modes of passenger transport.
Specific energy efficiency of light and heavy duty trucks has improved, but road transport still consumes significantly more energy per t-km than rail or ship freight transport. CO 2 emissions from light commercial vehicles are also expected to decrease in view of the 175 g/km and 147 g/km emission targets set for 2017 and 2020 respectively.
The specific emissions of air pollutants from passenger and freight
transport decreased during the time period 1995-2009 for the majority of
transport modes and especially for passenger transport. The highest reduction
of specific emissions can be observed in the road sector, following the implementation
of increasingly strict emission standards. Railway and aviation have also
recorded reductions, while maritime passenger and freight transport emissions
remained approximately constant over the same time period. Rail and water
transport are still relatively clean forms of transport - compared to road and
air transport - but without any regulations on their emissions, these modes might
lose this leading position.
level of car ownership is growing rapidly in the EEA-32 countries, especially in
countries with relatively low car ownership levels, like the new EU Member
States (EU-12). Increasing private vehicle ownership has proven to lead to
increased usage of private vehicles and might have the opposite effect on
public transport usage in the future. The number of buses-coaches per capita
has increased slightly in the period 1995 to 2009. The
number of trucks per unit of GDP (truck intensity) has remained constant over
the same period and is generally higher in the new EU Member States (EU-12)
than in the older ones (EU-15).
For countries where data is available (Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK), load factors have generally declined for road freight transport (Figure 1). Load factors are generally under 50 % (by weight). However some freight transport companies achieve much higher load factors than others in the same sector. This suggests that load factors can be improved. Road freight empty running (Figure 2) shows increases and decreases across different countries, although it is important to note that the response rate for the two variables is different (fewer and/or different countries have reported empty running). If load factors were increased, freight traffic volumes could be considerably reduced. Rail freight load factors (Figure 3) have remained fairly constant across the last few years, with only small increases and decreases observed for individual countries. There is limited data available for shipping freight, and this shows increasing load factors for the Czech Republic and Lithuania, and slight decreases for Hungary and Poland (Figure 4).
For references, please go to www.eea.europa.eu/soer or scan the QR code.
This briefing is part of the EEA's report The European Environment - State and Outlook 2015. The EEA is an official agency of the EU, tasked with providing information on Europe's environment.
PDF generated on 06 May 2016, 12:10 AM
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