External costs and charges per vehicle type

Indicator Specification
Indicator codes: TERM 025
expired Created 21 Aug 2007 Published 13 Oct 2010 Last modified 04 Sep 2015
3 min read
Topics: ,
This page was archived on 08 May 2015 with reason: No more updates will be done
The external costs of transport are those affecting society, environment and economy, but that are not directly born by the transport user who has caused them (e.g. climate change, infrastructure, air pollution, accidents, noise etc).

This indicator is no longer being regularly updated

Assessment versions

Published (reviewed and quality assured)
  • No published assessments


Justification for indicator selection

Including external costs in the pricing of transport is important. This is so that the full consequences of transport requirements such as environmental impacts, congestion and accidents are taken into account 

Scientific references

  • No rationale references available

Indicator definition

The external costs of transport are those affecting society, environment and economy, but that are not directly born by the transport user who has caused them (e.g. climate change, infrastructure, air pollution, accidents, noise etc).


Description of external cost

Policy context and targets

Context description

There has been a continuous effort from the European Commission to highlight the need to accurately reflect the true cost involved in the transport system as a whole and therefore build a fair and more efficient transport pricing system. The European Commission stressed this in a number of policy papers; the Green Paper on fair and efficient pricing (European Commission, 1995), the White Paper on fair payment for infrastructure use (European Commission, 1998), the White Paper on European transport policy for 2010 (European Commission, 2001) and its revision in 2006.


More recently, the Commission prepared a strategy to internalise the external costs for all modes of transport that was adopted in July 2008. Lately, the Communication on the Future on Transport, adopted by the Commission on 17th June 2009, states that in transport, like in any other sector, there cannot be economic efficiency unless the prices reflect all costs — internal and external — actually caused by the users. It also calls for Member states and international organisations collaboration where appropriate, to ensure that users’ costs include relevant externalities for all modes and vehicles.



No target

Related policy documents

  • A sustainable future for transport
    In 2001, the Commission issued a White Paper setting an agenda for the European transport policy throughout 2010. This programme was updated in the mid-term review of 2006. Approaching the end of the 10-year period, it is time to look further ahead and prepare the ground for later policy developments.
  • COM(2006) 6
    Communication from the Commission on the Promotion of Inland Waterway Transport “NAIADES”: An Integrated European Action Programme for Inland Waterway Transport. COM(2006) 6 fina
  • COM(2006) 820
    Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on Airport Charges, 2007/0013(COD), COM(2006) 820final
  • COM(2008) 435
    Strategy for the internalization of external costs. Communication from the Commission. COM(2008)435
  • COM(2009) 279 final
    A sustainable future for transport: Towards an integrated, technology-led and user friendly system


Methodology for indicator calculation

Information on methodologies are available in the documents listed in the scientific reference documents.

Methodology for gap filling


Methodology references

No methodology references available.

Data specifications

EEA data references

  • No datasets have been specified here.

External data references

Data sources in latest figures


Methodology uncertainty

No uncertainty has been specified

Data sets uncertainty

No uncertainty has been specified

Rationale uncertainty

No uncertainty has been specified

Further work

Short term work

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

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

Cinzia Pastorello


European Environment Agency (EEA)


Indicator code
TERM 025
Version id: 1
Primary theme: Transport Transport


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