Transport statistics at regional level

Data from March 2017. Most recent data: Further Eurostat information, Main tables and Database. Planned article update: September 2018.

Maps can be explored interactively using Eurostat’s Statistical Atlas (see user manual).

Figure 1: Modal split of transport, EU-28, 2004 and 2014
Source: Eurostat (tran_hv_psmod) and (tran_hv_frmod)
Figure 2: Top 20 EU airports for air freight and mail (loaded and unloaded), 2015
(thousand tonnes)
Source: Eurostat (avia_gooa)
Figure 3: Top 20 EU airports for passengers carried (arrivals and departures), 2015
(million passengers carried)
Source: Eurostat (avia_tf_ala)
Map 1: Number of air passengers carried (arrivals and departures), by NUTS 2 regions, 2015
(passengers per inhabitant and thousand passengers)
Source: Eurostat (tran_r_avpa_nm), (avia_paoc) and (demo_r_d2jan)
Figure 4: Top 20 EU ports for maritime freight, 2015
(thousand tonnes)
Source: Eurostat (mar_go_qm)
Map 2: Maritime freight (loaded and unloaded), by NUTS 2 regions, 2015
(tonnes per inhabitant and thousand tonnes)
Source: Eurostat (tran_r_mago_nm), (mar_go_aa) and (demo_r_d2jan)
Map 3: Number of maritime passengers (embarked and disembarked), by NUTS 2 regions, 2015
(passengers per inhabitant and thousand passengers)
Source: Eurostat (tran_r_mapa_nm) and (demo_r_d2jan)
Figure 5: Top 10 EU ports, by type of port, 2015
(index, leading port = 100)
Source: Eurostat (mar_mp_aa_pphd), (mar_mg_aa_pwhd) and (mar_mg_am_pvh)

This article forms part of Eurostat’s annual flagship publication, the Eurostat regional yearbook. It focuses on regional transport statistics, other than for road transport (which was covered in the previous edition and which will feature again in the 2018 edition); its main focus concerns air and maritime transport services. Regional transport statistics are collected for a broad range of transport modes covering passengers and freight and aim to quantify flows between, within and through regions; differences between regions are often closely related to their levels of economic activity and numbers of inhabitants as well as their geographical location.

Main statistical findings

  • There was little change in the modal split of the EU’s inland passenger and freight transport during the last decade, as cars continued to dominate as the principal means of passenger transport and road transport was the main mode of freight transport.
  • Several of the largest airports for freight and mail — for example Leipzig/Halle, Köln/Bonn, Liège or Luxembourg — were specialised in freight activities and acted as logistical hubs for freight forwarding, cargo transportation services and parcel delivery.
  • London Heathrow was the busiest airport in the EU for air passengers, with 75.0 million passengers carried in 2015.
  • Rotterdam was the busiest maritime port in the EU, both in terms of the quantity of freight loaded/unloaded and the number of freight containers handled; the next busiest ports were Antwerpen, Hamburg and Amsterdam.
  • Attiki, the Greek capital city region, a gateway to the Greek islands, had the highest number of maritime passengers, 18.4 million in 2015.

Defining the scope of transport statistics

A passenger-kilometre (pkm) is a unit of measurement representing the transport of one passenger by a defined mode of transport (road, rail, air, sea, inland waterways etc.) over one kilometre. A tonne-kilometre (tkm) is a unit of measure of freight transport which represents the transport of one tonne of goods (including packaging and tare weights of intermodal transport units) by a given transport mode over a distance of one kilometre; only transported distances on the national territory of the reporting country are taken into account. As the modal split is based on total inland passenger and freight transport performance it therefore excludes, for example, air and/or maritime transport services.

Statistics on rail and inland waterways transport are reported according to the ’territorial principle’ (only transport performance that takes place on the domestic territory should be included, regardless of nationality). However, road transport data are generally reported on the basis of the ‘nationality principle’ (in other words, all movements of vehicles registered in the reporting country, irrespective of whether these are on the domestic or international territories). Given this conceptual difference, road transport statistics have been adjusted to reflect the ‘territorial principle’, thereby providing greater coherence across different transport modes. Note that regional statistics for the modal split of passenger or freight transport are not available.

CH-11 transport-by-car RYB17.png
In 2014, the modal split of inland passenger transport was dominated by passenger cars, which accounted for more than four fifths (83.4 %) of all passenger-kilometres within the EU-28; motor coaches, buses and trolley buses, and trains both accounted for single-digit shares, at 9.1 % and 7.6 % respectively (see Figure 1). A comparison between 2004 and 2014 reveals that there was little change in the modal split for passenger transport during the last decade, with a modest increase in the share of trains being offset by a small decline in the use of motor coaches, buses and trolley buses; there was no change in the relative use of cars.

Turning to freight transport analysed by inland mode, road transport was also the most popular mode of transport, accounting for three quarters (75.4 %) of all tonne-kilometres within the EU-28 in 2014; the share of inland freight transported by rail (18.0 %) was almost three times as high as the share recorded for inland waterways (6.6 %). There was a small shift in inland freight developments between 2004 and 2014, as the quantity of goods transported by inland waterways and by railways rose moderately, while the relative share transported by road fell, suggesting that alternatives to congested roads for transporting goods were being pursued to some extent.

Trans-European Transport Networks (TEN-T)

At the beginning of the 1990s, the EU agreed to set up an infrastructure policy to support the development of efficient networks in the fields of transport, energy and telecommunications. A substantial policy review was launched in 2009 and this led to a new legislative framework that came into force in January 2014: Union guidelines for the development of the trans-European transport network (Regulation (EU) No 1315/2013).

Under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) for transport, EUR 24.05 billion will be made available from the EU’s 2014–2020 budget to co-fund trans-European transport network (TEN-T) projects. Through its investment plan for Europe, the EU is seeking new and innovative ways to finance these infrastructure developments, with financing from public financial institutions, the private sector, or the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI).

The TEN-T programme consists of hundreds of projects: their ultimate purpose is to ensure the interconnectedness and interoperability of the EU’s transport network. At its core are nine transport corridors — due to be completed by 2030 — spread across Europe (see the Map below). Each of these corridors is detailed in the annex to the CEF Regulation, while individual work plans have been drawn up to set out the current status of infrastructure and a schedule for removing physical, technical, operational and administrative bottlenecks.
TEN-T Core Network Corridors (Freight and Passenger)

Air transport — freight

The air freight sector is cyclical and largely dependent on global economic conditions and the level of world trade; its business model is driven by the increasing demand for rapid deliveries and associated logistical services. With a considerable fall in the price of oil during 2015, cargo carriers and their customers transporting goods by air faced lower costs, with air freight becoming more competitive against shipping (which dominates freight transport markets, especially for heavy, bulky goods of relatively low value).

The total quantity of air freight and mail in the EU-28 peaked at 14.6 million tonnes of goods loaded and unloaded in 2015. This marked an increase of 2.1 % when compared with the year before, and an increase of 13.4 % when compared with the previous peak recorded in 2008 (prior to the global financial and economic crisis).

The biggest cargo airports in the EU were generally located within close proximity of a large population base and highly developed transport infrastructures

Figure 2 shows a ranking of the top 20 EU airports in terms of air freight and mail, as measured by the quantity of goods transported (loaded and unloaded). In 2015, the busiest cargo airport in the EU was Paris-Charles de Gaulle (2.2 million tonnes), closely followed by Frankfurt/Main (2.1 million tonnes), while Amsterdam/Schiphol (1.7 million tonnes) and London Heathrow (1.6 million tonnes) were the only other airports to record in excess of a million tonnes of freight and mail. As such, the four largest airports in the EU were the same for air freight and mail as they were for air passengers (albeit in a different order; see Figure 3 below for the ranking of EU passenger airports).

The relative specialisation of airports in air freight and mail may, at least to some degree, reflect the geographical proximity of a large population base, as well as spare runway capacity to allow cargo planes to fill slots that would otherwise be occupied by passenger flights. Comparing the top 20 ranking for air freight and mail with that for air passenger travel reveals that there were 13 airports that appeared in both lists. The seven airports that only appeared in the top 20 ranking for freight and mail were: Leipzig/Halle and Köln/Bonn (both Germany), Luxembourg, Liège (Belgium) and Milano/Malpensa (Italy) — all of which were in the top 10 cargo airports — as well as East Midlands (the United Kingdom) and Helsinki-Vantaa (Finland).

Given the relatively high cost of transporting goods by air, it is perhaps unsurprising to find that the majority of air freight and mail that was loaded and unloaded in the EU’s top 20 cargo airports destined for/arrived from non-member countries. This was particularly true for airports near capital cities and also for airports in the most densely populated areas of the EU, with extra-EU air freight and mail accounting for more than 90 % of the goods loaded and unloaded in Amsterdam/Schiphol, Luxembourg, Frankfurt/Main and London Heathrow.

Some of the top 20 airports were particularly specialised in air freight services (with relatively low numbers of air passengers), as a result of developing their freight business as logistics centres. Examples include Luxembourg airport which is the headquarters of Europe’s largest all-cargo airline (Cargolux), Leipzig/Halle airport which is a hub for DHL, Köln/Bonn airport which is as a hub for UPS, or Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Köln/Bonn and Liège airports which are all hubs for the recently merged FedEx/TNT.

Air transport — passengers

CH-11 transport-by-air RYB17.png
The rapid growth of air passenger transport has been one of the most significant developments in transport services in recent years, both in the EU and the rest of the world. These rapid changes have, at least in part, been driven by liberalisation measures covering, for example, air carrier licensing, market access and fares. These measures have led (in particular) to the growth of low-cost airlines and an expansion of smaller regional airports which are generally less congested and charge lower landing fees than the main international airports.

Figure 3 presents information relating to the top 20 passenger airports in the EU, as measured by the total number of passengers carried (arrivals plus departures); note the statistics presented provide a single count of passengers on each flight (with a unique flight number), irrespective of its individual stages. Using this measure, London Heathrow (in the United Kingdom) was the busiest airport in the EU with a total of 75.0 million passengers carried in 2015. There were three other airports which carried more than 50 million passengers the same year (all of which act as hubs): Paris-Charles de Gaulle (France), Frankfurt/Main (Germany) and Amsterdam/Schiphol (the Netherlands). Note that all four of these airports were relatively close to each other in geographic terms, as flight times between them were no more than an hour and a half.

The seven airports that appear exclusively in the top 20 ranking for passengers (and did not feature in the ranking for freight and mail) were: London Gatwick (the United Kingdom), Barcelona/El Prat, Palma de Mallorca (both Spain), Stockholm/Arlanda (Sweden), Manchester (the United Kingdom), Düsseldorf and Berlin-Tegel (both Germany); some of these airports are popular tourist destinations or airports that are predominantly used for package holidays.

A high proportion of the passengers using the largest airports in the EU were carried to medium and long-haul destinations

A total of 730 million passengers passed through (as measured by passengers carried) the top 20 passenger airports in the EU in 2015, approximately half (50.5 %) of the total number of air passengers that were carried in the EU-28. Given their size, choice of destinations, and prestige as headquarters for large international carriers, it is perhaps unsurprising that passengers using these 20 airports had a much higher propensity to travel to medium or long-haul destinations; the top 20 airports accounted for almost three quarters (71.1 %) of the total number of EU-28 passengers arriving from/departing to destinations that were outside the EU. By contrast, their share of the total number of passengers on flights to/from other EU Member States was close to half (47.9 %), and fell to just over a third (34.8 %) for passengers travelling on national flights; for the latter there was a much higher degree of competition from regional and local airports.

In 2015, more than half of the passengers carried through London Heathrow (58.7 %) and Paris-Charles de Gaulle (51.8 %) were arriving from/destined to airports in non-member countries. By contrast, extra-EU arrivals/departures accounted for less than 10 % of the total number of passengers that passed through London Stansted (5.9 %) or Palma de Mallorca (4.5 %) airports. Paris-Orly stood out as almost half of its passengers in 2015 were travelling on national flights; the next highest shares for national passengers were recorded for Berlin-Tegel (36.9 %) and Roma/Fiumicino (29.7 %).

The 28 NUTS level 2 regions which reported at least 15 million air passengers in 2015 (as shown by the largest circles on Map 1) were located exclusively in Member States that were already part of the EU prior to 2004; relatively high numbers of air passengers were also recorded in Oslo og Akershus, the Norwegian capital city region, and Zürich and Région lémanique (which includes Geneva) in Switzerland.

The regions with the highest numbers of air passengers in the EU unsurprisingly reflected the locations of some of the busiest airports and those regions with airports that had catchment areas with high levels of population density. The two peak values for passenger numbers were recorded in the French and British capital city regions: Île de France (95.4 million passengers) and London (79.3 million passengers; the data refer to a NUTS level 1 region). These were followed by the German region of Darmstadt (60.9 million passengers) which includes Frankfurt/Main airport. Note that there were several capital city airports located outside of the administrative boundaries that delineate their capital city, for example, London Gatwick and London Stansted are situated in Surrey, East and West Sussex (40.3 million passengers) and in Essex (23.4 million passengers) respectively, while Brussels airport is situated in Prov. Vlaams-Brabant (23.3 million passengers) and Wien-Schwechat airport is situated in Niederösterreich (22.7 million passengers).

The 28 NUTS level 2 regions with more than 15 million air passengers in 2015 were distributed as follows: six Spanish regions (reflecting both popular holiday destinations as well as a relatively developed national market for domestic air travel), five German regions, four regions from the United Kingdom, two regions from each of France and Italy, the capital city regions of Denmark, Ireland, Greece, the Netherlands, Portugal, Finland and Sweden, as well as single regions from Belgium and Austria (as mentioned above).

Map 1 also provides information concerning the ratio of air passengers per inhabitant; this indicator may be used to analyse environmental pressures associated with a high number of flights/air passengers. There were 25 NUTS level 2 regions in the EU which recorded an average ratio of at least 8 air passengers per inhabitant in 2015 (as shown by the darkest shade of olive). This ratio peaked in the relatively sparsely populated island destinations of Notio Aigaio (Greece) and Illes Balears (Spain), with 28.8 and 28.6 air passengers per inhabitant. The third and fourth highest ratios were recorded in Noord-Holland and Prov. Vlaams-Brabant (21.0 and 20.8 air passengers per inhabitant); these two regions host the principal airports of the Netherlands and Belgium. Other regions with relatively high ratios included the island destinations of Ionia Nisia and Kriti (both Greece), Canarias (Spain), Corse (France), Região Autónoma da Madeira (Portugal), as well as island nations of Cyprus and Malta (both single regions at this level of detail). In each of these, the considerable influx of tourists (often highly seasonal) is likely to put pressure on the environment; this was also the case in the southern Portuguese region of Algarve.

Maritime transport — freight

Maritime transport facilitates international trade between EU Member States and the rest of the world and contributes towards, among others, the security of supply of energy, food and other goods, while providing EU exporters with a means of reaching international markets; indeed, the vast majority (in tonnage) of the EU’s international freight is transported by sea.

More than two thirds of the maritime freight handled in the top 20 EU ports arrived from or was destined for a non-member country

In 2015, the total quantity of maritime freight handled (goods loaded and unloaded) in all EU-28 ports was 3.8 billion tonnes, with main ports accounting for 3.1 billion tonnes; note that regional maritime statistics only concern main ports that handle more than a million tonnes of goods or 200 thousand passengers annually. Figure 4 shows the top 20 EU ports for maritime freight in 2015. The main areas of activity were concentrated on North Sea coastlines, close to some of the most densely populated regions of the EU that are served by an extensive network of motorways, railways, rivers and canals. The Dutch city of Rotterdam had, by far, the largest port in the EU, with 424 million tonnes of maritime freight (excluding the transport of goods on maritime vessels within the port), equivalent to 13.6 % of the EU-28 total for main ports. The second, third and fourth largest freight ports in the EU were all located within relatively close proximity of Rotterdam: the Belgian port of Antwerpen (190 million tonnes of maritime freight), the German port of Hamburg (120 million tonnes), and another Dutch port, in the capital city of Amsterdam (95 million tonnes). Away from the North Sea, the next largest ports were around the Mediterranean Sea: the Spanish port of Algeciras (79 million tonnes) and the French port of Marseille (75 million tonnes).

Together the top 20 maritime ports in the EU carried 1.6 billion tonnes of freight in 2015, which represented just over half (51.7 %) of the total freight that was loaded/unloaded in the EU’s main ports. Just over two thirds (67.9 %) of all the freight that was handled in these 20 ports arrived from or was destined for markets outside the EU, just over a quarter (26.5 %) arrived from or was destined for intra-EU markets, while just 5.6 % arrived from or was destined for national markets. There were five freight ports among the top 20 in the EU that reported in excess of 75 % of their maritime freight arriving from or being destined for extra-EU markets: Trieste (north-eastern Italy), Marseille, Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Hamburg. By contrast, at least half of the maritime freight handled in the North Sea ports of Immingham (in the east of the United Kingdom) and Göteborg (western Sweden), as well as the Baltic port of Rīga (the capital of Latvia), arrived from or was destined for intra-EU markets.

There were 18 NUTS level 2 regions where the quantity of maritime freight that was loaded/unloaded stood above 50 million tonnes in 2015. The biggest concentration of regions with at least 50 million tonnes of maritime freight (as shown by the largest circles on Map 2) ran along the northern coastlines of France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany: Haute-Normandie and Nord - Pas-de-Calais; Prov. Antwerpen; Noord-Holland and Zuid-Holland; Bremen and Hamburg. Within northern and western Europe, the only other regions to report more than 50 million tonnes of maritime freight were: Latvia (a single region at this level of detail); East Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire (which includes the United Kingdom’s largest port by tonnage, Immingham) and West Wales and The Valleys (which includes the largest energy port in the United Kingdom, Milford Haven). The regions with the highest levels of maritime freight were otherwise widely distributed around the Mediterranean, running from Andalucía, Comunidad Valenciana and Cataluña (in Spain) through Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur (in France), into Liguria, Friuli-Venezia Giulia and Sicilia (Italy), as well as Attiki (Greece).

Map 2 also shows the density of maritime freight transport, defined here as the average freight loaded/unloaded per inhabitant; the EU-28 average for all regions was 7.5 tonnes. In 2015, the highest density of maritime freight was recorded in the Dutch region of Zuid-Holland, which includes the port city of Rotterdam, with an average of 124.2 tonnes per inhabitant (almost 17 times as high as the EU average). The next highest density ratios were recorded in the Belgian region of Prov. Antwerpen (104.3 tonnes per inhabitant) and the German region of Bremen (93.7 tonnes per inhabitant).

Maritime transport — passengers

The quality of life on many European islands and in peripheral maritime regions depends, to a large extent, upon the provision of maritime transport services — providing a means for passengers to arrive/leave, and for goods to be delivered. The total number of maritime passengers that embarked or disembarked in EU-28 ports reached a relative peak of 439 million in 2008 at the onset of the global financial and economic crisis. There followed four successive reductions, as the total number of maritime passengers fell to 398 million. The modest increases in maritime passengers in both 2013 (0.5 %) and 2015 (0.6 %) were more than offset by a 1.7 % reduction in 2014, with the total number of maritime passengers in the EU standing at 395 million in 2015.

Some of the EU’s most popular maritime routes were to and from the Greek islands or across the Baltic Sea

Map 3 identifies the 13 NUTS level 2 regions with the highest number of maritime passengers in 2015 (those with the largest circles); each of these had at least 10 million passengers. Attiki, the Greek capital city region, had the largest number of maritime passengers (18.4 million); as noted above, three of the EU’s main ports are within close proximity of the Greek capital and these are often used as a starting point for visiting the Greek islands or for connecting to the island of Salamína (which sits just off the mainland to the west of Athens). The number of maritime passengers passing through Attiki was approximately 1.4 times as high as in the region with the second largest number of maritime passengers, namely the Croatian region of Jadranska Hrvatska (13.3 million maritime passengers in 2015); the main ports in this coastal Croatian region include Dubrovnik, Split and Zadar, which act, in a similar fashion to the ports around Athens, as hubs for reaching the Croatian islands. The only other regions in the Mediterranean with more than 10 million maritime passengers in 2015 were the Italian regions of Campania (which includes Napoli, a popular cruise destination and also a gateway for ferry services to several Italian islands) and the island region of Sicilia (whose main ports include Messina — for connecting to the Italian mainland — as well as Palermo and Catania).

The majority of the nine remaining regions with more than 10 million maritime passengers were largely concentrated in and around the Baltic Sea, reflecting the considerable flow of sea passengers within and between the Nordic and Baltic Member States. The four capital city regions of Hovedstaden (Denmark), Estonia (a single region at this level of detail), Helsinki-Uusimaa (Finland) and Stockholm (Sweden) were joined by further Danish (Sjælland) and Swedish regions (Sydsverige, which includes the ports of Malmö and Helsingborg); there was also a high number of sea passengers in the northernmost German region of Schleswig-Holstein (which includes the ports of Puttgarden and Kiel). The only other regions with more than 10 million sea passengers were located on either side of the English Channel, Kent (in the United Kingdom) and Nord - Pas-de-Calais (in France).

The ratio of the average number of maritime passengers per inhabitant provides an indication of the opportunities and pressures faced in EU regions which have a high dependence on maritime passenger services. Most of the regions with the highest densities of maritime passengers in relation to inhabitants (as shown by the darkest shade of olive in Map 3) were relatively sparsely populated island regions. The region with the highest number of maritime passengers per inhabitant was Åland (Finland), an archipelago situated between Finland and Sweden; it had an average of 138 maritime passengers per inhabitant in 2015, while the Greek island regions of Notio Aigaio and Ionia Nisia, the French island of Corse, and Malta also recorded high ratios.

Figure 5 summarises information pertaining to the main ports in the EU for both maritime passenger and freight transport, with the latter analysed by total freight transported and the number of containers transported. The position of Rotterdam as the EU’s leading freight port is clearly evident, as the 436.9 million tonnes of goods that were loaded/unloaded in 2015 was more than double the quantity for any of the other main ports in the EU. Rotterdam was also the leading port in the EU for transporting freight containers, with 11.6 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in 2015. The number of freight containers that passed through Antwerpen and Hamburg was also relatively high, between three quarters and four fifths of the number passing through Rotterdam, while none of the other ports in the EU recorded more than half the number of containers passing through Rotterdam.

In 2015, the Channel port of Dover in the south-east of the United Kingdom recorded the highest number of maritime passengers, at 13.1 million. Passenger maritime traffic was also relatively high in Helsinki (Finland), reaching 11.2 million. The eight remaining ports in the top 10 for maritime passenger transport each recorded at least half as many passengers as Dover. They were principally located in the Baltic and North Seas: Stockholm (Sweden), Calais (France), Tallinn (Estonia), Helsingborg (Sweden) and Helsingør/Elsinore (Denmark); but also included three ports situated close to the Greek capital — Peiraias, Paloukia Salaminas and Perama.

Data sources and availability

The legal basis for air transport statistics is Regulation (EC) No 437/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 February 2003 on statistical returns in respect of the carriage of passengers, freight and mail by air, while for maritime transport statistics it is the recast Directive 2009/42/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 May 2009 on statistical returns in respect of carriage of goods and passengers by seas. Note that the collection of regional data for rail and inland waterway transport statistics is currently conducted on a voluntary basis.

Regional data by NUTS for air/maritime passenger and freight transport are aggregated from data at the level of main airports/ports. Only main airports (with more than 150 thousand passengers per annum) and main ports (those handling more than one million tonnes of goods or recording more than 200 thousand passengers per annum) are taken into account.


The data presented in this article are based exclusively on the 2013 version of NUTS. Nearly all of the regional data in this article were available in NUTS 2013 with only a small amount of data converted from NUTS 2010. This conversion has had the following consequences at NUTS level 2: some data for the French départements d'outre-mer are not available; data for London are shown at NUTS level 1.

Indicator definitions

Glossary entries on Statistics Explained are available for a wide range of transport concepts/indicators, including: transport mode, trans-European networks (TENs), passenger-kilometre (p-km), tonne-kilometre (t-km), an airport, main port, navigable inland waterway, railway, freight container, roll on–roll off (freight unit) and twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU).

For more information:
Dedicated section on transport
Reference manual — air transport statistics
Reference manual — maritime transport statistics
Reference manual — regional transport statistics


Transport and mobility play a fundamental role in the European Union (EU) by joining regions together, while policy measures can be used to reduce regional inequality and improve cohesion. The EU’s transport policy endeavours to foster clean, safe and efficient travel throughout Europe, underpinning the right of citizens, goods and services to circulate freely within the single market. At the same time, the EU’s transport sector is considered essential for delivering the overarching goals of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, through the promotion of a more efficient and interconnected transport network that promotes mobility and carbon reductions, thereby improving competitiveness and productivity, stimulating job creation and underpinning a sustainable social market economy.

European transport policy

The European Commission’s Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport is responsible for developing transport policy within the EU. Its remit is to ensure mobility in a single European transport area, integrating the needs of the population and the economy at large, while minimising adverse environmental effects.

In March 2011, the European Commission adopted a White paper titled ‘Roadmap to a single European transport area — towards a competitive and resource-efficient transport system’ (COM(2011) 144 final). It contains 40 specific initiatives designed to help build a competitive transport system in the EU and also set a range of environmental goals to be achieved by 2050, including:

  • no more conventionally-fuelled cars in cities;
  • 40 % of the fuel being used in the aviation sector to come from sustainable low-carbon fuels;
  • a reduction of at least 40 % in shipping emissions;
  • a 50 % shift in medium-distance inter-city passenger and freight journeys from road to either rail or waterborne transport.

The European Commission’s jobs, growth and investment package, adopted in 2014, highlights a range of infrastructure projects including: transport links between EU Member States; the expansion and upgrading of freight and passenger capacities in ports and airports; dedicated rail connections between important airports and urban centres; ‘green’ projects in the area of maritime transport; or the promotion of alternative fuel-infrastructures along major roads. When re-assessing its investment plan for Europe in 2016, the European Commission made proposals to double the duration of the fund and its financial capacity.

See also

Further Eurostat information

Data visualisation


Main tables

Regional transport statistics (t_tran_r)
Regional transport statistics (t_reg_tran)


Multimodal data (tran)
Regional transport statistics (tran_r)
Road transport (road)
Road transport equipment - Stock of vehicles (road_eqs)
Stock of vehicles by category and NUTS 2 regions (tran_r_vehst)
Road freight transport measurement (road_go)
Total road freight transport (road_go_tot)
Annual road freight transport by region of unloading (1 000 t, Mio Tkm, 1 000 Jrnys) (road_go_ta_ru)
National road freight transport (road_go_nat)
National annual road freight transport by regions of loading (NUTS 3) and by group of goods (1 000 t), from 2008 onwards (road_go_na_rl3g)
National annual road freight transport by regions of unloading (NUTS 3) and by group of goods (1 000 t), from 2008 onwards (road_go_na_ru3g)
Regional transport statistics (reg_tran)
Road freight (reg_road)
Other regional transport (reg_otran)

Dedicated section

Methodology / Metadata

Source data for tables, figures and maps (MS Excel)

Other information

  • Regulation (EU) No 70/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 January 2012 on statistical returns in respect of the carriage of goods by road (recast)

External links