Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area

All facts and figures

  • Transport matters

    Spinning top with boat, train, plane and carThe quality and cost of transport services have a major impact on the ability of business to compete, on economic growth and on quality of life. Transport is fundamental to a more efficient European economy.

  • Putting sustainability at the heart of transport

    Man in suit on bicycleTransport is heavily dependent on imported oil. And while most sectors have been reducing CO2 emissions, transport’s share has been steadily increasing. By 2050, we need to have greatly reduced those CO2 emissions and made inroads into tackling congestion and environmental pollution. To achieve Europe’s targeted 80% CO2 reduction by 2050 compared to 1990, oil consumption in the transport sector must drop by around 70% from today, implying a revolution in transport fuels and the way we travel.

    • In the EU, transport depends on oil and oil products for more than 96% of its energy needs.

      Source: Energy and Transport in Europe – Statistical Pocketbook 2010.

    • Europe imports around 84% of its crude oil from abroad. In 2010, the EU’s oil import bill was around € 210 billion.

      Source: Eurostat; EC own calculations

    • Transport greenhouse gas emissions, including from international aviation and maritime transport, increased by around 34% between 1990 and 2008. Over the same period, energy industries reduced their emissions by about 9%.

      Source: European Environment Agency

    • Transport is responsible for about a quarter of the EU's greenhouse gas emissions. 12.8% of overall emissions are generated by aviation, 13.5% by maritime transport, 0.7% by rail, 1.8% by inland navigation and 71.3% by road transport (2008).

      Source: European Environment Agency

    • In London, Cologne, Amsterdam and Brussels, drivers spend more than 50 hours a year in road traffic jams. In Utrecht, Manchester and Paris, they spend more than 70 hours stuck on roads.

      SourcesINRIX European National Traffic Scorecard 2010

    • The share of road transport in intra-EU long distance freight transport is around 33%, while rail and inland waterways jointly contribute less than 20%. The poor environmental performance of the transport system is linked to the fact that the generally greener rail and inland waterways transport have failed to exploit their potential in medium to long distances.

      Source: TRANSTOOLS transport model pdf - 2 MB [2 MB]  (Appendix 5 of the Impact Assessment accompanying the White Paper, SEC(2011) 358).

    • Cars are the most popular passenger mode across the EU: they represent some 72% of all passenger kilometres. However, the private car is rarely the most energy-efficient form of transport. According to data from the UK, 60% of cars have only one occupant. The percentage increases to approximately 85% for commuting and business trips.

      Source: Energy and Transport in Europe – Statistical Pocketbook 2010;

      United Kingdom Department for Transport, 2008, Transport Trends: 2008 edition.

    • One bus could carry the same number of people as 30 cars, while only occupying the road space of three cars.

      Source: International Road Transport Union

    • Travelling from London to Brussels by train produces roughly nine times less emissions per passenger km than a plane journey.

      Source: Eurostar figures quoted in EEA, TERM 2007, Climate for a transport change.

    • Green technology offers European companies a huge commercial opportunity. Cutting emissions means investing in technology, but Europe is lagging behind its competitors. Japanese manufacturers are leading the field for hybrid cars, for example. The environmental technologies market is growing. Worth €1 200 billion in 2007, it is expected to reach €3 100 billion by 2020. Products and services related to sustainable mobility will represent a global market of €300 billion in 2020 (up from €200 billion today).

      Sources: BMU, 2009, GreenTech made in Germany 2.0

      JRC, 2009, 2009 Technology Map of the European Strategic Energy Technology Plan

    • Consumers say they are willing to make changes to reduce emissions. The majority of car users (66%) say they would compromise on a car’s size in order to reduce emissions and 62% say the same about the car’s range– i.e. the distance driven before needing to refuel or recharge the vehicle. More than half (60%) would also be willing to pay more for their car if this helped reduce emissions.

      Source: Eurobarometer survey on the future of transport pdf - 2 MB [2 MB] .

    • Public transport quality and connections need to be greatly improved if consumer behaviour is to change. A large majority (71%) of car users feel that public transport is less convenient than the car. A similar proportion (72%) say they don’t use public transport because of a lack of connections (49% of “very important responses”). 64% blame too few services and 54% mention lack of reliability.

      Source: Eurobarometer survey on the future of transport pdf - 2 MB [2 MB] .

  • Plugging into smart solutions

    Two cars receiving signalsHigh-speed trains have transformed travel, and new plane engines are soon to significantly reduce aircraft emissions. Research and technology can provide the solutions for more efficient and sustainable transport in the future. Intelligent transport systems, new generation vehicles and alternative energy/propulsion systems are just some of the solutions on offer to make travel greener and more efficient.

    • The new generation of jet engines due on the market in 2020 will cut aircraft emissions by 10-15%. Emission reductions of up to 40% are expected from 2025-2030.

      Sources: International Civil Aviation Organization, 2010, Environmental Report 2010

    •  Electric cars could contribute to savings of 5 Mt CO2/year if the national and regional objectives of putting 5 million electric vehicles on the market by 2020 is met.

      Source: Report of the European Expert Group on Future Transport Fuels, 2011. 

    • The average car engine emits 28 times less carbon monoxide than 20 years ago. An average new car today consumes 15% less fuel per 100 km than 10 years ago.

      Sources: EC calculations based on the difference between Euro 1 and Euro 5 standards for cars and light duty vehicles; Monitoring the CO2 emissions from new passenger cars in the EU, COM(2010) 655 final  

    • The European Commission’s hydrogen bus project has demonstrated over three years in nine EU cities that hydrogen is a viable zero-emission alternative to diesel and gasoline – provided that the energy generating the hydrogen comes from non-fossil sources. The buses transported 8.5 million passengers over 2.6 million km, using 555 tonnes of hydrogen instead of 1 million litres of diesel. Of the people surveyed, 68% said they wanted to see more of these buses, and 44% were willing to pay more for them.

      Source: HyFLEET:CUTE project 2006-09 

    • Navigation devices can make car journeys shorter. In a study for TomTom, researchers found km savings per journey of 6-16% and time savings of 11-18%. With nearly 40 million “sat nav” users across Europe, this represents a saving of 10 million hours in traffic and more than 100 million vehicle km.

      Source: TNO, 2007, Do navigation systems improve traffic safety?, Berg Insight (2009), own calculations 

    • High-speed trains have cut travel time by 43% between Brussels and Frankfurt, and by more than 60% (from 4 hours 52 minutes to 1 hour 51 minutes) between Brussels and London. So far, the speed record was 574.8 km/h reached by a TGV in April 2007.

      Source: High-speed Europe – a sustainable link between citizens, 2010 pdf - 8 MB [8 MB] Deutsch (de) français (fr)  

    • Train journeys can be faster than short and medium distance flights. This applies in particular to high-speed lines over distances of up to 800 km. A 400 km journey by high-speed train can be up to an hour faster than covering the same distance by plane.

      Source: European High Speed Rail – An Easy Way to Connect pdf - 5 MB [5 MB]

    • High-speed trains are the preferred passenger choice. When Spain’s high-speed Madrid-Seville line was launched in 1992, the route's market share for rail rose from 19% to 53%. The Barcelona-Madrid link saw its share rise from 13.7% before it opened to 45.6% in 2010.

      Sources: European High Speed Rail – An Easy Way to Connect pdf - 5 MB [5 MB] , Ferropedia 

    • 25 modern trucks make less noise than one built in 1980. Trucks have become much quieter over the last 30 years thanks to such technological innovations as special insulation, low-rolling resistance tyres and other noise control techniques. Further reductions could be made by using low-rolling resistant surfaces for new roads.

      Source: International Road Transport Union

    • Greater efforts are needed to increase electro-mobility: today’s electric car would need a battery pack weighing 2 500 kilos to provide the same energy as a diesel car with a 50-litre tank.

      Source: Report of European Expert Group on Future Transport Fuels pdf - 4 MB [4 MB] , 2011. 

    • Transport has become a lot safer. The number of people killed in road accidents in 2010 is expected to be 40% lower than in 2000. Road is still considerably more dangerous than other means of travel, but road safety technology such as advanced braking systems, electronic stability control, and lane-keeping assistants are helping to reduce these figures.

      Source: Impact Assessment on the type-approval requirements for the general safety of motor vehicles (SEC(2008) 1908) ; Trends on road safety

  • Reducing barriers to free movement

    Train and boat going through red tapeThere is still much work to be done to remove the many barriers – technical and administrative – that are holding back transport users, businesses and citizens. Movement across the EU has got easier, thanks in part to the single market, but is still not free enough. These barriers cost us time, money and energy and more needs to be done to make travel easier whether it be for goods or people.

    • Each EU country has its own safety certifications for train rolling stock that represent a major barrier to expanding international passenger and freight services.  Estimated cost of each national recertification is between €1-4 million, and can take up to two years.

      Source: European Railway Agency

    • The Thalys high-speed train through France, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands has to adapt to seven different signalling systems. The EU currently uses seven gauge sizes and seven types of electric currents (with different voltages and frequencies, and alternating or direct current, etc).

      Source: ERTMS

      Gauges and currents: Energy and Transport in Europe – Statistical Pocketbook 2010

    • Today international hauliers need in their vehicle the Eurovignette, 5 different national vignettes and 8 different tags and tolling contracts if they wish to drive on all European tolled roads without stopping at tollbooths.

      Source: European Commission

    • In 2008, close to 9 million flights crossed EU airspace, or an average 25 000 flights a day. In the EU, 27 air traffic management systems add an average 49 km to each journey.

      Source: Commission Communication on SES II, COM (2008) 389 final .

    • Removing barriers in the EU and opening up markets to competition has had a profound impact. Air transport liberalisation has boosted the number of air passengers and routes served. The EU now has 20 low-cost carriers, representing 40.2% of the internal EU market – in 1990 there were none. Scheduled passenger carriers have risen from 135 to 152, and the average number of routes inside the Union has increased by 140% from 1 680 to 4 000.

      SourceOfficial Airline Guide database

    • An EU-registered ship travelling from Antwerp to Rotterdam can require the same amount of paperwork as a ship travelling to Rotterdam from Panama.

      Source: ‘European Maritime Transport Space without Barriers pdf - 454 KB [454 KB] Deutsch (de) français (fr) '

    • EU laws will bring the number of freight train tail lights and plates down from 18 to two, making it easier for trains to cross borders.

      Source: Draft Commission Decision concerning the technical specification for interoperability relating to the 'operation and traffic management' subsystem of the trans-European conventional rail system

    • The trans-European transport networks (TEN-T), which represent 25 800 km of key European corridors, have nine north-south connections linking the continent, but only four east-west ones.

      Source: TENtec Information System

    • Urban access policies have been introduced to many cities across the EU. However, the various authorities use their own criteria and enforcement means: out of 58 urban access schemes, 42.6% charge a daily rate, 25.9% charge per trip, while the others don’t charge anything at all.

      Source: ISIS, 2011, Study on Urban Access Restrictions. pdf - 9 MB [9 MB]

  • Investing the network

    Train on euro shaped tracksTransport has to be planned over the long term. Decisions taken over the next few years will define the landscape for decades. But considerable investment is needed to improve infrastructure across the EU. Europe is lagging behind other global leaders and public money will not be enough. To deliver a high-quality service we need new private money and new ways of securing investment.

    Why we need to invest...

    • The EU has more than 4.5 million km of paved roads, 212 500 km of railway lines and 41 000 km of navigable inland waterways.

      Source: EC estimations based on data from Eurostat, UIC and national sources

    • Since the last enlargement in 2007, EU transport policy covers most of the continent and 500 million citizens. The new Member States have only 4 800 km of motorways and no purpose-built high-speed rail lines; conventional railway lines are often in poor condition.

      Source: Energy and Transport in Europe – Statistical Pocketbook 2010.

    • A well-performing transport network requires substantial resources. The cost of EU infrastructure development to match transport demand has been estimated at over € 1.5 trillion for 2010-2030. An additional investment of a trillion euros in vehicles, equipment and charging infrastructure is needed to achieve emission reduction goals. The completion of the TEN-T network requires about €550 billion by 2020, out of which some € 215 billion are for the removal of the main bottlenecks.

      Source: EC calculations based on TENtec Information System and the Impact Assessment accompanying the White Paper, SEC(2011) 358 pdf - 2 MB [2 MB] .

    • Freight transport activity is projected to increase by around 80% by 2050 compared to 2005, while passenger traffic should grow by 51%.

      Source: PRIMES-TREMOVE and TRANSTOOLS transport models pdf - 2 MB [2 MB] (Appendix 5 of the Impact Assessment accompanying the White Paper, SEC(2011) 358).

    • European skies and airports risk saturation without substantial investment to support the deployment of Europe's air traffic management system (Single Sky). Air passenger travel is expected to grow by over 50% by 2020, and freight by 125%.

      SourceTRANSTOOLS transport model pdf - 2 MB [2 MB]  (Appendix 5 of the Impact Assessment accompanying the White Paper, SEC(2011) 358).

    • In 2000-2006, the EU invested €859 billion in its transport infrastructure.

      Source:  Steer Davies Gleave, 2009, "Ex Post Evaluation of Cohesion Policy Programmes 2000-2006, Work Package 5A: Transport", First Intermediate Report pdf - 6 MB [6 MB]

    Investment decisions are long term…

    • The average lifetime of a plane is around 30 years, of ships around 28 years and train rolling stock is replaced approximately every 35 years. 

      Source: Pridmore et al, 2009, An overview of the factors that limit new technology and concepts in the transport sector

    • It can take up to 20 years to build a motorway, from planning to construction. The average cost per km varies depending on the location and complexity of the route. It can be as low as €7.1 million and as high as €26.8 million.

      Sources: Geldidee magazine, 3/2007; Press relations 

    • It has been estimated that the present value of investments required for developing the electric road transport infrastructure in the EU would be in the range of €80-140 billion.

      Source: PRIMES-TREMOVE transport model pdf - 2 MB [2 MB]  (Appendix 5 of the Impact Assessment accompanying the White Paper, SEC(2011) 358).

Last update: 13/04/2011 | Top