Modal split of passenger transport (tran_hv_psmod)

Reference Metadata in Euro SDMX Metadata Structure (ESMS)

Compiling agency: Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union

Eurostat metadata
Reference metadata
1. Contact
2. Metadata update
3. Statistical presentation
4. Unit of measure
5. Reference Period
6. Institutional Mandate
7. Confidentiality
8. Release policy
9. Frequency of dissemination
10. Accessibility and clarity
11. Quality management
12. Relevance
13. Accuracy
14. Timeliness and punctuality
15. Coherence and comparability
16. Cost and Burden
17. Data revision
18. Statistical processing
19. Comment
Related Metadata
Annexes (including footnotes)

For any question on data and metadata, please contact: EUROPEAN STATISTICAL DATA SUPPORT


1. Contact Top
1.1. Contact organisation

Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union

1.2. Contact organisation unit

E3: Transport

1.5. Contact mail address 2920 Luxembourg LUXEMBOURG

2. Metadata update Top
2.1. Metadata last certified 25/11/2019
2.2. Metadata last posted 25/11/2019
2.3. Metadata last update 25/11/2019

3. Statistical presentation Top
3.1. Data description

This indicator is defined as the percentage of transport by passenger cars, buses and coaches, and trains in total inland passenger transport performance, measured in passenger-km.

Inland passenger transport includes road (passenger cars, buses and coaches) and rail (trains) transport.

Rail passenger transport performance (in passenger-kilometres) data are collected according to the legal act and road passenger transport data are provided voluntary. The indicator is updated annually.

3.2. Classification system

Not applicable

3.3. Coverage - sector

Road and rail passenger transport

3.4. Statistical concepts and definitions

The indicator is aimed at monitoring the dependence of passenger transport on each individual mode. The indicator is expressed as the percentage of passenger transport by car, buses and coaches, and trains respectively in total inland passenger transport (measured in passenger-kilometres).

Transport performance (passenger-kilometres) should be reported by the countries according to the "territoriality principle". This means that countries are requested to supply data based on movements on their national territory, regardless of the nationality of the vehicle. However, data collection methodologies are not harmonised at the level of the EU as road passenger transport data are collected on a voluntary basis.

The current version of the indicator is based on inland transport only. Although statistics on air and sea transport are already well developed, due to their predominantly international nature, there are conceptual difficulties in dealing with these modes in a manner consistent with the inland modes.

In addition, given that policy measures are targeted at use of vehicles rather than volumes transported, this indicator may need to take account of movements of vehicles (vehicle-kilometres). However, since transport statistics have been more concerned with following the movement of goods and passengers than the movement of vehicles, the indicators are based on transport performance (passenger-kilometres). For detailed information on transport definitions, please, refer to the Glossary for transport statistics (Fifth edition).

3.5. Statistical unit

The indicator is a composite value combining different transport series. Information on methodology for collecting transport data can be found online.

3.6. Statistical population

Transport data used for the calculation of the indicators are based on the specific data collections for the different transport modes, some of them on voluntary basis. See also ‘3.5. Statistical unit’.

3.7. Reference area

Where possible, data are given for the EU Member States, Candidate countries and EFTA countries.

EU aggregates are also available.

3.8. Coverage - Time

The time period covered is usually 1990 onwards and in many cases 1995 onwards.

3.9. Base period

Not applicable

4. Unit of measure Top

The unit used for measuring the transport performance is the passenger-kilometre (pkm). Passenger-kilometre represents one passenger travelling a distance of one kilometre.

The indicator is expressed as the percentage of transport by passenger cars, buses and coaches, and trains in total inland passenger transport performance, measured in passenger-kilometres.

5. Reference Period Top

Calendar year

6. Institutional Mandate Top
6.1. Institutional Mandate - legal acts and other agreements

Data on road passenger transport  are collected on a voluntary basis through the Eurostat/ITF/UNECE Common Questionnaire on Transport Statistics. From 2003, rail transport data are also collected through Regulation (EC) No 91/2003 on rail transport statistics, replaced by Regulation (EU) 2018/643 of the European Parliament and the Council on rail transport statistics (recast).

Where data have been unobtainable from these sources, figures have been taken from national statistical institutes, ITF, UNECE, UIC. Certain data on road passenger transport have been also estimated by the European Commission, Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport.

6.2. Institutional Mandate - data sharing

There are no specific agreements related to data sharing and exchange between Eurostat and national or international institutions. All users have equal access to statistical releases at the same time.

7. Confidentiality Top
7.1. Confidentiality - policy

Regulation (EC) No 223/2009 on European statistics (recital 24 and Article 20(4)) of 11 March 2009 (OJ L 87, p. 164), stipulates the need to establish common principles and guidelines ensuring the confidentiality of data used for the production of European statistics and the access to those confidential data with due account for technical developments and the requirements of users in a democratic society.

7.2. Confidentiality - data treatment

See 7.1

8. Release policy Top
8.1. Release calendar

No release calendar exists. Data are normally released for the period of T-2 in July of year T.

8.2. Release calendar access

Not applicable

8.3. Release policy - user access

In line with the Community legal framework and the European Statistics Code of Practice Eurostat disseminates European statistics on Eurostat's website (see item 10 - 'Accessibility and clarity') respecting professional independence and in an objective, professional and transparent manner in which all users are treated equitably. The detailed arrangements are governed by the Eurostat protocol on impartial access to Eurostat data for users.

9. Frequency of dissemination Top


10. Accessibility and clarity Top
10.1. Dissemination format - News release

Normally not planned.

10.2. Dissemination format - Publications

Modal split is presented in the article of Statistics Explained on Passenger Transport statistics.

Modal split of transport, as well as other data on transport are available in the  "Pocketbook on energy, transport and environment statistics".

10.3. Dissemination format - online database

Please consult free data on-line or refer to contact details.

10.4. Dissemination format - microdata access

See contact details

10.5. Dissemination format - other

Internet address:

10.6. Documentation on methodology

For further information on definitions used for transport, please refer to the Glossary for transport statistics (Fifth edition). Information on methodology for collecting transport data can be found online (for example "Reference manual on rail transport statistics").

10.7. Quality management - documentation

Some information for countries providing rail transport data can be found in the relevant metadata. No information is available for voluntary data collection, apart from the definitions available in the Glossary for transport statistics (Fifth edition).

11. Quality management Top
11.1. Quality assurance

Common data definitions are provided in the Glossary for Transport Statistics, however due to the voluntary character of the road transport data collection, the methodology and concepts are not harmonised at the EU level.

Since the implementation of the legislation on rail data collection, common methodology at country level is established, and rail data is subsequently validated in Eurostat by applying different controls on the incoming data, before and after treatment.

11.2. Quality management - assessment

Due to the prevailing voluntary character of the road transport data collection, the methodology is not harmonised at the EU level and this should be taken into account when data are used. Estimates were applied for certain countries for road passenger transport, particularly for passenger cars (see also item 18.5 and 19). Some information for countries providing rail transport data can be found in the relevant metadata.

12. Relevance Top
12.1. Relevance - User Needs

The main users are the European Commission, international and governmental bodies or research institutes.

The statistics are used for trend analysis on modal shift to environment-friendly transport modes. The indicator is included among the indicators to follow the Sustainable Development Goals and their related 169 targets, which are at the heart of the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

12.2. Relevance - User Satisfaction

Eurostat does not carry out a specific satisfaction survey. Methodological issues or other aspects of further development are a subject of discussion with the relevant national authorities, other services of the Commission or, in some cases, other institutions.

12.3. Completeness

For a few countries, data have to be estimated. (see also item 18.5)

13. Accuracy Top
13.1. Accuracy - overall


The transport performance data are based on a large variety of statistical sources and some data gaps are filled with estimates.

The restricted accuracy of the indicator is mainly due to lack of data on transport by passenger car although it is the prevailing mode. Car passenger data is usually obtained from national surveys on passenger mobility or travel surveys, however, the survey concept, periods covered and reference population taken into account may vary among the countries.

Data are not always collected according to the "territoriality principle" (see 3.4.). For example, some countries may report figures based on odometer readings of cars registered in their country. However, these data would then include transport which may have been performed abroad, and on the other hand would not cover transport performance of foreign vehicles on their territory and even though the two elements may partly compensate each other, the "territoriality principle" is not applied.

13.2. Sampling error

Not available

13.3. Non-sampling error

Not available

14. Timeliness and punctuality Top
14.1. Timeliness

The delay between the end of the reference period and data dissemination is 15-18 months.

14.2. Punctuality

Since road passenger transport data collection is not harmonised at EU level, the punctuality varies.

15. Coherence and comparability Top
15.1. Comparability - geographical

Comparability across countries is considerably restricted because data collection methodologies for passenger transport by road are not harmonized at the EU level. Even if data are based on official data collections, the data coverage is not always identical. Some essential elements are the following:

- Transport performance of passenger cars may or may not include taxis and/or vans; when Travel Surveys are used as data source, the movement of foreign vehicles are excluded;

- Transport performance of trains may or may not include small enterprises and commuter trains;

- Transport performance of buses and coaches may or may not include urban transport or trolley buses.

15.2. Comparability - over time

Comparability over time is restricted as sources for a country may vary during the covered period due to the survey methodology changes. Breaks in series appearing for few countries are noted below in ‘19. Comment’. In addition, some countries stated that for certain periods data are based on benchmark surveys, while for the rest of the covered period they are estimated. 

15.3. Coherence - cross domain

Detailed transport data, collected according to the legal acts or on a voluntary basis, are available online.

15.4. Coherence - internal

See 15.1 and 18.

16. Cost and Burden Top

The indicators are composite values, combining data series on inland transport modes. Thus, there is no additional cost and burden for countries or for individual respondents associated with this indicator. Any costs are limited to the additional work carried out by Eurostat to develop, produce and disseminate the indicator.

17. Data revision Top
17.1. Data revision - policy

The indicator is revised if the transport series used for its calculation are updated.

17.2. Data revision - practice

The indicator is a composite value combining series of different transport modes. Changes in data collection methodology for some of the transport modes might lead to a break in the series. Methodological changes are usually a result of new legislation entering into force. The new legal acts are published in the Official Journal of the European Union before their application.

18. Statistical processing Top
18.1. Source data

Data on passenger transport performance are collected through the Eurostat/ITF/UNECE Common Questionnaire on Transport Statistics, and from 2003, rail transport data are also collected through the Regulation (EC) No 91/2003 on rail transport statistics and subsequant Regulation (EU) 2018/643 of the European Parliament and the Council on rail transport statistics (recast) . The Common Questionnaire is accompanied by a Glossary for transport statistics.

Where data have been unobtainable from these sources, figures have been taken from national statistical institutes, ITF, UNECE or estimated.

18.2. Frequency of data collection

Annually (quarterly for micro-data on rail).

18.3. Data collection

Techniques of data collection might differ from one mode of transport to another depending on the methodology applied and organisation of the work in the countries. In some cases, such as rail, statistics are based on commercial data of the railway undertakings.

18.4. Data validation

Transport data series used for the calculation of these indicators are, despite its heterogeneous character, subject to plausibility checks. The data validation process is organised according to the data management applied for the different modes of transport.

18.5. Data compilation

Data on passenger cars and buses and coaches are estimated for several countries (passenger cars: BG, EE, IE, EL, CY, LU, MT, PT, RO, SI; Busses and coaches: IE, EL, CY, LU, MT, SI). Estimates are disseminated in the pocketbook ‘EU transport in figures’, available on the website of the Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport of the European Commission.

In order to estimate data, first the vehicle use (passenger-km/vehicle stock) for year ‘n-1’ and ‘n’ is computed.  Then, the average growth rate for the vehicle use for the countries with available data is calculated. Furthermore, in order to obtain the values (for vehicle use) for year ‘n’ for the countries with missing data (for all other countries except Ireland), this average growth rate is applied to the values for year ‘n-1’. Finally, in order to obtain the passenger-km,  the estimated pkm/stock for year ‘n’  is multiplied with the values for vehicle stock for year ‘n’. The estimates for Ireland are based on the TRACCS project. Benchmarking of the estimates is done in cases when data became available for a country.

European aggregates are calculated from the total transport performance at the necessary level of aggregation (sum of the inland transport performance of the component countries).

Aggregates are compiled for all years for which data for all the component countries are available.

In addition, a sub-aggregate of the sum of rail and motor coaches, buses and trolley buses shares was calculated. Rail transport statistical legislation does not apply to Cyprus and Malta and for these two countries, this sub-aggregate contains only the share of motor coaches, buses and trolley buses.

18.6. Adjustment

Not applicable 

19. Comment Top

Denmark: Rail transport: Break in series in 1993. In 1992, Banestyrelsen (ex DSB) only, excluding S-tog (commuter trains).

Germany: Passenger cars: Break in 1994, data have been revised and they are not comparable with the previous years. Rail: break in 1993 due to conceptual changes in the methodology.

United Kingdom: passenger cars, and buses and coaches, refer to Great Britain.

Related metadata Top

Annexes Top