Transport equipment statistics

Data extracted in April 2020

Planned update: June 2021

Most EU Member States reported an increase in the motorisation rates of passenger cars over the last ten years (2009–2018), with the highest increase recorded in Romania (58.9 %).
In 2017, the largest air fleet in the EU was recorded by Germany (1 100 aircraft accounting for a 20 % share of the EU total), followed by France (571; 11 % share).

Transport statistics include information on transport equipment - the type and number of vehicles/vessels that are used and their age. This article provides information related to transport equipment in the European Union for the four main modes of transport: railway, road, inland water and air.

Full article

Railway transport equipment

By 2018, the use of electricity as a source of power for locomotives had increased over the years in most EU Member States (see Table 1). Diesel was almost only used by locomotives in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Electricity was the main source of power for railcars in eight EU Member States: Spain, France, Latvia, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Finland and Sweden (see Table 2).

Table 1: Percentage of locomotives by source of power, by country (%)
Source: Eurostat (rail_eq_locon)

Table 2: Percentage of railcars by source of power, by country (%)
Source: Eurostat (rail_eq_locon)

Since 2009, only a few EU Member States have reported increases in the national capacity (number of seats) of passenger railway vehicles: Estonia, Croatia and Luxembourg (up to 2017), Finland and Sweden (see Table 3). For most EU Member States for which data were available, however, decreases ranging from – 1.4 % to – 40.4 % were recorded.

Table 3: Capacity of passenger railway vehicles (thousand seats)
Source: Eurostat (rail_eq_pa_csb)

Figure 1: Passenger railway vehicles, 2018 (number)
Source: Eurostat (rail_eq_pa_nty)

Road transport equipment

Increase in motorisation rate of passenger cars in majority of EU Member States between 2009 and 2018

In the EU-27, most countries have reported an increase in the motorisation rate of passenger cars (number per 1 000 inhabitants) over the last 10 years (2009–2018). Passenger cars are road motor vehicles, other than a moped or a motor cycle intended for the carriage of passengers and designed to seat no more than nine persons (including the driver). Romania (58.9 %), Slovakia (44.4 %) and Poland (42.2 %) recorded the highest increases. The only exceptions were Latvia (-13.4 %), Lithuania (-5.2 %) and France (-1.6 %). Romania (332), Latvia (369) and Hungary (373) reported the lowest rates in 2018. Luxembourg (676), Italy (646), Cyprus and Finland (both 629), Poland (617) and Malta (608) recorded the highest rates.

Table 4: Motorisation rate of passenger cars, by country (number of passenger cars / 1 000 inhabitants)
Source: Eurostat (road_eqs_carhab)

In 2018, more than half of cars were petrol in the majority of EU Member States

In 11 out of 23 EU Member States for which 2018 data are available, more than 50 % of cars were petrol (see Figure 2). Cyprus reported the highest percentage of petrol cars (81.7 %), followed by Finland (73.7 %) and Denmark (68.3 %). Diesel-driven cars exceeded the 50 % threshold in Lithuania (67.7 %), France (65.8 %), Latvia (59.1 %), Luxembourg (58.9 %), Spain and Portugal (both 56.1 %), Austria (55.8 %), Ireland (55.5 %), Belgium (54.7 %) and Croatia (50.7 %). Alternative fuels made a significant contribution in Poland (15.9 %), Italy (8.6 %), Lithuania (8.2 %) and Latvia (7.3 %). The large share of alternative energy cars in Turkey can be explained by new liquefied petroleum gases (LPG) car registrations together with cars converted from gasoline/diesel to LPG cars.

Figure 2: Share of passenger cars, by fuel type, by country, 2018 (%)
Source: Eurostat (road_eqs_carpda)

In 2018, the renewal rate of passenger cars (ratio of first registered to total passenger cars) in the EU- 27 ranged from 2.0 % in Romania to 12.7 % in Luxembourg (see Table 5). Renewal rates have tended to decrease in the majority of EU Member States since 2009, but from 2017 there has been an increase in some countries.

Table 5: Renewal rate of passenger cars, by country (passenger cars first registration / total passenger cars, %)
Source: Eurostat (road_eqr_carmot) and (road_eqs_carmot)

Romania recorded highest increase in motorisation rate of lorries and road tractors

In 2018, the motorisation rate of lorries and road tractors in the EU-27 varied from 41 lorries and road tractors per 1 000 inhabitants in Germany to 133 in Portugal (see Table 6). These variations are probably partly due to the fact that EU Member States register very light lorries and vans differently. Besides Portugal, Cyprus (127), Finland (115) and Spain (111) also recorded rates above 100. By contrast, besides Germany, low rates were also recorded in Croatia and Lithuania (both 45) and in Latvia (46). Between 2009 and 2018, the trend was not consistent among EU Member States. EU countries from eastern Europe recorded the highest increases, especially Romania (63.4 %), Estonia (50.9 %), Bulgaria (46.2 %), Finland (36.2 %) and Poland (34.6 %). On the other hand, Latvia (-18.3 %), Cyprus (-16.3 %) and Malta (-10.3 %) recorded the highest decreases.

Table 6: Motorisation rate of lorries and road tractors, by country (number of lorries and road tractors / 1 000 inhabitants)
Source: Eurostat (road_eqs_lorroa_h), (road_eqs_lorroa) and (demo_pjan)

Among those EU Member States for which data are available, five recorded renewal rates of lorries and road tractors above 10 % in 2018: Lithuania (15.3 %), Luxembourg (13.1 %), Slovenia (11.8 %), Germany (10.7 %), Austria (10.5 %), Croatia (10.3  %) and Sweden (10.2 %) (see Figure 3). By contrast, there were substantial decreases in renewal rates between 2009 and 2018 in Latvia (-55.2 %), Finland (-14.4 %) and Germany (-8.0 %).

Figure 3: Renewal rate of lorries and road tractors, by country, 2011 and 2018 (lorries and road tractors first registration/total lorries and road tractors, %)
Source: Eurostat (road_eqr_tracmot), (road_eqr_tracm), (road_eqr_lormot), (road_eqs_lorroa) and (road_eqs_lorroa_h)

Inland waterway transport equipment

Significant increase in number of vessels in Bulgaria, Croatia and Finland

In the last 15 years (2004–2018), there were significant increases in the number of self-propelled barges in Croatia (280 %), Bulgaria (240 %) and Finland (40 %), while in Slovakia the number of vessels decreased by 67 %. However, these numbers must be put into perspective - the EU Member States that these numbers relate to have only recently expanded their previously small fleets. Croatia’s self-propelled barge fleet only includes 19 vessels, Bulgaria’s 34 and Finland’s 189 (see Table 7).

Table 7: Number of vessels, selected countries, 2018
Source: Eurostat (iww_eq_age) and (iww_eq_loadcap)

In 2018, self-propelled barges accounted for 74.1 % of total loading capacity in the Netherlands, 70.6 % in Germany and 58.4 % in France. In Romania (90.3 %), dumb and pushed vessels provided the majority of load capacity (see Figure 4).

Figure 4: Total loading capacity of self-propelled vessels and dumb and pushed vessels, top 4 countries, 2018 (1 000 tonnes)
Source: Eurostat (iww_eq_age_loa)

The percentage of self-propelled barge vessels with high loading capacity (over 1 000 tonnes) stood at over 50 % in Bulgaria (88.2 %), Croatia (63.2 %) and the Netherlands (52.7 %) (see Figure 5). For dumb and pushed vessels, the highest percentage contribution of high-loading capacity vessels was in Bulgaria (97.3 %), Slovakia (85.0 %), the Netherlands (76.6 %) and Hungary (55.1 %) (see Figure 6).

Figure 5: Number of self-propelled vessels by load capacity, selected countries, 2018 (%)
Source: Eurostat (iww_eq_loadcap)

Figure 6: Number of dumb and pushed vessels by load capacity, selected countries, 2018 (%)
Source: Eurostat (iww_eq_loadcap)

Air transport equipment

Largest commercial aircraft fleet among EU-27 recorded in Germany in 2017

In 2017, the three largest EU Member States and Ireland recorded the largest numbers of commercial aircraft (see Figure 7). Germany recorded the largest aircraft fleet (1 100 aircraft accounting for a 20 % share of the EU total), followed by France (571; 11 % share), Ireland (569; 11 % share) and Spain (509; 9 % share). In terms of the number of aircraft per million inhabitants, Malta (362) and Luxembourg (203) held the highest values, while Poland (4) and Romania (3) had the lowest.

Figure 7: EU commercial aircraft fleet by operator country, top 10 countries, 2017 (%)
Source: Eurostat (avia_eq_arc_typ)

Besides the fleet size, Eurostat collects data on the age and type of aircraft. In 2017, there were 5 404 commercial aircraft in the EU-27, a 5 % increase compared with 2014. Aircraft that were 20 years or older accounted for 0 % of the fleet in Finland and 54.8 % of the fleet in Sweden in 2017. Around 61 % of the commercial aircraft in the EU-27 were used to carry passengers, while cargo aircraft accounted for 2.8 % (see Figure 8). Quick change aircraft (0.4 %) only made up a tiny fraction of the commercial fleet in the EU-27. Around 32.5 % of the commercial fleet were ’Other aircraft’, meaning that they were not used for commercial air transport. This category includes mainly business/corporate/executive aircraft but also special purpose/ambulance aircraft.

Figure 8: Commercial aircraft fleet by type of aircraft, EU-28, 2017 (%)
Source: Eurostat (avia_eq_arc_typ)

Source data for tables and graphs

Data sources

Eurostat collects data on transport using the Common Questionnaire on Inland Transport Statistics developed by the UNECE, ITF and Eurostat and the Eurostat Questionnaire on Air Transport Statistics. Data are classified according to the transport mode and, particularly for transport equipment, refer to both vehicles/vessels and containers:

  • Railway transport: covers locomotives, railcars, passenger railway vehicles and wagons.
  • Road transport covers: mopeds, motorcycles, passenger cars, motor coaches, buses and trolley buses, lorries and road tractors, trailers and semi-trailers are included in this category. Data refer to the total number of vehicles as well as to new registrations.
  • Inland waterway transport covers freight vessels, classified according to the load capacity and date of construction.
  • Air transport covers commercial aircraft only, by type and age of aircraft.

Most data have been available since 1990 (in some cases since 1970) and are collected for the EU-27, EFTA and EU candidate countries. Not all data are available for all EU Member States, which makes it difficult to derive EU averages.


The EU’s policy on transport is governed by Title VI (Articles 90 to 100) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. The guiding policy document is the 2001 White Paper, which was revised in 2006 and sets the priorities for action on transport issues, including environmental aspects. The overall aim of the EU's transport policy is to reconcile the growing mobility needs of citizens with the requirements of sustainable development.

The European Commission adopted a Communication in mid-2009 entitled, 'A sustainable future for transport: towards an integrated, technology-led and user friendly system' (COM (2009) 279 final). It reviewed the outcomes of the 2001 White Paper and underlined the challenges in the coming years in the transport sector, including the scarcity of fossil fuels and the need to reduce greenhouse emissions.

Following on from this, the European Commission adopted a White Paper in March 2011 entitled 'Roadmap to a single European transport area — Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system'. The roadmap proposes 40 initiatives for the next decade to build a competitive transport system that aims to increase mobility, remove major barriers, and stimulate growth and employment.

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Railway transport (rail)
Road transport (road)
Inland waterways transport (iww)
Air transport (avia)

  • Railway transport (rail), see:
Railway transport equipment (rail_eq)
  • Road transport (road), see:
Road transport equipment — Stock of vehicles (road_eqs)
Road transport equipment — New registration of vehicles (road_eqr)
  • Inland waterways transport (iww), see:
Inland waterways transport equipment (iww_eq)
  • Air transport (avia), see:
Air transport equipment (avia_eq)