TERM EU Occupancy rates of passenger vehicles

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1 Indicator fact sheet TERM EU s of passenger vehicles Passenger car occupancy is falling in most countries, despite EU efforts to increase utilisation efficiency, for example through its citizens network strategy. s for other passenger transport modes (buses, trains) have also not improved during the last decade, except for air transport. The occupancy rates of trains and buses are expected to improve in future, as budget cuts eliminate unprofitable lines and congestion is pushing people towards public transport. Figure 1: Evolution of occupancy rates for passenger cars, Air Index (1990 = 100) Cars (EU-8) Bus/coach Rail NB: EU-8 (cars) refers to Denmark, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Portugal, Finland, Sweden and the UK. Buses/coaches occupancy rates exclude Greece. Air refers to principal airline carriers only. All series but aviation are based on passenger-kilometres/vehicle-kilometres. Air is based on the percentage of seats occupied. Sources: Eurostat, Results and assessment Policy relevance The total number of vehicle-kilometres can be significantly reduced if the efficiency of passenger transport (in terms of vehicle occupancy rates) would increase. Consequently, less vehicles would be needed to transport the same number of persons, which would help to combat congestion and avert environmental damage. Policy context Measures to increase occupancy rates include schemes for favouring vehicles with more than one passenger (through-traffic privileges) and initiatives to promote car sharing. Private companies are increasingly promoting car sharing. However, there are no explicit targets for these indicators at EU level. The citizens network By developing the citizens network the European Commission aims to promote local and regional public transport services to become a more attractive alternative to private cars. 1

2 Although increasing occupancy rates in public transport services is not specifically named, promotion of public transport services should have that effect. The work programme established to realise the citizens network consists of four pillars: information exchange through the European local transport information service (ELTIS); benchmarking based on self-assessment; establishing the right policy framework (e.g. support for more fair and efficient pricing in transport and promotion of integrating mobility aspects into spatial planning policies); financial instruments used in demonstration projects and in supporting sustainable local and regional transport through the Structural Funds. Some Member States have developed policies for occupancy rates of passenger cars. Sweden: Sweden has adopted targets for increasing the average number of people in private cars by 5 %. Denmark: A car-sharing database has been set up to facilitate car sharing arrangements. For more information see the Internet (www.pendlernet.dk). In addition park and ride and kiss and drive facilities have been established along the Copenhagen commuter-train lines. Italy: Citizens of most major Italian cities will soon be able to join car sharing schemes. The Italian Environment Ministry estimates that around motorists could take part in the new schemes by 2005, reducing CO 2 emissions by tonnes and the number of cars on the roads by vehicles over the period (Italian Ministry of Environment, 2002). Environmental context Efficient usage of passenger vehicles results in less vehicle-kilometres needed to transport the same amount of passengers. Car sharing might even lead to fewer cars on the roads, which can attribute to averting congestion. Utilisation efficiency is one of the main parameters that determine energy and emissions efficiency. A high occupancy rate in passenger cars and buses has relatively little impact on overall vehicle weight, and therefore on energy consumption. Hence, less vehicle-kilometres results in less environmental damage occurring for transporting the same number of passengers. Assessment Passenger cars s for passenger cars (Table 1) are decreasing in most Member States, as a result of increasing car ownership (see TERM EU Size of the vehicle fleet), increased use of cars for commuting and a continued decline in household size. Table 5 shows some purposes and the corresponding occupancy rates. Family trips and leisure trips are generally much better occupied than commuting trips. Buses and coaches s for buses and coaches vary widely between Member States (see Table 2). For example, in the United Kingdom a bus carries, on average, around 9 persons while in France this figure is around 25. The differences between Member States can be explained by different organisation of public transport (fares, frequency, accessibility, etc.). In most Member States there is a tendency to privatise bus companies and/or cut back subsidy levels. Hence, unprofitable bus routes are being closed down. This results in higher occupancy rates and corresponding improvements in usage efficiency. Rail s in rail transport have declined in most Member States, so the efficiency of use has not improved between 1980 and s in the Netherlands have increased markedly (by 20 % between 1990 and 1998). This is probably due to increasing congestion on roads, improved efficiency of the Dutch

3 railways (i.e. closing down less-profitable lines) and more seats per train (Dutch Railway Company, 2000). s for trains vary between train types (see TERM 2001) and Member States (see Table 3). Conventional trains are on average 35 % full, while the occupancy rate of high-speed trains is generally higher, varying for different countries and connections (e.g. about 80 % for the Paris Lyon TGV, about 50 % on average for the German ICE). Air Based on data from principal carriers only, including domestic flights, the average seat occupancy of European airlines has increased by around 5 % in the past two decades. On average, aircraft are now around 68 % occupied. Spain and Finland showed remarkable increases (both around 10 %). Spain is the country with the highest seat occupancy in aviation (Table 4). References Dutch Railway Company, 2000, Jaarverslag 1999 statistische bijlage, Nederlandse Spoorwegen (Annual report 1999 statistical annex, the Dutch railway company), Netherlands, ECS, European car sharing network (http://www.carsharing.org). Eurostat, 2002, Transport and environment: statistics for the transport and environment reporting mechanism (TERM) for the European Union, data , European Commission in cooperation with Eurostat, Luxembourg 2001 (Unpublished electronic update, January 2002). IEA, 1997, Indicators of energy use and efficiency, International Energy Agency, Paris, France. Italian Ministry of the Environment, 2002, web site (http://www.minambiente.it/sito/comunicati/2002/02_04_09_1.asp). OECD, 2000: EST! synthesis report, Synthesis report of the OECD project on environmentally sustainable transport (EST) presented on the occasion of the International EST! conference, 4 6 October 2000, Vienna, Austria. UIC, 1999, Chronological railway statistics, International Union of Railways, Paris, France. Data Table 1: Passenger car occupancy in Member States Belgium N/A 1.1 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A Austria N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A Denmark N/A Finland France N/A Germany N/A N/A Greece N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A Ireland N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A Italy N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A Luxembourg N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A Netherlands N/A N/A Portugal N/A Spain N/A 2.9 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A Sweden United Kingdom N/A

4 Table 2: Bus/coach occupancy rates in 1999 Austria 25 Belgium 32 Denmark 19 Finland 13 France 18 Germany 18 Greece N/A Ireland 15 Italy 17 Luxembourg 23 Netherlands 25 Portugal 16 Spain 28 Sweden 9 United Kingdom 9 EU Table 4: Air seat occupancy in 1999 Unit: % of seats occupied Austria 52 Belgium 66 Denmark 67 Finland 65 France 70 Germany 66 Greece 68 Ireland 72 Italy 64 Luxembourg 53 Netherlands 69 Portugal 69 Spain 71 Sweden 67 United Kingdom 69 EU Table 3: Rail occupancy rates in 1999 Table 5: s by travel purpose in Europe Austria (1998) 88 Belgium 96 Denmark (1998) 103 Finland 126 France 183 Germany 100 Greece (1998) 102 Ireland 131 Italy 164 Luxembourg (1998) 47 Netherlands (1998) 126 Portugal 139 Spain 142 Sweden 111 United Kingdom (1998) 95 EU-15 (1998) 121 Travel purpose Commuting to/from work Family trip Travel and leisure Source: IEA, File: TERM EU s.xls Metadata Technical information 1. Data source: The data on occupancy rates: Eurostat statistical compendium, Description of data: s, calculated by dividing passenger-kilometres by the vehicle-kilometres. Original measure units: Passenger-kilometres and vehicle-kilometres

5 Original purpose: Unknown. 3. Geographical coverage: EU-15 (Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Finland, Sweden and the United Kingdom). 4. Temporal coverage: Methodology and frequency of data collection: Passenger-kilometres and vehiclekilometres are collected on an annual basis by the ECMT/UNECE/Eurostat common questionnaire on inland transport statistics. 6. Methodology of data manipulation, including making early estimates : For cars and bus/coach: occupancy rates for EU-8 (cars) and EU-14 (bus/coach) are calculated by using passenger-kilometre and vehicle-kilometre data series from the original data file. Quality information 7. Strength and weakness (at data level): Passenger-kilometre and vehicle-kilometre data are estimated. The possible error is the error in passenger-kilometres times the error in vehicle-kilometres. Furthermore, some passenger-kilometre data are calculated by using an estimation of the average number of vehicle-kilometres and the average occupancy rates. Using calculated passenger-kilometres and the calculated vehicle-kilometres to calculate the average occupancy rate is not a good methodology. 8. Reliability, accuracy, robustness, uncertainty (at data level): See point 7; reliability and accuracy of the data is not that good, but the Eurostat data is the best available. 9. Overall scoring (give 1 to 3 points: 1 = no major problems, 3 = major reservations): 3 Relevancy: 2 (Occupancy in terms of percentage of seats occupied would be a more exact indicator.) Accuracy: 3 (Passenger and vehicle kilometre data is estimated and rather uncertain combining both leads to data that is even less reliable.) Comparability over time: 2 (Many data gaps, but same methodology applied to the data.) Comparability over space: 3 (Data on vehicle-kilometres is poorly harmonised; passengerkilometres also has its limitations. The resulting occupancy rates should be compared with care between countries.) Further work required More work is needed to provide reliable and comparable data for occupancy rates for all modes. The vehicle-kilometre data should be collected regularly, using the same definition and measuring method in all Member States, preferable through surveys. s for passenger cars differ considerably, depending on the length and purpose of the trip. Breakdowns by purpose (work/education, business, shopping and leisure) are therefore needed. Seat occupancy for trains and buses should become available. It would also be interesting to have more country data on car sharing. Box 1: Car sharing Car sharing can reduce the number of cars and help to achieve more efficient use of each car, because the cars are unused for shorter periods and have a higher average occupancy rate. The linkage between increasing car ownership and increasing transport volumes is thereby reduced. Car sharing is becoming more and more popular across Europe, benefiting the participants (financially) and the environment. The ECS (European car sharing) network, founded in 1980, now includes 40 organisations in 550 cities in Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, Italy and Norway (ECS)

6 StattAuto Car Sharing GmbH, established in 1988 and operating in Berlin, has about members and the number is gradually increasing. The car fleet consists of 180 vehicles travelling an average of km a year compared with km for the average German car. Most trips (83 %) last less than 24 hours and 30 % of the trips are less than 100 km. On average, each trip covers 98 km. The average annual mileage of StattAuto users is km per person compared with km per person per year for non-users. The average occupancy rate of StattAuto cars is two persons, compared with the German average of 1.3 persons. Bremen has introduced a joint ticket for public transport and car sharing. When purchasing this card, cardholders are in essence purchasing their mobility across a number of modes and are no longer constrained to one mode only. With more than car sharers in Bremen and 630 combined season tickets (Bremen has a high share of biking), this relates to a reduction of about tons of CO 2 annually. About private cars have been replaced (OECD, 2000). Sources: ECS; OECD,

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