Guidelines for Eurostat’s Collection of Indicators from European National Travel Surveys

Guidelines for Eurostat’s Collection of Indicators from European National Travel Surveys


Linda Christensen, DTU Transport


The paper describes Eurostat's Guidelines for collection of passenger mobility data. Special interest is payed to the method to collect information about urban travel and the problems related to collection of data for medium and long distance travel


Today collection of data from passenger mobility is not mandatory for the European countries. However, DG Move needs data for monitoring the development in urban and long distance mobility to assess the progress against fulfilment of two of the most important goals in the EU White Paper on transport mobility:
• Halve the use of ‘conventionally-fuelled’ cars in urban transport by 2030; phase them out in cities by 2050
• By 2050 the majority of medium-distance passenger transport should go by rail

For years the Greek consultancy Agilis has collected data from the National Travel Surveys and other sources of travel data, e.g. from public transport. At the NTTS 2013 conference Eurostat by Monica Cheneby had a presentation at which she compared indicators from these data. She showed that some of the data were completely non-reliable (e.g. residents in Bulgaria are travelling twice as much as residents in other countries). And in any case the indicators were non-harmonised.

Therefore Eurostat in agreement with DG Move has decided to produce “Guidelines on Passenger Mobility Statistics” which outlines some indicators which Eurostat wants to receive from the Member States. First version of the Guidelines was published in June 2015. An improved version is expected in June 2016. As delivery of data is not mandatory for the Member States Eurostat is furthermore offering Grants to make it attractive for the Member States to develop a National Travel Survey and deliver indicators to Eurostat. Countries which receive a Grant have to deliver the indicators outlined in the Guidelines. Countries which already have a NTS may also receive a Grant for delivering ex-post harmonised data or develop/change their survey so that it fulfils the description in the Guidelines.

The presentation will include
1. An overview of countries which by the end of 2017 will have a NTS in accordance or not with the guidelines
2. A presentation of the main indicators from the Guidelines.

From the Guidelines the emphasize will be on presentation of
1. The daily indicators as number of trips, km, and min per person per day by mode, purpose and weekday/weekend, and distance band (0-100 km, 100-300 km)
2. Discussion of the problems with the share of respondents without a trip
3. How to present the indicators on urban and non-urban areas
4. Indicators on medium (300-1000 km) and long distance ( 300 km)

Ad. 2. The share of no trip makers seems to be more influenced by data collection method and quality than by real behaviour. Data collected by Cost SHANTI shows a variation between 8 and 28%! The Guidelines therefore suggest the indicators per trip, km and min to be collected per traveller (person travelling) instead of per respondent. However, this cannot be used for upscaling to overall kilometres per year which also have to be delivered to Eurostat. So, how can we handle the problems with this share of no trip makers?

Ad. 3 Due to the overall goal of reduction of conventional fuelled cars in urban areas ‘Urban kilometres’ have to be defined and measured. A definition has been chosen in the version of the Guidelines published in June 2015. However, how to handle trips between rural and urban areas had not found a solution and will be presented in an improved version of the Guidelines in spring 2016.

Ad. 4 The most complicated question for the guidelines is how to handle medium and long distance travel because they can only be handled in a retrospective survey. When adding this to the daily survey the risk is that the questionnaire is getting too long.


Association for European Transport