Who Are the European Modal Shift Champions?
Jan Francke, KiM Netherlands Institute for Transport Policy Analysis, Olaf Jonkeren, KiM Netherlands Institute for Transport Policy Analysis, Johan Visser, KiM Netherlands Institute for Transport Policy Analysis
How effective have the EU member states been in shifting road freight to rail or waterborne in the last ten years. Using the EU sustainable freight transport indicator Austria and Belgium seem to be the modal shift champions but this is deceptive.
“We are the Champions” is the Queen classic quite often being sung after winning a sports match. But who are the champions in reaching the transport policy goals regarding modal shift in freight transport? How effective have the EU member states been in shifting road freight to rail or waterborne in the last ten years?
The European Commission suggested in 2011 in their White Paper on Transport amongst others that 30% of road freight over 300 km should shift to other modes such as rail or waterborne transport by 2030, and more than 50% by 2050.
Using the Eurostat sustainable freight transport indicator it looks like Austria and Belgium are the modal shift champions. This Eurostat indicator however is deceptive and uses road freight figures which are based on the nationality of the transport operator whereas the figures for rail and inland shipping are based the territoriality principle. If the territorial principle is used for all modes then Austria and Belgium are no longer the champions but then Romania and Finland lead the modal shift.
For the Netherlands we have analysed the modal shares (road, rail and inland shipping) more in detail between 2005 and 2014. With a shift-share analysis we explain how much can be attributed to growth differences in goods categories and origin/destination regions regardless the mode of transport (share) and which modal shift then remains.
Although the Netherlands have no official modal shift policy targets our analyses show that rail and inland shipping increased their share compared to road freight transport especially in longer distance markets.
Association for European Transport