Cars remain widely used throughout European countries, as 79.7 per cent of passenger kilometres passed in 2021 were made by this means of transport.
According to data by the European Statistical Office, Eurostat, the remaining 20 per cent of passenger kilometres travelled, is divided into 7.3 per cent for air travel, 7.1 per cent for coaches, buses or trolley buses, 5.6 per cent for trains and about 0.3 per cent for sea boats. The data shows a clear indication that people are prioritising comfort over climate.
However, the trend of using cars for transportation has had its ups and downs in the last decade. The share of passenger kilometres by car represented 73.1 per cent of the total and it stood around the same rate until 2019. In 2020, there was an increase in the use of automobile transport to 81.9 per cent but these rates are not accurate as the passenger kilometres in general decreased to 3.5 trillion from 4.3 trillion in 2019, which is linked to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the industry.
Impact of COVID-19 on Shared Passenger-Kilometres Passed in the Last Decade
Between 2011 and 2021, the use of public transport – trains, coaches, busses and trolleys, was decreasing, with the share of coaches, buses and trolley buses being down from nine per cent to 7.1 per cent – 1.9 percentage points decrease caused in the decade while the use of trains marked a one percentage point decrease – from 6.6 per cent of passenger kilometres travelled by trains in 2011 to 5.6 in 2021.
However, the most noticeable difference between means of transport used in the last decade is related to the share of air passenger kilometres, as 10.9 per cent of all kilometres travelled in 2011 were made by planes and it kept rising to reach 15 per cent in 2019 before COVID-19 pandemic break out. After the outbreak, the sector recorded the lowest point in the decade – 5.7 per cent in 2020 and it rose to 7.3 per cent in the following year, showing a rebound after two years of restrictions and little to no activity.
Lithuania Leads With Highest Share in Total Car Transport Performance in 2021
About 91.7 per cent of transport in Lithuania throughout 2021 was made by car, making this country with the highest share of car transportation, followed by the Netherlands (85.4 per cent), and Finland (85.2 per cent).
As for rail transport, Austria continues to be the top performer with the highest share (8.6 per cent) of rail passenger kilometres in the total transport performance, followed by France (8.3 per cent) and the Netherlands (eight per cent).
As per air transport, Croatia had the highest share of air passenger kilometres for all transport modes – 25.4 per cent, followed by Bulgaria (16.3 per cent) and Spain (13.1 per cent), whereas Malta, Hungary and Ireland, held the highest share for passenger kilometres travelled by busses, trollies and coaches, as 13.3, 12.8 and 12.4 per cent of kilometres were travelled through these transport modes, respectively.
Croatia also has the highest share of kilometres passed by sea vessels as 2.7 per cent of transportation was made via sea transport, followed by Greece (1.6 per cent) and Estonia (1.5 per cent).