Passenger transport by car (i43)

In 2021, 84.9% of passenger transport in Belgium, measured in passenger-kilometres, was by car. To achieve the sustainable development goal by 2030, this figure must be reduced to 67.6%. The Federal Planning Bureauʹs projections (available in November 2023) indicate that this objective will not be reached. Passenger transport by car is therefore developing unfavourably.

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Passenger transport by car - Belgium - trend assessment

percentage of transport in passenger-kilometres

projection (November 2023)--------------81.0
objective 203067.667.667.667.667.667.667.667.6

European Commission (2023), European transport in figures 2023, (consulted on 03/10/2023); calculations FPB based on FPB and Mobility and Transport FPS (2023), Perspectives de l'évolution de la demande de transport en Belgique à l'horizon 2040.

Passenger transport by car - Belgium and international comparison

percentage of transport in passenger-kilometres

//: Average Growth Rates

European Commission (2023), European transport in figures 2023, (consulted on 03/10/2023).

Definition: the modal share of cars in passenger transport is the share of total traffic travelled by car. The other modes of transport considered are public transport: trains, buses, coaches, trams and metros. For data collection purposes, motorcycle trips are included in the car category. Traffic is measured in passenger-kilometres, obtained by multiplying, for each trip, the number of passengers by the number of kilometres travelled. The data are from the European Commission, DG MOVE, to allow a comparison with the EU27. The FPB also calculates the indicator for Belgium on the basis of data collected from different sources (publications of the FPS Mobility and Transport, FPS Economy, SMEs, Self-Employed and Energy - Statistics Belgium; annual reports SNCB/NMBS, De Lijn, TEC and STIB). The difference between the two estimates of this indicator is less than 1%.

Goal: the modal share of cars must be 67.6% by 2030.

The Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs adopted by the UN in 2015 include target 9.1: “Develop quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure, including regional and trans-border infrastructure, to support economic development and human well-being, with a focus on affordable and equitable access for all”.

The Long-Term Federal Strategic Vision for Sustainable Development includes goal 23: “Public transport modes will prevail over individual modes of transport” (Belgian Official Gazette, 08/10/2013), which can be interpreted as a decrease in the modal share of individual transport below 50%. The modal share of individual transport was 80.5% in 2015, a linear interpolation between 2015 and 2050 gives a goal of 67.6% for 2030. Since available statistics only include the car (and motorcycle) in the individual modes, the goal only concerns this mode of transport.

International comparison: between 1995 and 2019, the modal share of cars decreased slightly in Belgium, while in the EU27 it has slightly increased. In 2020 and 2021, this modal share increased both in Belgium (84.9% in 2021) and in the EU-27 (85.2% in 2021). When Member States are divided into three groups, Belgium is part of the group with the best performance in 2021. In that year, Austria ranked first with 75.7% and Lithuania last with 94.7%.

UN indicator: the selected indicator corresponds to indicator 9.1.2 - Passenger and freight volumes, by mode of transport.


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