Road and other land transport statistics - NACE Rev. 1.1

From Statistics Explained

Data from January 2009. Most recent data: Further Eurostat information, Main tables and Database.

This article belongs to a set of statistical articles which analyse the structure, development and characteristics of the various economic activities in the European Union (EU). According to the statistical classification of economic activities in the EU (NACE Rev 1.1), the present article covers road and other land transport statistics, corresponding to NACE Group 60.2, which is part of the transport and storage sector. The activities covered in this article are:

  • road freight transport;
  • urban and suburban passenger transport by bus, coach, tram, trolleybus, underground or elevated railway;
  • inter-city land passenger transport (other than railways);
  • taxi operations and charters.

This definition includes a diverse number of enterprises, ranging from independent lorry or taxi drivers to large national or metropolitan public transport enterprises.

Table 1: Road and other land transport (NACE Group 60.2). Structural profile, EU-27, 2006 (1)
Table 2: Road and other land transport (NACE Group 60.2). Structural profile: ranking of top five Member States in terms of value added and persons employed, 2006
Figure 1: Road and other land transport. Development of the end of year stock of road vehicles, EU-27 (1995=100) (1)
Figure 2: Road and other land transport. Evolution of the volume (passenger/tonne-kilometres) of other land transport, EU-27 (1995=100)
Table 3: Road and other land transport. Road freight transport traffic; national and international haulage by vehicles registered in the country (billion tonne-kilometres)
Table 4: Road and other land transport (NACE Group 60.2). Expenditure, productivity and profitability, EU-27, 2006 (1)

Main statistical findings

Structural profile

An estimated 900.0 thousand enterprises were registered in the EU-27’s road and other land transport (NACE Group 60.2) sector which employed about 4.6 million persons in 2005. As such, the road and other land transport sector supplied just over half (52.9 %) of the workforce in transport services (NACE Divisions 60 to 63). The proportion of paid employees in the total number of persons employed (which also includes working proprietors and unpaid family workers) was 80.7 % in the EU-27 road and other land transport services sector in 2005, the only transport services activity where it was below the non-financial business economy average. This share was just below four fifths (79.4 %) in the road freight transport subsector (NACE Class 60.24).

The EU-27's road and other land transport sector generated value added of EUR 150 billion in 2006 from turnover valued at EUR 370 billion. As such, road and other land transport accounted for close to two fifths (37.5 %) of all value added generated by transport services in 2006. Within road and other land transport services the largest activity was the road freight transport (NACE Class 60.24) subsector. This subsector accounted for around two thirds of the value added created by the EU-27’s road and other land transport sector in 2006 and occupied around three fifths of the workforce; other passenger land transport activities (NACE Classes 60.21 to 60.23) made up the remainder of the sector.

The relative importance of the road freight transport subsector on the one hand and other passenger land transport on the other differed considerably between the Member States [1]: the share of road freight (in value added terms) rose to above 80 % of the total in Estonia and Slovenia, while the other passenger land transport subsector generated more than half of sectoral value added in Greece and Cyprus (2005) – it should be noted that Cyprus has no rail network as an alternative form of inland passenger transport, and many residents and tourists therefore use other forms of public transport (notably buses, coaches, minibuses and taxis).

Unsurprisingly, the larger Member States contributed the greatest shares of EU-27 value added in this sector. The United Kingdom, France and Germany each accounted for around 15 % of EU-27 value added in 2006. However, an analysis based on relative specialisation highlights the importance of the road and other land transport sector in several other Member States [2]. For example, this activity contributed 5.8 % of non-financial business economy value added in Lithuania, and over 3.5 % in Latvia, Finland, Luxembourg, Spain, Slovenia and Greece. In contrast, the road and other land transport sector was notably smaller in relative terms in Cyprus (2005), Slovakia and Germany where it accounted for less than 2.0 % of the value added created within the non-financial business economy.

Transport of goods and passengers

When analysing statistics on land transport equipment and traffic volumes it is important to bear in mind that this includes own account transport as well as transport services marketed to clients (for hire and reward). The growth in the stock of road transport vehicles (buses, coaches and road freight vehicles) between 1995 and 2006 for the EU-27 shows that road freight vehicles, in particular, experienced very strong growth whereas for buses and coaches the growth was more subdued, with the stock of such vehicles falling in 2004 and 2005, before stabilising in 2006. The volume of passenger transport by trams and metros increased significantly faster since 1995 than for buses and coaches, but both of these were outstripped by the growth in road freight which averaged an increase of 3.5 % per year between 1995 and 2006.

Information relating to the development of road freight transport in the Member States is available for a shorter period, between 2000 and 2006. Only Belgium, Denmark, Cyprus and Finland witnessed a fall in road freight transport volumes during this period. The strongest growth was recorded in Romania, where the volume of road haulage increased four-fold, and it more than doubled in Lithuania, Slovenia, Latvia and Bulgaria.

Expenditure and productivity

Gross tangible investment in the EU-27's road and other land transport sector was around EUR 31.9 billion in 2005, resulting in an investment rate of 22.5 %, lower than the transport services average but above the non-financial business economy average.

An analysis of operating expenditure shows a significant difference between the two subsectors, with personnel costs accounting for around one quarter of the total for road freight transport, compared to more than two fifths (44.4 %) for other passenger land transport.

The road and other land transport sector is characterised by a relatively low apparent labour productivity: in 2005, this was EUR 30.7 thousand per person employed in the EU-27, well below the transport services average of EUR 43.6 thousand. Average personnel costs were also low at EUR 26.1 thousand per employee in the road freight transport subsector in 2006, and EUR 26.7 thousand per employee for the other passenger land transport subsector. Despite the low average personnel costs the wage-adjusted labour productivity ratio was also relatively low, 120.1 % for the road and other land transport sector in 2005, among the lowest of the transport services activities. Greece (78.9 %) and Cyprus (56.5 %, 2005) recorded wage-adjusted labour productivity ratios below 100 % indicating that average personnel costs were higher than apparent labour productivity.

Data sources and availability

The main part of the analysis in this article is derived from structural business statistics (SBS), including core, business statistics which are disseminated regularly, as well as information compiled on a multi-yearly basis, and the latest results from development projects.

Other data sources include Eurostat, ITF, IUPT, national statistics, estimates and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, in EU energy and transport in figures statistical pocketbook 2007/2008, European Commission, Directorate-General for Energy and Transport


The transport and storage sector focuses on transport services provided to clients for hire and reward. When analysing transport traffic volumes (for example, tonnes of freight) as presented in this article, it is important to bear in mind that these include own account transport as well as transport services for hire and reward. This is particularly important in road transport where, for example, a manufacturer might collect materials or deliver own output, rather than contracting a transport service enterprise to do this. Equally, the use of own vehicles (typically passenger cars) accounts for a very large part of passenger transport. Such own account transport does not contribute towards the statistics on the transport services sector.

EU transport policy is based upon the 2001 White paper ‘European transport policy for 2010: time to decide’  and the 2006 mid-term review in the European Commission's communication (COM(2006) 314)‘Keep Europe moving – sustainable mobility for our continent’. In 2007 the European Commission adopted a communication (COM(2007) 606) on ‘Keeping freight moving’, to make rail freight more competitive, facilitate modernisation of ports, and review progress in the development of sea shipping.

Environmental issues remain of great importance to this sector, as transport is a major source of emissions and noise. In 2008 the European Commission put forward a package of measures related to road and rail transport referred to as ‘Greening Transport’. This included a communication (COM(2008) 433) summarising the packages and initiatives planned for 2009, a strategy to internalise the cost of transport externalities, a proposal for a Directive on road tolls for lorries, and a communication on rail noise. The overall thrust of the package is to try to move towards more sustainable transport.

Over a long period road freight transporters have expanded beyond simple transport services, to provide other supporting activities, notably logistics and warehousing, competing with specialists in these activities as well as wholesalers who have also extended the range of their operations into transport and supporting activities. Road transport has been one of the main areas of growth in the transport services sector as it benefited from increased demand for mobility and flexibility from private individuals and enterprises alike. In May 2007 the European Commission adopted three proposals (COM(2007) 263), (COM(2007) 264) and (COM(2007) 265) aimed at modernising the rules governing road transport operators and access to the road transport market. The proposals aim to reduce distortions of competition and improve transport operators' compliance with the provisions of social legislation and road safety rules.

In July 2008, the European Commission adopted a proposal (COM(2008) 436) to reform the legislation on road charges for heavy goods vehicles, the so-called ‘Eurovignette’. The proposal is intended to enable Member States to reduce environmental damage and congestion through more efficient and environmentally-targeted road tolls for lorries.

A Regulation on public passenger transport services by rail and by road was adopted in October 2007. Its purpose is to define the conditions under which public service operators providing services of general interest may be compensated for costs incurred, and/or may be granted exclusive rights in return for the discharge of public service obligations.

In September 2007 the European Commission published a Green paper on urban transport (COM(2007) 551), to look, among others, at the questions of congestion and pollution linked to urban transport.

Further Eurostat information


Main tables


Dedicated section

Other Information

  • COM(2006) 314 of 22 June 2006 on Keep Europe moving - Sustainable mobility for our continent
  • COM(2007) 606 of 18 October 2007 on The EU's freight transport agenda: Boosting the efficiency, integration and sustainability of freight transport in Europe
  • COM(2008) 433 of 8 July 2008 on Greening Transport
  • COM(2007) 263 of 23 May 2007 Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing common rules concerning the conditions to be complied with to pursue the occupation of road transport operator
  • COM(2007) 264 of 23 May 2007 on common rules for the international carriage of passengers by coach and b
  • COM(2007) 265 of 23 May 2007 on access to the market in the carriage of goods by road within the Community to or from the territory of a Member State or passing across the territory of one or more Member States
  • COM(2008) 436 of 8 July 2008 on the charging of heavy goods vehicles for the use of certain infrastructures
  • Regulation 1370/2007 of 23 October 2007 on public passenger transport services by rail and by road
  • COM(2007) 551 of 25 September 2007: Green Paper - Towards a new culture for urban mobility

External links

See also


  1. Cyprus and Poland, 2005; Bulgaria, Ireland and Malta, not available.
  2. Cyprus, Poland and Romania, 2005; Bulgaria, Ireland, Malta and the Netherlands, not available.