Sustainable road transport in the European Union: Changes in undesirable impacts

Yongjun Shen, Da Ruan, Elke Hermans, Tom Brijs, Geert Wets, Koen Vanhoof

    Research outputpeer-review


    Road transport is vital to economic development, trade, and social integration. However, such transport is also responsible for the majority of negative impacts on the environment and society. To achieve sustainable development, a country increasingly needs to assess its undesirable costs to determine its road transport policy. In this study, total energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, and the number of fatalities in the European road transport system were selected to represent the level of sustainable development in each member-state of the European Union. With data from 1995 to 2007, the extent to which the 27 European Union countries improved their productivity on sustainable road transport was evaluated on the basis of data envelopment analysis and the Malmquist productivity index. The Malmquist productivity index measures productivity change over time and can be further broken down into two components: change in efficiency and technical change. The results showed considerable progress toward sustainable road transport in Europe during this period. The breakdown into the two components further revealed that the bulk of the improvement was attained through the adoption of productivity-enhancing new technologies throughout the road transport sector rather than through the lessening of the difference between relatively inefficient countries and efficient ones. In addition, the growth in both aspects slowed in 2007; this aspect implied that the momentum of further improvement was in danger of being lost and that new impetus was needed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)37-44
    Number of pages8
    JournalTransportation Research Record
    Issue number2242
    StatePublished - 1 Dec 2011

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Civil and Structural Engineering
    • Mechanical Engineering

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