Generating Internationally Comparable Figures on Long-Distance Travel for Europe

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

planning - surveys, ridership - demand, place - europe


Trip length, Travel surveys, Travel models (Travel demand), Travel distance, Travel demand, Mode share, Modal split, Long distance travel, Households, Europe, Data comparability


This paper discusses available household survey data on long-distance travel (LDT) and presents harmonized figures on LDT in Europe. First, there is a comparison of the results of different household travel surveys about LDT. The findings of this comparison have important implications for the methodology of surveying LDT: conventional mobility diary surveys are better than LDT surveys in capturing journeys up to 200 km. LDT surveys perform better in capturing travel only beyond 400 km. Second, the paper presents the first internationally comparable figures on LDT demand for Europe. These figures have been compiled by using different sources of information, avoiding the drawbacks of the different surveys. The results indicate that in northern and central Europe there is higher demand for LDT than in the south. Moreover, the results illustrate how policies and public-transport supply affect the modal split in LDT: in countries with a high-quality railroad supply, such as Switzerland, the railroad share is significantly higher than in other countries. Countries with a liberalized, interurban bus market, in contrast, have a significantly higher bus mode share.