According to the opening presentation before the annual Eurailspeed meeting, held this year in Milan from November 7, 2005 to November 9, 2005, Europe's transport sector has enjoyed a decade of "dynamic development". This makes transportation one of the European Union's (EU) "booming" sectors "creating and maintaining jobs".
Most of the "development" in transportation, however, has been in Europe's highways and roads--with the resulting increases in jobs no less welcome. Freight, which no matter what the transport mode, usually makes use of the same infrastructure as passenger traffic. What is true, therefore, for Europe's freight competitive imbalances in road versus rail is true also for passenger services.
The essential fact is that in Europe 72 percent of freight is carried on the EU's roads while only 16.4 percent is carried by rail.
The situation for Europe's vaunted high-speed passenger rail service is even more critical. Less than 1 percent of passenger km. travelled takes place via high speed rail.
Consumers bear the cost and inconvenience for this imbalance, according to this Eurailspeed information. Road traffic congestion alone exacts a 1 percent penalty on EU GDP. The cost in human lives is even more enormous with 50,000 lives lost annually on EU roads.
Passenger rail services are divided into a number of sub-markets including urban and regional...