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Mobility and Transport
News article22 September 2016Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport

Transport Eurobarometer: congestion and maintenance are the major challenges for EU roads


Transport Eurobarometer: congestion and maintenance are the major challenges for EU roads

Today the European Commission published the results of a Eurobarometer survey on the quality of transport in the EU. The main findings of the survey revealed that respondents who use cars have a split opinion about whether the quality of road transport in the past five years has improved or not. 38% of them said it has improved, 40% that it has deteriorated, and 18% said that it remained the same. But whatever the opinion on quality, most considered congestion (60%) and maintenance (59%) to be the most serious problems about roads in Europe. These findings are even more relevant as the survey highlighted the dominance of car as a preferred mode of transport for both daily commuting (54%) and journeys over 300 km (66%). Improving road maintenance (56%) was also mentioned as the top priority for improving road safety by all respondents, closely followed by zero alcohol tolerance (49%).

Commissioner Violeta Bulc said: "Today's survey shows that good infrastructure, better connections, and cheaper tickets are the main concerns of EU citizens. That is why we need remove technical and administrative barriers to ensure that transport services can really operate across the whole EU, without national boundaries. Also we cannot assume that transport services will always be there, or be safe, unless we maintain them. Transport is about people. That is why in all of my initiatives, the main objective will be to contribute to travellers needs and to set the conditions for the European transport economy to flourish."

The survey also revealed that most Europeans were satisfied with long journey: 93% felt safe, while 89% said there were enough amenities for passengers and 85% that their journey was good value for money. Convenience is by far the main reason for choosing a specific means of transportation for everyday and long journeys (both 61%), followed by speed (respectively 31% and 41%) and price (12% and18%).

This Eurobarometer survey was carried out in the 28 Member States of the European Union and some 27.868 people from different social and demographic groups were interviewed face-to-face at home in their mother tongue.

Here are some other interesting results from the survey:

Use of public transport

Only 19% of Europeans use public transport regularly, however frequent public transport service (27%), better public transport coverage (26%) and cheaper tickets (25%) would encourage respondents who use cars or motorbikes to use public transport more often. The larger the town the respondent lived in, the more likely they were to use urban public transport, and the less likely they were to use a car. For instance, 64% of those in rural villages used a car, compared to 38% in large towns. Respondents living in large towns, were just as likely to use car (38%), as public transport (37%), and reliable and punctual services would be more likely to encourage the use of public transport for those living in large towns (24%) compared to those living in rural areas (16%).

Air transport

57% of respondents who travelled by plane in the last 12 month thought that air transport has improved in the last five years. Respondents were much more likely to mention ticket prices than any other reason (37% vs. 3%-16%) when asked about the most serious problem affecting air transport. Air pollution, lack of destinations from the closest airport, or availability of public transport to and from that airport were equally likely to be mentioned (all 16%).

The majority of Europeans (53%), said that carrying more liquids than allowed by the current ban on board of airplanes is not important. Respondents who had taken a journey by plane in the last 12 months were more likely than those who had not to say it was important to them to be able to bring liquids above the current limit through security and onto the plane (41% vs. 30%).

Rail transport

Respondents who used the train most often for daily transport were more likely than those using other modes to say rail transport had improved (50% vs. 29%-40%). The same conclusion can be drawn about respondents who used the train when making a long journey in the last 12 months (51% train users vs. 35%-41% other transport means). On the whole, respondents were slightly more likely to be positive about the quality of rail transport in the last five years, with 34% saying it had improved and 27% saying it had deteriorated, however the results illustrated a wide variation between Member States. Europeans thought the most serious problem affecting rail transport is the price of tickets (46%), followed by lack of reliable and punctual services (33%), and missing rail links and lack of maintenance (both 21%).

Sea and river transport

Almost one in five respondents said the quality of sea or river transport in their country had stayed the same over the last five years (18%), while 14% said it had improved, and just 6% said it had deteriorated. However, it is important to note that the majority (62%) were unable to answer. Europeans who had taken a journey by boat in the last 12 months were more likely than those who used other modes to say the quality of sea or river transport had improved (48% vs. 15%-20%).The most serious problem affecting sea and river transport is the price of tickets (18%), closely followed by water pollution (15%), reduced sea links (15%) and lack of frequent services (14%).

Access to traffic information

Less than one in five respondents (15%) said that easy and timely access to traffic information is important for the safety of roads. Coherently, only 13% would be willing to connect online unconditionally to allow for intelligent traffic management while another 38% said that they are willing to connect but under certain conditions or only when they decide to. Around four in ten (41%) would not want to have their vehicle connected at all.


When asked what would make the transport sector more interesting to them, respondents were most likely to mention higher wages (41%), better working conditions (37%), information campaigns to informed them about possibilities (20%) and better career prospects (20%).

For more information

The full Eurobarometer report , including information by Member State.

The full summary of the Eurobarometer survey is available here.


Publication date
22 September 2016
Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport