A classification of the long-distance travel market

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Long-distance travel contributes significantly to climate change. One of the mitigation options is a shift to more sustainable modes. An efficient policy on modal choice demands knowledge on which market segments are promising for a mode. The paper describes a method for breaking down the travel market into segments that are homogeneous with respect to the appropriateness of a mode for the travellers; the method is applied to all typical long-distance modes. The appropriateness of a mode depends on the demanded standards and the extent the standards of a mode meets the demand. A number of variables that define the appropriateness are identified, and by crossing the most important variables a large number of small, elementary market segments are defined. These are building stones for the mode-specific larger segments with a certain standard of a mode. Based on the explanatory power of a variable for modal choice and the standard of a mode for journeys in the variable category, a standard score of each mode is calculated for each elementary segment. Segments where the score of a mode compared to the score of the best performing alternative is similar (that is: within defined limits) are clustered into one of five segments with a certain standard of the mode. Some results: the proportion of long-distance journeys where a mode has at least a comparable standard is 79% for the car, 60% for the train, and 30% for the airplane. Expressed in mileage, the proportions are 40%, 33%, and 75% respectively.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMoving towards more sustainable mobility and transport through smart systems
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the BIVEC-GIBET Transport Research Days 2019
EditorsFrank Witlox
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventBIVEC-GIBET Transport Research Days 2019 - Ghent, Belgium
Duration: 23 May 201924 May 2019


ConferenceBIVEC-GIBET Transport Research Days 2019
Internet address


  • market segment
  • long-distance travel
  • Western Europe
  • modal standard

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