Volume and GHG emissions of long-distance travelling by Western Europeans

Kees van Goeverden*, Bart van Arem, Rob van Nes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


It is generally recognised that long distance travelling accounts for a significant part of the mileage of person travel. However, estimates have been hardly made. The paper estimates volume and GHG emissions of long-distance travel by Western Europeans. The analysis is predominantly based on data of the DATELINE project, the only EU-wide survey on long-distance travelling, conducted in 2001 and 2002. Some studies demonstrate that DATELINE suffers from serious underreporting of journeys. We analysed the causes for underreporting and developed expansion factors that correct for that. These gave the opportunity to estimate long-distance travel volumes and related GHG emissions in 2001/2002. Next an update to 2013 is made using statistics on the development of tourist travel and patronage of long-distance modes. Defining long distance ≥100. km crow-fly, the estimates per capita in the Western European countries in 2013 are 7.5 journeys (defined as round-trips), 8600. km, and 1300. kg greenhouse gasses. The estimated total GHG emissions of long-distance travelling is 520 megaton. In the Netherlands and Flanders, countries where data on short-distance travelling were available, long-distance travelling accounts for 45% of the mileage and nearly 50% of the GHG emissions of all person transport. Long-distance travelling is growing and is expected to continue to grow, particularly by air. The GHG emissions are expected to grow as well, though to a smaller extent. Because short-distance travelling is stagnating, the shares of long distance travelling in both mileage and GHG emissions are likely to increase.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-47
Number of pages20
JournalTransportation Research. Part D: Transport & Environment
Issue number(June) Climate change and Transport
Publication statusPublished - 17 Oct 2014


  • GHG emissions
  • Long distance
  • Mileage
  • Travel survey
  • Western Europe


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