Cars continue to dominate transport in Latvia

Fresh figures published by Eurostat September 18 show that Latvians remain devoted to their cars when compared to other forms of transport.

In the 27 countries of the European Union as a whole, in 2021 the 'modal' split of transport types for passenger-kilometres across the EU was 5.6% trains, 79.7% cars, 7.1% coaches and buses, 0.3% seagoing vessels and 7.3% aircraft.

For Latvia the equivalent figures were 2.2% trains, 83.7% cars, 8.6% coaches and buses, 0.1% seagoing vessels and 5.3% aircraft, showing the dominance of road transport.

Estonians are just as car-oriented as Latvians, with the same 83.7% figure, but even less likely to use trains (1.9%) buses (8.2%) and planes (4.6%). All the Estonian data is estimated.

However, the Estonian islands do mean that sea transport (1.5%) is much more popular. In fact Estonia ranks third in Europe for sea transport behind Croatia (2.7%) and Greece (1.6%). 

Lithuanians are the biggest car fans in the Baltic states though, and indeed in the whole of Europe, with passenger vehicles holding a massive 91.7% share, followed by the Netherlands (85.4%) and Finland (85.2%). 

In terms of air transport, Croatia registered the highest share (25.4%) of air passenger-kilometres in the total performance by all transport modes, followed by Bulgaria (16.3%) and Spain (13.1%). 


Modes of transport, 2021
Modes of transport, 2021

The car continues to be the dominant means of transport in all EU countries compared with journeys by train, bus and coach, plane or boat, though Eurostat said that "In a decade, much changed in the share of transport means used. The share of passenger-kilometres by passenger car in the total transport performance by all modes was 73.1% in 2011 and recorded small deviations around this figure until 2019. In 2020, there was an increase in the share of cars in the total transport performance to 81.9% but this does not represent an actual increase in the number of passenger-kilometres by car (in 2020, there was a decrease to 3 541 billion passenger-kilometres, from 4 278 billion passenger-kilometres in 2019), it mainly reflects the strong decrease in transport by air due to the impact of the COVID-19 restrictions on transportation." 


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