Skip to main content
European Commission logo

Innovation Capacity of the European Transport Sector - A macro-level analysis

Publication date
Number of pages
STRIA Roadmaps
Transport mode
Multimodal icon
Transport policies
Societal/Economic issues
Transport sectors
Passenger transport,
Freight transport

This report provides a macro-level assessment of the overall innovation capacity in the European transport sector. It does so by identifying and assessing the most relevant indicators on private and public funding, R&D personnel and researchers, engagement in innovation and on the types of innovation activities at the EU and Member State level.

The findings highlight the importance of R&D activities in the European transport sector. Innovation levels were found to be particularly high in the automotive manufacturing economic activities. The level of private investments in R&D has increased over the past seven years, making the transport sector with €42 billion a leader in investment in Europe in 2015. Business R&D expenditure has risen with the automotive industry leading this trend andaccounting for more than 75% of the total business investments. Public support to R&D transport reached €3.3 billion in 2017, showing a moderate increase compared to the year 2016.

The main barriers to innovation activities are linked to the high costs associated with R&D activities and financing barriers. Other relevant impediments to innovation are market dynamics, such as demand uncertainty and high sectoral competitiveness, as well as the lack of qualified personnel.