Skip to main content
European Commission logo

Scenarios for European Transport

European Union
Complete with results
Project Acronym
STRIA Roadmaps
Transport policies
Societal/Economic issues


Background & Policy context

Knowledge of most significant socio-economic indicators and availability

of forecasting models are essential tools for transport policy makers. In

Europe, lack of a common and consolidated regional database forced

researchers to repeat data mining with consequent differences in their

studies and waste of resources. In addition, there is a need for improved

transport models able to give comprehensive and consistent information on

the European transport system by taking into account the effects of

long-term changes in the regulatory and institutional frameworks. The

SCENARIOS and STREAMS projects have started the development of a

comprehensive transport model at European scale with the elaboration of a

reference scenario and the provision of the related forecasts of key

transport variables. However, this model needs further testing of external

and transport policy scenarios.


The general objective of the SCENES project was to develop transport demand forecasts for Europe, taking into account different sets of socio-economic, environmental, regulation, investment and pricing policies.


Specific objectives of the project were to:

  • identify a unique and standard database with relevant indicators for main European regions,
  • make detailed forecasts for factors that will influence transport demand in the future,
  • extend a strategic transport model of Europe that, in order to give more detailed results, could easily work together with other specific and local models, without generating consistency problems.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
European Commission; Directorate-General for Energy and Transport (DG TREN; formerly DG VII)
Type of funding
Public (EU)


Main contributions coming from SCENES have been the development of scenarios and the assessment of transport policy options. Two complementary approaches have been used for assessing policies: a Europe-wide comprehensive model and the combined use of a range of models designed for specific localities and purposes.


A deep analysis has been carried out on the main drivers of transport demand and a unique, easily accessible data platform for socio-economic indicators at regional level for most of European countries has been assembled.


The reference scenario has been built up to 2020 covering trends in population by group, car ownership, income, vehicle occupancy and trip rates. For this scenario, Europe-wide forecasts for passengers and freight travel in all transport modes (road, rail, air, shipping, inland waterway and pipeline) have been produced with the specific aim of assessing the consequences on the modal shares generated by different transport cost inputs.


From the base year 1995 to 2020, the total volume of passenger-kilometre travelled has shown an increase ranging between 25% and 55% according to the different hypotheses on future transport costs in the different scenarios. The main modal shift has been in all cases in favour of the private car. The increase on 1995 levels shown by the total freight tonne-kilometre travelled in the EU territory has ranged between 80 and 90%, while modal shares have shown sharp dependence on the different assumptions made on transport costs.


SCENES has also developed two high-level external scenarios, based on contrasting assumptions on integration and opening of Europe as well as on behavioural and structural changes in Europe, and has assessed the impacts of these on transport growth. Finally, SCENES has used combined models for testing policies in two case studies: the combined infrastructure and pricing scenario applied to the TINA network and the harmonisation of national policies for the Transalpine crossings, and has demonstrated the usefulness of models able to deal in more detail with the localised impacts of trans-national infrastructure projects.

Policy implications

Results coming from the SCENES project give an important aid in understanding future issues which will face policy makers in Europe and provide tools for identifying policy initiatives able to solve them. Transport policies need to be more flexible and able to fit in particular and local circumstances, in order to be successful in different structural frameworks. Differences in regulatory and institutional frameworks among transport modes, resulting from insufficiently co-ordinated reform processes, are among the causes of unbalanced and unsustainable modal split.


To influence the modal choice of the Transalpine traffic flows, harmonisation of national policies should include the main origin and destination regions and a supra-national authority should be created to this aim. An official framework based on trans-modal financing schemes and co-operation between modes in the longer term should be developed for large-scale projects to achieve sustainable Transalpine transport.


The SCENES model has extended to Eastern Europe the STREAMS strategic transport model of the EU and has enhanced it with new data. It is another important step towards Pan-European transport projections to use as input to other studies in related subjects (energy usage, pollution, accessibility and social exclusion) and to test different policy scenarios. The level of spatial details of the model could be improved in the future with the implementation of new traffic assignment procedures based on differential sampling of zone pairs and if enhanced harmonisation of passenger and freight data across the EU is achieved.


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


Contribute! Submit your project

Do you wish to submit a project or a programme? Head over to the Contribute page, login and follow the process!