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Market share of international rail travel in Europe could reach 25%, report shows

Royal HaskoningDHV, a founding partner of Train2EU, has published the results of a study that examined the market potential for international train travel within Europe. Based on publicly available data from 2015, the report revealed the amount and the share of international passenger travel by rail is much greater than currently realized with plenty of future opportunity. The research outlined what the growth potential for rail could be if borders such as interoperability, passenger information and service bottlenecks are eliminated.

Key findings

  • The number of trips by rail has the potential to be 20% per cent higher than it is currently
  • The share of international rail travel could be 25 per cent instead of the current 6 per cent, growing even further towards 2030
  • 59 Million railway passengers are currently unserved for international trips each year
  • 240 Million long-distance trips are not realised by the current operators

The research consists of a framework outline that explores both the demand and supply side for rail passenger usage to develop a preliminary proposal for a core connections network. Detailed results were published on 18 August 2016 in conjunction with Barth Donners’ thesis for his MSc degree in Transport, Infrastructure and Logistics at TU Delft.

 “Although international train operators state that they know exactly what passengers want, and that passengers are satisfied with the services offered, they cannot explain the large gap between the current number of trips and its potential”, said Geertje Hegeman, Associate Director, Sustainable Mobility at Royal HaskoningDHV. “This research demonstrates the immense potential for passenger capacity when borders, such as technical, information and service restrictions within the European rail market are erased. It outlines the possibility for a shift in focus from investing in additional infrastructure towards the provision of services. By providing better rail services for international passengers such as transparent booking systems and open travel information, we can unlock the growth potential in the European rail sector”, she added.


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