The chart above shows the ratio of the road network to the rail network in every EU and US state. The larger the ratio, the more prevalent roads are over rail in the state. For instance, the Netherlands has 48 more miles of road for every mile of rail. Only two states have a road network that is 50 times larger than their rail network and they are both located in the Northeastern US.
- The difference between the state with the largest ratio, Rhode Island, and the state with the smallest ratio, Romania, is 314.
- Rhode Island has 79 times the road to rail ratio that Romania has.
- Every EU country has a road network that is at most 50 times longer than their rail network.
- Every US state has a road network that is at least 15 times longer than their rail network.
- The mean ratio of the 74 (Bulgaria is excluded due to lack of data, and Cyprus, Malta, and Hawaii are excluded due to no rail networks) EU and US states is 32.08:1 and the median 30.39:1.
- US road and rail length data is from 2015.
- EU road length data is from 2008 except for Denmark which is from 2006, and Italy and Portugal which are from 2005.
- EU rail length data is from 2016 except for Belgium (2009), Denmark (1998), Greece (2015), the Netherlands (2003), Austria (2007), and Poland (2015).
- EU and US data come from different sources.
- Road and rail data come from different sources.
- Bulgaria is not included because it did not have complete data in the road data set.
- Cyprus, Malta, and Hawaii are not included because they do not have rail networks.
- The vast majority of the US rail network is used for freight purposes exclusively.
The EU has the eleven states with the smallest road to rail ratios. However, five EU states (the Netherlands, Greece, Ireland, France, and Lithuania) have a higher road to rail ratio than most US states. Keep in mind that rail is almost exclusively used for freight in the US as that is the primary mode of transporting goods in the US while rail is a very small part of freight transportation in the EU.
The ratio for the entire European Union (except for Bulgaria which is missing data) is 16.59 miles of road for every mile of rail which ranks the EU as a whole just under Hungary and above Wyoming (the figures in the chart are rounded to the nearest whole number). The ratio for the entire United States is 29.99 miles of road for every mile of rail which ranks the US as a whole just under Spain and just above Texas (the figures in the chart are rounded to the nearest whole number).
European Union Road Federation. 2011. "European Road Statistics 2011." Accessed March 12, 2018. http://www.irfnet.eu/images/stories/Statistics/2011/ERF-2011-STATS.pdf.
Eurostat. 2018. "Eurostat - Data Explorer: Railway Transport - Length of Tracks." Accessed March 20, 2018. http://appsso.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/nui/submitViewTableAction.do.
United States Department of Transportation. 2015. "State Transportation by the Numbers." Accessed March 21, 2018. https://www.bts.gov/sites/bts.dot.gov/files/legacy/_entire.pdf.
United States Department of Transportation. 2016. "Table HM-10M - Highway Statistics 2015 - Policy | Federal Highway Administration." Accessed March 12, 2018. https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policyinformation/statistics/2015/hm10m.cfm.