Road to Rail Ratios in EU Regions

Mar 27, 2018
Chart of Road to Rail Ratios in EU Regions

The chart above shows the ratio of the road network to the rail network in every EU region.  The larger the ratio, the more prevalent roads are over rail in the region.  For instance, the Southern EU has 31 more kilometers of road for every kilometer of rail.  All regions of the EU save for the Southern EU have a road network that is less than 20 times larger than their rail network.


  • The difference between the region with the largest ratio, the Southern EU, and the region with the smallest ratio, the Eastern EU, is 21.
  • The Southern EU has three times the road to rail ratio that the Eastern EU has.
  • The Southern EU has a road to rail ratio that is almost double the region's with the next largest ratio.


  • Road length data is from 2008 except for Denmark which is from 2006, and Italy and Portugal which are from 2005.
  • Rail length data is from 2016 except for Belgium (2009), Denmark (1998), Greece (2015), the Netherlands (2003), Austria (2007), and Poland (2015).
  • 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 and Malta do not have rail networks.
  • The Southern EU consists of Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Cyprus, and Malta.
  • The Western EU consists of Germany, United Kingdom, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Ireland, and Luxembourg.
  • The Northern EU consists of Sweden, Denmark, and Finland.
  • The Eastern EU consists of Poland, Czech Republic, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Bulgaria (not included), Croatia, Slovenia, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.


Although the Netherlands has the highest road to rail ratio in the EU, all Southern EU countries have pretty high ratios of roadways to railroads.  Thus it is no surprise that the Southern EU has a ratio that is nearly double that of the Western EU, the region with the next highest road to rail ratio.

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 the Western EU and above the Northern EU (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.

Eurostat.  2018.  "Eurostat - Data Explorer: Railway Transport - Length of Tracks."  Accessed March 20, 2018.

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