Decoupling Transport from Economic Growth: Towards Transport Sustainability in Europe

  • M.R. Tight Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds
  • Paolo Delle Site University of Rome La Sapienza
  • Olaf Meyer-Rühle ProgTrans AG


This paper reports on a research project that aimed to identify and assess measures which could be used to reduce travel demand while maintaining economic growth and enhancing environmental quality. The research methodology involved a detailed review of past research; contact with over 600 experts from around Europe and elsewhere for ideas on potential measures; detailed questionnaires from over 100 of these experts; and a series of three panel sessions held in different parts of Europe, each of which involved around 16 experts debating the merits of different measures and identifying case study evidence of their effectiveness. The end result was a shortlist of 13 measures, indicative of broad types, which are considered to be effective, and an indication of their effectiveness if applied across the European Union.

Seven illustrative measures are discussed which stand out from the results as having proven potential (though not necessarily at a European scale) to influence transport intensity and/or unit environmental load whilst not having large detrimental effects on GDP. These are the areas where it is felt that European transport policy could most usefully be focussed in terms of decoupling of transport demand and economic growth.

How to Cite
TIGHT, M.R.; DELLE SITE, Paolo; MEYER-RÜHLE, Olaf. Decoupling Transport from Economic Growth. European Journal of Transport and Infrastructure Research, [S.l.], v. 4, n. 4, dec. 2004. ISSN 1567-7141. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 21 jan. 2021. doi: