Investment in Transport Infrastructure 1992-2005


Introduction to Data

The International Transport Forum statistics on investment in transport infrastructure 1992-2005 are based on a targeted survey that covers investment in road, rail, inland waterways, maritime ports and airports for 43 European countries.   The survey covers total gross investment including all sources of financing, as well as maintenance expenditures financed by public Administrations.   A previous survey covering the years 1985-2000, was published on a CD-ROM "Investment in Transport Infrastructure 1985-2000" (ECMT, 2006).   Data back to 1985 are also available in paper.

A number of observations can be made from the data concerning transport infrastructure investment trends.   However, due to the non existence of harmonised definitions and methodologies we call for caution especially when comparing investment data between countries.   Furthermore, our data are supposed to include all infrastructure investment but in practice there are not enough data available on private investment.   In some cases, investment by local authorities are not fully reflected in the figures.

Findings based on the latest International Transport Forum statistical survey of the period 1992-2005 are not entirely comparable to those of the previous survey in as much as neither the number of countries nor the modes of transport covered in each study are the same.  We would like to emphasize, however, that data of overall trends and individual countries should be considered reliable.

Overall Trends in Inland Transport Infrastructure Investment

Trends that emerge from the survey reveal some significant changes.   The decline in investment that had characterised the 1990s appears to have come to a halt.   Our previous report on infrastructure investment, covering years 1985-2000, showed that the share of total transport infrastructure investment in GDP declined during the 1990s in some Western European ECMT Member countries (1).   The share of GDP accounted for by such investment fell from 1.0% in 1985 to around 0.8% by the end of the 1990s.
(1) Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Sweden and UK.

New data show that the beginning of the 21st century saw a growth of the share of inland investment in GDP reaching to the 1980s level; 1.0% in 2004.   In Western European countries (WEC) investment in inland transport infrastructure has in fact increased on average by over 20% in real terms from 2000 to 2004, with particularly strong growth in Sweden, Ireland and Spain.

In Central and Eastern European countries (CEEC) (2), growth in investment has accelerated strongly since 2002, rising by almost 60% in three years in real terms.   As a result, the share of investment in inland transport infrastructure in GDP, which until 2001 had stagnated at around 1%, rose sharply to 1.4% in 2004, being the highest figure reported by these countries since 1980.   It is clear that aid from the EU as part of the accession process for most of these countries has played a major part in this development.
(2) Czech Republic, Croatia, Lithuania, Latvia, FYR Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.

While overall investment in CEEC increased, we see marked differences between individual countries, with strong volatility over time.

Investment Trends by Mode

While recent years show an increase in the investment share of GDP both in Western as well as in CEEC, the distribution of investment over modes shows differing trends.   Whereas WEC have increasingly directed their investment towards rail, CEEC are investing heavily in roads.   Thus, these trends that we already noted in our previous survey covering years 1985-2000 have remained unchanged in recent years.

In the WEC, the share of investment in road infrastructure compared with that in rail infrastructure has continued to decline.   The share of road investment amounted to 61% of total investment in inland transport infrastructure in 2004.   We already had witnessed a fall from over 70% in 1990 to 68% in 1995.   The share of rail investment, in turn, has increased from 31% in 1995 to 38% in 2004.   For inland waterways, there is a slight decrease in recent years.   In real terms, investment is still at a higher level than in 1995 for all modes.

In CEEC the trend is in the opposite direction.   The relative share of investment in rail infrastructure has declined even further in recent years, falling to less than 16% of total investment in inland transport infrastructure in 2004, whereas investment in the road sector in that year amounted to over 81% of total infrastructure investment.   This is a significant change if compared with previous data; rail investment accounted for 23% in 1995 while road investment accounted for 66%.

The rising levels of investment in the CEEC reflect efforts to compensate for the earlier under investment in the road network capital stock.

For further information, please contact Mario Barreto.