Price sensitivity of road freight transport – Towards a better understanding of existing results

At the request of Transport & Environment, CE Delft has teamed up with Significance to investigate the price sensitivity of European road haulage, with the prime focus on long-distance transport. 

The price sensitivity of road freight carriage was first examined by means of an extensive literature study of the elasticities of three types of price change: in fuel price, vehicle-kilometre price and tonne-kilometre price. In the literature a wide range of price elasticities are reported for road haulage. However, the various studies are characterized by major differences in research methodology, time horizon, geographical scope and response mechanisms considered (i.e. how forwarders and hauliers respond to price changes). Through careful analysis of the differences between the studies it proved possible to narrow the bandwidth of the price elasticities.

Besides analysing price elasticities, the study also examined the observed impact of the kilometre-charge schemes currently in place for heavy goods vehicles (HGV) in Europe. Although no in-depth studies have yet been carried out to evaluate these schemes, there are indications that the Austrian and German MAUT scheme has contributed to reducing the average HGV trip length, possibly as a result of more efficient logistical planning, among other factors.

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