State of play of internalisation in the European transport sector

The objective of this study was to assess to what extent the external and infrastructure costs of the various transport modes are covered by transport taxes and charges. The potential for further internalisation was also investigated. These assessments were carried out for all EU28 Member states as well as several other countries (Norway, Switzerland, United States, Canada and Japan).

The results of the study show that the external and infrastructure costs of transport in the EU28 are only partially internalised. For most transport modes, only 15 to 25% of these costs are covered by revenues from current transport taxes and charges. There is also little evidence that marginal social cost pricing principles are applied on any major scale in transport pricing in the EU28. Finally, for most transport modes (except maritime transport and aviation) infrastructure costs are not covered by infrastructure charges, reflecting the fact that the ‘users-pays’ principle is often ignored.

For all transport modes, there exist several options for further internalisation, including introduction of new economic instruments or other policies (e.g. command-and-control measures) and further differentiation of existing transport taxes and charges.

This report was developed within the framework of the study ‘Sustainable Transport Infrastructure Charging and Internalisation of Transport Externalities’ commissioned by the European Commission DG MOVE. More information on the other deliverables produced within this project can be found here.



Daniel Sutter, Madeleine Schmidt (INFRAS)

Marco Brambilla, Silvia Maffii (TRT)

Kareen El Beyrouty, Samantha Morgan-Price, Ella Andrew (Ricardo)