A recent report highlights the trend of European nations reducing investments in railways while emphasizing road construction. The European rail network has experienced a significant decline in the last three decades, according to new research. In contrast, there has been a substantial increase in investments in road infrastructure
Despite this, there is a glimmer of hope as the financial disparity between the two is gradually narrowing.
Research conducted by German thinktanks Wuppertal Institute and T3 Transportation, commissioned by Greenpeace, shows that the length of motorways in Europe grew by 60 percent between 1995 and 2020, equivalent to 30,000 kilometers. Meanwhile, railways contracted by 6.5 percent, or 15,650 kilometers, leading to the closure of over 2,500 railway stations.
These figures reveal a governmental preference for cars over rail, cautions Lorelei Limousin, the senior climate campaigner for Greenpeace EU.
Limousin emphasizes, “Millions of people living outside urban areas have no alternative but to own a car for commuting, taking their children to school, or accessing basic services due to limited or non-existent public transport options. This is a direct consequence of governments dismantling local and regional rail networks while allocating significant funds to road projects.”
Despite some improvement, the funding gap remains striking. Between 1995 and 2018, European countries spent 66 percent more on roads than on railways. From 2018 to 2021, the expenditure on extending roads was 34 percent higher than that on extending railways.