Density of motorways, 2009


Observations for policy

Public expenditure cuts triggered by the financial crisis and will impact on issues concerning the quality and accessibility to SGI and most likely on the future provision and maintenance of those services.

Many economic and demographically disadvantaged regions face the risk of becoming even more disadvantaged as a consequence of the budget cuts needed to manage the financial crisis. This could hamper policy ambitions concerning economic, social and territorial cohesion as the gap between rich and poor regions can be expected to increase.

The map underlines the importance of continuing the efforts initiated by the EU in improving trans-European networks and, at the same time, promoting environmentally friendly and climate smart transport modalities.

Policy context

The importance given to SGI reflects the obligation of local and regional authorities in ensuring the provision of public services in accordance with certain standards, particularly in terms of quality, availability, and affordability.

Good and fast accessibility of both public and freight transport is a key factor to the success of Europe’s economy. This is underlined by the EU Transport and Cohesion Policy and consequently belongs to SGIs. With regard to this, long distance transport modes and motorways constitute an important dimension in today’s transport systems.

Map interpretation

The map shows the lengths of motorways in kilometres per 1000 km2. The result is largely influenced by population density and historic legacy related to transport networks. High densities of motorways can be observed in densely populated areas of Western Europe. In contrast, sparsely populated areas but also large parts of the new accession countries to the EU register low motorway densities.

Concepts and methods

The definition applied to SGI is twofold. On the one hand, it aggregates social services of general interest, including education, health care, housing and social assistance services. On the other, it aggregates services of general economic interest that encompass gas, electricity, postal services, or transport.

In statistical terms, motorways are roads with carriageways for traffic in two directions, separated from each other, either by a dividing strip not intended for traffic or exceptionally by other means.