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Decomposing the decoupling of Danish road freight traffic growth and economic growth

By Ole Kveiborg and Mogens Fosgerau

Abstract

In recent years many European countries have seen a decoupling of the growth in road freight traffic (vehicle kilometres) from economic growth. A similar decoupling has not been observed in road freight transport (tonne kilometres). In this paper the historical growth in national Danish road freight traffic and transport is attributed to causes using a Divisia index decomposition method. It is demonstrated that overall road freight traffic growth is a consequence of often opposite pointing growth effects in the underlying factors. The observed decoupling of road freight traffic growth from economic growth is mainly the result of use of larger vehicles, increasing average loads, and less empty running. Growth in road freight transport is primarily caused by growth in production. A decrease in the number of tons lifted per tonne produced (the handling factor) is offset by an increase in the tonne kilometres per tonne lifted.

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