Passenger transport

The "Passenger transport" fact sheet examines the modal split of this type of transport in Portugal and in the European Union.

The transport sector is one of the main sources of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and is also responsible for high levels of air and noise pollution, which can seriously damage human health and ecosystems.

When we consider the environmental impact of passenger transport, the modal split becomes particularly significant due to the differences in environmental performance, such as resource consumption, GHG and pollutant emissions and noise, between the various transport modes.

In Portugal, transports represent a major proportion of the final energy consumption, and road transport is responsible for almost all that consumption. It is also noted that land transport is mainly responsible for the consumption of petroleum-based fuels for energy purposes, thus contributing decisively to the country's external energy dependence. As a result of the type of energy mix used, this sector is also responsible for 25.71% of the total greenhouse gas emissions (without the Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry sector), in 2018, exerting strong pressure on the environment.

The transfer from individual transport to public transport is one of the long-term objectives of the Strategic Plan for Transport and Infrastructures which recognizes the modal imbalance in passenger transport, with a strong prevalence of individual transport, and calls for an offer of public passenger transport services at the local, regional and national level with quality and adequate levels of service provision to meet the needs of the populations and promote a higher adoption of public transport.

This fact sheet concerns mainland Portugal and the Autonomous Regions of Madeira and Azores and shall be updated on an annual basis.

Objectives and targets: 
  • The 2014-2020 Strategic Plan for Transport and Infrastructures sets a number of targets, most notably the 15% increase in the number of passengers-km (pkm - unit representing the transport of one passenger, over one kilometre) transported in public transport services, by 2020.
  • The National Energy and Climate Plan for 2030 (PNEC 2030), drawn up following the EU Regulation 2018/1999, defines, among others, the objectives of incorporating and valuing environmental and low carbon performance criteria in the process of contracting concessions for passenger public transport services and to strengthen the passenger rail transport and the fleet of passenger ships.
  • Decree-Law No. 86/2021, which transposes Directive (EU) 2019/1161 (which in turn amends Directive 2009/33/EC), establishes the legal regime for the promotion of clean road transport vehicles in favour of low-emission mobility, defining that contracts for the purchase and sale, rental, among others, of road vehicles with reduced or zero carbon emissions, signed by public entities, must take into account the ecological criteria defined in the scope the National Strategy for Ecological Public Procurement; the decree-law promotes the decarbonisation of the transport sector, through the acquisition of vehicles with reduced or zero emissions and the encouragement of the introduction of clean energy, and promotes patterns of active, shared, flexible, connected and sustainable mobility.
Progress analysis:
Last update: 
Wednesday, 10 November, 2021