Has heavy vehicle tolling in Europe been effective in reducing road freight transport and promoting modal shift?

  • Juan GomezEmail author
  • José Manuel Vassallo


During the last few decades, the European Union has promoted distance-based charges on heavy goods vehicles for the use of main roads as a means of funding the infrastructure and internalizing external costs. This approach has progressively been implemented by many European nations. From a macro perspective, this paper explores the impact of heavy vehicle tolling on road freight demand in the countries where it has been implemented. To that end, we develop a dynamic panel data methodology to analyze the evolution over time of road freight traffic and modal share for the European countries having implemented a nationwide per-km truck tolling policy. The results show that, with the exception of very specific cases, there is not strong evidence that heavy vehicle tolling had either influenced road freight volume or promoted the shift of freight to alternative modes. In addition, the limited effect of this charging policy has been partly or mostly counteracted by the evolution of other explanatory factors such as economic growth and the expansion of high capacity networks.


Truck tolling Eurovignette Directive Road freight Modal shift Panel data Europe 



The authors wish to thank the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (MINECO) which has funded the Project TRA2015-64723-R.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centro de Investigación del Transporte (TRANSyT)Universidad Politécnica de MadridMadridSpain

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