This is inspired by a post here.


And discussion here. https://reddit.com/r/ukpolitics/s/xmCuoduJsu

I would like to know if there's anywhere in Europe that public transport is more popular than car use.

  • 9
    Can you quote or summarize the information you're linking to? Also how do you define "more popular"? Total distance traveled? Opinion polls? Something else?
    – phoog
    Commented Sep 21, 2023 at 21:59
  • Note that looking at aggregate behaviour in some area is a misleading way to find out whether poor people drive more than richer people (it's a variant of the “ecological fallacy”). That will be an issue no matter how you define “poor” or “popular”.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Sep 22, 2023 at 5:46
  • I think it is true on most of the cities (commuters). Consider that Europe has real cities (US tends to have inhabitants in suburbs). Driving license often only after 18 years (and it is not expected to have the "driving mother", so you get many additional people using public transports. The cities are different: do not look just one item (which it is an effect, not a cause). Commented Sep 22, 2023 at 7:17
  • By the way, you should be skeptical about any statistics about public transport use from the last few years, since fear of Covid and the inconvenience of mask mandates temporarily drove many people out of public transport. The situation is returning to normal but it will take some time before the statistics start to reflect it.
    – Jsl
    Commented Sep 22, 2023 at 10:34
  • At the state level (with exceptions for micro-nations such as Vatican City), I don't think there are any countries where total passenger.kilometres are higher for public transport than for cars. At the city level, though, this is quite different, as illustrated in the answers below (and in the document you linked in your question), though that introduces questions about the definition of the "city" and what trips are counted or not.
    – jcaron
    Commented Sep 22, 2023 at 11:28

2 Answers 2


In many big cities that have some form of rapid transit (i.e. subway, grade-separated tram network or similar) combined with various policies discouraging car use, public transport is more popular than car for intra-city trips. Some of the best examples are Paris, Munich, Zurich, Vienna, Amsterdam, Copenhagen (in the latter two, cycling is the most popular mode of transport) and others.

For longer journeys, public transport is very popular in countries that have extensive high-speed rail network and very expensive motorways (France, Spain and Italy). However, more people still travel by car.

Additionally, public transport is more popular than cars in areas where cars cannot get, such as Venice or several car-free villages of Switzerland, most notably Zermatt. :-)


If popular is based on the number of trips, then Paris. From pariszigzag.fr (Gtranslate):

52% of trips made in Paris are made on foot, 32% by public transport, 10% by car and 5% by two-wheeler.

Original text:

52 % des déplacements effectués dans Paris se font à pied, 32 % en transports en commun, 10 % en voiture et 5 % en deux-roues.

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