Decoupling means the break of the traditional link between economic growth and road transport activity. This concept was widely discussed in the White Paper European Transport Policy for 2020: Time to Decide (European Commission, 2001b), understanding it as an opportunity for boosting sustainable development.
Breaking this link means that historical values, which used to be stable over time, might be changed by implementing certain policy measures. Even though decoupling has increased in some countries over the last few decades due to the current transition to more service-oriented economies, there is still room to improve it through the implementation of policies aimed at shifting freight to cleaner modes or improving logistic performance.
This research proposal intends to analyze and quantify the key drivers explaining decoupling between GDP and road freight transport growth across different EU countries in order to understand common trends and divergences among them. To that end, we will quantify the impact of the evolution of some variables on road transport demand trends of some European countries by using an Input-Output (IO) approach integrating the links between economic sectors and the restructuring of national economy together with the evolution of and technological and logistic factors— i.e. modal split, supply chain structures—. The core objective of this research is to provide strategic lessons that might be applicable in countries where road freight transport is still growing at a pair with GDP. .