Energy use transport: fundamentals
• It's "nature's money"
• Various ways of measuring it
• Direct (fuel) and indirect: fuel, vehicle and road
construction (Lovelace, 2011)
• Average per unit distance - refine after 1 estimate
Data and methods
• Dutch data taken from Statistics
Netherlands and English data from
Casweb: official data
• Method uses estimates of vehicle
energy use per km (Fels, 1975)
• All analysis + visualisation in R
• E = distance * efficiency * number
• 'Best estimates' (MacKay, 2009)
• Result reproducible: RPubs
documents + uploaded .zip folder
• RMarkdown runs code 'live'
England vs the Netherlands
Attribute England Netherlands Units
Population density 407 406 ppl/km2
GDP 50,000 46,000 $/capita
Income inequality 34 (UK) 31 Gini Index
Wellbeing 0.875 (UK) 0.921 UN HDI
Average energy costs per one way trip to work in English regions (2001) and
Dutch provinces (2010)
• The average commute is more energy
intensive in NL
• By 10%: 34 MJ/trip in England vs 38
MJ/trip in the Netherlands
• Southern English regions (except London) have
higher populations and energy use
• Populous and urbanised NL provinces: lower
Explanation II - Distance
• Average distance in UK: 14.8 km
• Netherlands average: 17.7 km
• NL distance: 27% further
Explanation III - Infrastructure
~2600 km of motorways in NL, ~3700 km EN
(Eurostat, 2013): around 150 km vs 70 km per
million people: more than double!
Data inconsistencies and caveats
• 2001 vs 2010 data
• NL data highly aggregated, percentages and
• EN data provides actual counts, high spatial
resolution available, but distance not yet
available in 2011 Census
• Euclidean vs route distances are an issue
• Assume same car fleet efficiencies
• Best approximation (MacKay 2009), not 'final
NL data not
available on this:
Distance changes over time (EN)
Shifted very little since 2001 (DfT, 2011).
• Higher energy use in Netherlands for
commuting is unexpected
• 'Good' transport policies do not
automatically prevent 'bad' outcomes
• Links with 'green bling' effect of
• Are bicycles a diversion?
• Sustainable transport policy should be
• Defra (2012). 2012 Guidelines to Defra / DECC’s GHG Conversion
Factors for Company Reporting: Methodology Paper
• DfT. (2011). Commuting and business travel factsheet tables.
• Dropbox .zip folder with all code + data for reproducible results and
• Fels, M. F. (1975). Comparative energy costs of urban
transportation systems. Transportation Research, 9(5), 297–308.
• Lovelace, R. et al. (2011). Assessing the energy implications of
replacing car trips with bicycle trips in Sheffield, UK. Energy Policy,
• MacKay, D. (2009) Sustainable energy without the hot air. UIT
Press. (Entirely free online).
• robinlovelace on RPubs: reproducible code and output for EN, NL
Contact me: rob00x-at-gmail.com,
Input energy use data: "Something
we prepared earlier"
Direct and indirect
costs of different
costs from Defra
calculated from a
variety of sources.
Mode shifts in short term (EN) (DfT 2011)
Habitual behaviour linked to housing, high intertia
to change (Understanding Society dataset)