Spatial developments

Road traffic: volume trends and environmental pressure, 1990-2014

You are currently viewing an archived version of this indicator. The most recent version can be viewed here.

Implemented measures resulted in a decrease in emissions of particulate matter and nitrogen oxides, despite an increase in the number of vehicle kilometres. Carbon dioxide emissions have decreased slightly since 2009 due to more fuel efficient verhicles.

Carbon dioxide emissions

Between 1990 and 2008, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from road traffic increased more or less in proportion to the number of vehicle kilometres. Between 2009 and 2014 the emission decreased by 12%, which is among other things due to the fiscal benefits of purchasing fuel efficient cars.

Nitrogen oxide and particulate matter emissions

Emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter from road traffic decreased year on year after 1990, despite the fact that the number of vehicle kilometres increased by 33% between 1990 and 2014. In the case of NOx, this can be mainly attributed to the introduction of the three-way catalytic converter in cars and vans at the end of the 1980s in response to emission standards. The reduction in particulate matter (PM10) emissions was mainly due to improvements made in engines. A further reduction, in particular after 2005, was achieved by the use of diesel particulate filters. Almost every new diesel vehicle was supplied with an in-built diesel particulate filter after 2011, and existing vehicles were also equipped with diesel particulate filters (retrofit). Over 80,000 cars and vans and almost 27,000 heavy goods vehicles had been fitted with a retrofit filter.

Noise nuisance

The decline in noise nuisance from road traffic between 1990 and 1997 came to an end several years ago. The decrease in the early 1990s was the result of noise regulations being applied to new vehicles, the construction of sound barriers and the use of noise-reducing tarmac (ZOAB). The increase since 1997 is a consequence of increasing road traffic intensity.

Policy objectives

The general policy objective is to achieve a decrease in emissions across the economy in addition to growth in gross domestic product (GDP).


Archive for this indicator

Reference for this page

CBS, PBL, RIVM, WUR (2016). Road traffic: volume trends and environmental pressure, 1990-2014 (indicator 0127, version 25 , 22 March 2016 ). Statistics Netherlands (CBS), The Hague; PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, The Hague; RIVM National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven; and Wageningen University and Research, Wageningen.

The Environmental Data Compendium is a partnership of CBS, PBL, RIVM and WUR.