Baltic Sea Region Territorial Monitoring System

Accessibility potential by road

Indicator definition

This indicator is defined as the number of people that can be reached by car, where the attractiveness of destinations is defined by their population size, subject to the car travel time to reach them.

Indicator importance

This indicator measures the market potential and locational advantage of a city or region.


In Europe, regions in Belgium, the Netherlands and in the western parts of Germany have the highest accessibility values, partly at a level more than twice the European average. Also regions in northern and eastern parts of France, in the south-east of England, in Switzerland, the western parts of Austria and the northern parts of Italy have very good accessibility by road. In all these regions, the combination of good road infrastructure in form of dense motorways and trunk rods, and high concentration of population leads to these favorite positions. Accessibility by road decreases towards regions located outside the European core. Lowest accessibility by road is found in the northernmost regions of the Nordic countries. In addition, most regions of the Baltic States, Bulgaria, Romania and Greece have very low potential accessibility.

The disparities within countries are remarkable, and are highest in France, Germany, Italy and the UK. Even for those countries with generally high accessibility, there are regions with below-average (Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Slovakia, and the UK).

For the BSR, the accessibility levels gradually decrease from the Southwest (Berlin, very central and central) to the Northeast (Kirkenes, very peripheral).

In the period 2001-2011, disparities in potential accessibility by road slightly decreased for entire Europe,so  as peripheral regions in Ireland, Spain, or Greece, so as regions in Po-land, Czech Republic and in the Nordic countries caught up; however, when differentiating by type of regions, the situation is not that clear: first, remote regions (intermediate re-gions and predominantly rural regions) have by far higher disparities compared to urban regions or regions located close to a city. Moreover, while disparities for urban regions stagnated between 2001 and 2011, disparities even increased for remote rural regions, i.e. these regions gained real losses in the relative accessibility potential.