Research and analysis

Road traffic demand elasticities

Investigates estimates made in literature on how road traffic changes in response to population growth, income growth and fuel cost changes.



This rapid evidence assessment assesses the literature covering estimates of road travel demand elasticities. It was conducted by RAND Europe who was commissioned by the Department for Transport to undertake the review.

It covers 23 sources, including:

  • academic journals
  • conference papers
  • grey literature

to provide a wide coverage of the available evidence.

The findings presented give an estimated range for fuel price and GDP / income elasticities for both passenger and freight road transport demand.

The report concludes that:

  • there is no evidence to move from the elasticities implied in the department’s National Transport Model
  • in view of the period since most of the work was done, an updated study of elasticities should be carried out