The volume of passenger transport demand has been increasing in Slovenia for several decades, primarily due to the growth of the most unsustainable modes – passenger cars and air transport (especially after 2002). The growth stopped after the economic recession in 2008. Trend of the public transport modes has been declining for decades, especially the proportion of bus services. In the last decade the proportion of public transport stabilized, but on much lower level then it was before 1991 when Slovenia became independent.
Road goods transport has increased dramatically after Slovenia joined EU. This is due to increased volume of tonne-kilometers of the Slovenian transport carriers. The road goods transport increased in 2004-2014 for about 80%. After 2011 the growth continues, with exception of the aviation transport. After 2011 the share is constant. From the environmental point of view the growth of road freight transit through Slovenia is alarming. Emissions form the transit contributes to the air pollution and GHG emissions as well.
In last decade Slovenia spent the majority of its investments in the road network, especially in the motorways. Investments in railways have been neglected and therefore, uncompetitive with the road transport. After 2011, this trend has changed slightly. Investments in rail transport have been increasing since 2014. The proportion of funds allocated to railways in 2014 amounted to 52%, what is above the EEA33 average. The total volume of investments in 2014 represented 59% of investments in 2008. Due to the economic crisis, the funds for investment from 2008 to 2012 declined but since then they are slowly increasing.
Energy consumption in transport has gradually increased after the fall due to the economic crisis. In 2012, the proportion of traffic in the final use of energy was the same as the highest proportion so far. Most of the energy is consumed in road transport and also the road transport is fastest growing.
The assessment of external costs of transport in Slovenia for 2002 varies between 6 and 9.8 % of GDP, which is at the level of the EU-15 average (7 %). The majority (over 90 %) of all external costs of transport in Slovenia are caused by road transport.
Inhabitants of the EU-27 as well as the population of Slovenia is only partially aware of the problem of increasing traffic and its environmental consequences. Public awareness about the effects of transport on the environment is still at a relatively low level, although differences between European countries is substantial. People's awareness of environmental problems and traffic does not lead automatically to changing the mobility habits and do not always reflect the changes in the behavior of the population.
Data on air pollution shows that Slovenian cities are over-polluted with NO2 and PM10. Transport is one of the main causes of this pollution. Air quality is in general improving, especially since economic downturn in 2008 and reducing the amount of passenger traffic.
In last decade, major emissions of air pollutants from transport decreased. However, road transport remains one of the most significant air pollutants. In Slovenia in 2014 road transport contributed about 52 % to the total emissions of nitrogen oxides. In period 1990-2014 emissions of substances that cause acidification in transport sector declined by 46 %. In the same period also emissions of ozone precursors and particulate matter from transport declined (ozone precursors for about 63 % while PM for about 18 %).
Greenhouse gas emissions from transport in Slovenia increased by 185% in 2014 compared to 1986. Also in EU, GHG emissions in 2014 from transport increased in comparison to concentrations in the 2008-2013 period. In 1990-2014, GHGs in EU increased by 13 % (in Slovenia at this time for 97%). Major source of GHGs in Slovenia is road transport which contributed about 99 % in 2014. Share of transport in GHG emissions (32,5% in 2014) and not enough effective measures to reduce GHGs make difficulties in achieving commitments of the Kyoto Protocol in Slovenia.
Although the annual number of fatalities in road transport in Slovenia has been declining for decades and has almost halved in last 20 years, traffic accidents in last ten years required more than 190 lives a year, on average. The number of deaths in road accidents in the last ten years of declined. This positive trend is also seen in most other European countries.
Passenger car ownership in Slovenia in last 20 years almost doubled. It is closely connected to the use of passenger cars. Since 2008, passenger car ownership in Slovenia is growing more slowly as a result of the economic recession. Motorization level, which is reflected in the number of cars per thousand inhabitants, in Slovenia exceeds the rate of motorization in EU and also in numerous economically more developed EU countries. Motorization level in Slovenia in 2015 was 523 cars per thousand inhabitants, what is about a half more than in 1995. The number of passenger car ownership per household in Slovenia is also increasing. An average Slovenian household has for a third more passenger cars in 2015 than in 1991.
The average age of passengers cars in Slovenia increased from 6.8 years in 1992 to 9.4 years in 2014. It also changed the share of passenger cars by age. Passenger cars older than 12 years more than doubled in 2015 in comparison to 2001. Also the share of passenger cars aged less than three years decreased for almost a half during this period. The share of heavy duty vehicles and the share of mopeds and motorcycles older than 12 years have also increased since 2009 while the share of these vehicles aged less than three years decreased in the same period. This means that new technologies are introduced too slowly. Due to this Slovenian vehicle fleet is mostly less environmentally-friendly. In comparison to EU-27, the average age of passenger cars has increased since 2000, from 6.8 years in 2000 to 7.4 in 2014. Due to costumers are tending to hold on their vehicles longer than before this reflects in increasing the average age of the vehicle fleet.
The introduction of biofuels in Slovenia and the objectives in this area are lagging behind the referential values of the EU Directive on the promotion of the use of biofuels and other renewable fuels for transport. Slovenia explains the deviations from the referential values by the limited possibilities of biofuel production, the discrepancies between the prices of mineral fuels and biofuels, and thus the non-stimulating market conditions that do not promote consumer to use biofuels.
Share of household expenditure on personal mobility remains relatively stable across time. High income groups and people from economically developed countries spend more money on car purchase and transport in comparison to low income groups and people from less economically developed countries. In 2014, households in Slovenia allocated about 16% of the household expenditure on personal mobility. The structure of the expenditure shows that about 12% or larger proportion is allocated to operating the vehicles while about 3% is allocated to the purchase of the vehicles. Only around 1% is allocated to the public transport.
In comparison with the European average, the levels of transport charges in Slovenia are relatively low. The charges for the road freight transport subsystem are somewhere at the average level, while in the rail freight transport subsystem substantially below the average level of other European countries.
Prices of motor fuels have been increasing. In the period 2000–2008, the real prices of gasoline, diesel and autogas increased. Fiscal policy also contributed a lot to higher prices. Due to lower prices and a smaller impact on the environment, autogas presents one of the most widespread alternatives to classic oil fuels.
The decrease in SO2 emissions from transport is significantly affected by the tightening of legislation concerning the concentration of sulfur in liquid fuels (10 mg / kg since 2009) for both petrol and diesel. Limited value of concentration of sulfur in fuels used in road transport in 2015 was not exceeded neidher in Sloveia nor in EU-28, the same applies to air and maritime transport. In the last several years the lead in liquid fuels (in road transport) is no longer present, the measurement of benzene are lower than the prescribed value ( 1 % V/V ).
The main source of environmental (ambient) noise is transport. Road traffic is the most widespread source. Percentage of the population exposed to different noise levels is high. People in urban areas are exposed to the highest levels of noise, because of concentration of population and traffic in the cities. Most worrying is a significant increase in noise at night, because people are most sensitive to noise at that time.
Sustainable transport planning at regional and local level has no tradition in Slovenia. Integrated approach has been intoduced only after joining the EU. Nowadays, more and more municipalities respond to the incentives of the EU and of the Ministry of Infrastructure. They prepare and implement the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans, so called SUMPs. SUMP is a strategic document which outlines the municipality´s vision and objectives in the field of sustainable transport and a list of necesarry actions which help achieving a comprehensive change and, consequently, a higher quality of life. Implementation of the strategies already results in more efficient transport solutions important for air quality improvement, especially on city level. Having a SUMP is defenitely a good incentive also for other municipalities and regions.
In Slovenia and also in other European countries the proportion of vehicle fleet that comply with the latest and most stringent emission standards increased sharply in period 2011-2015. Penetration of new technology is highest for the diesel cars. In Slovenia penetration of new technologies and introduction of latest EURO emission standards is lowest for two-wheelers (i.e. mopeds and motorcycles), while it is highest for city buses and heavy-duty vehicles.