Other transport-related indicators

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During the corona crisis, society and the economy have undergone a number of changes which are directly or indirectly related to the transport system. These may be factors that are both a result of reduced transport demand and factors that in themselves affect the volume of traffic or transport. Reduced demand for certain goods can lead to reduced transport demand and thus reduced traffic on our roads. Reduced traffic, in turn, affects both carbon dioxide emissions, environmental impact, noise and the number of accidents that occur in traffic.

Below are some changes that we can follow with indicators on a monthly basis:

  • Sales development in the transport business
  • Bankruptcies in total and in the transport business
  • Notices in total and in the transport business
  • New passenger cars and new light goods vehicles
  • Number of fatalities in road traffic accidents

Sales development in the transport business

A very direct indicator that reflects demand in the economy is the turnover trend. The turnover in the transport sector (SNI 49 – 51) in April 2020 was significantly lower than in April 2019. The railway sector reduced its turnover by 37 percent. Public transport decreased sales by 15 percent and the taxi business by 44 percent. Freight by road and removal transport (truck transport) had a modest decrease of 2 percent. Water transport reduced sales by 47 percent and in air transport sales fell by as much as 85 percent.

Figure 1. Sales in current prices in March and April 2020, compared to same month in 2019. Percentage difference.
Source: Statistics Sweden (SCB)


Bankruptcies in total and in the transport sector

The number of bankruptcies is an indicator that captures a dimension of how business life is affected by the corona crisis. The Swedish Agency for Growth Policy Analysis publishes official statistics on bankruptcies every month. In April 2020, 915 companies went into bankruptcy in the entire Swedish economy, 31 percent more than in April 2019. The number of employees affected by bankruptcies in April 2020 was 4,067, 88 percent more compared to the same period in 2019.

In the sector Transport and storage (SNI 49 – 53), 45 bankruptcies occurred in April 2020, compared to 40 in April 2019. The number of employees affected was 121, compared with 376 the year before. In March 2020, 423 employees were affected by the bankruptcies in the transport industry, compared to 69 in March 2019.

Notices in the transport business

One indicator that describes the risk of a reduction in the workforce is the number of notices. Notice means that the employer warns the staff that they may be laid off. In Sweden, the employer reports a notice both to the trade union organization and to the Swedish public employment service. The Swedish public employment service publishes statistics on the number of notices in different industries.

During March and April 2020 there have been very large increases in the number of notices, compared to the same months in 2019. The development of notices in the economy as a whole and in the transport business has been very similar. In March 2020, the number of notices was 12 times as many as in March 2019, and in April 2020 there were 6 times as many notices as in the same month last year.

In April 2020, almost 27,000 people were given a notice in Sweden, of which just over 4,000 (15 per cent) in Transportation and storage (SNI 49 – 53). In May, the notices were significantly fewer, a total of 8,600 persons, of which 1,100 (13 per cent) in Transportation and storage. In the months of March – May together, most notices were in Warehousing and support activities (38 per cent), followed by Air transport (23 per cent) and Water transport (22 per cent) (Figure 2).

Figure 2. The number of people getting notices in Transportation and storage.
Source: The Swedish public employment service
Note: Postal and courier activities (SNI 53) is excluded from the figure.


The transport industry is one of the industries most affected by notices if you measure in the number of people affected. In April and May together, the notices were the most in the Manufacturing followed by, Transport and warehousing, Wholesale and trade, and Accomodation and food service. Together these four businesses accounted for 58 percent of all notices in April and May 2020.

New cars and new light goods vehicles

Sales of new vehicles is an important financial indicator. Transport Analysis publishes monthly statistics on the number of newly registered vehicles. The number of newly registered passenger cars and light goods vehicles (LGVs) has decreased during all months in 2020, compared to the corresponding period in 2019. During January – March, the decrease was mainly due to adaptation to the bonus-malus system. Since January 1, 2020, the vehicle tax is calculated according to carbon dioxide emissions measured with the so-called WLTP driving cycle, which results in a much higher taxes on diesel vehicles in particular. At the end of 2019, many passenger cars and LGVs (trucks with a total weight of max. 3.5 tonnes) were registered “beforehand” to avoid the higher malus tax.

The rebound effect with fewer new registrations during the first months of 2020 was expected. However, the reduced number of new registrations during April and May we believe are mainly due to the corona pandemic. Already in March, car factories around the world began to close down or reduce production capacity, at the same time as consumers began to feel uncertain about their financial prospects.


Figure 3. Newly registered passenger cars and light goods vehicles (LGVs). January – May 2020 compared to the same months in 2019, percentage difference.
Source: Transport Analysis


Killed in road traffic accidents

The police are obliged to report from road traffic accidents that cause personal injuries. The Swedish Transport Agency manages a database of data on fatalities and injuries in road traffic accidents and publishes preliminary statistics every month. Transport analysis annually publishes official statistics on road traffic injuries.

Throughout 2019, fewer people died in road traffic accidents than ever before in modern times; 223 people. In January-April 2020, 58 people perished, compared with 70 during the same months in 2019. In March this year, the number of killed was extremely low with 6 people killed. During April 2020, 17 people perished, compared to 16 in April 2019. (Figure 4)

Figure 4. Number of people killed in road traffic accidents in January – April 2020 and the corresponding months in 2019.
Source: Swedish Transport Agency
Note: The number of fatalities refers to road traffic accidents excluding suicides and other intentional acts.