Source: International Union of Railways,
World Rail Passenger Traffic, 1980-2010
Passengers rail transportation demand has not grown much over the last 20 years, with most of the growth attributed to Asia. From the 1980s up to the early 2000s there was limited change in the utilization level of most national passenger rail transport systems. This is mainly attributable to intense competition from both road (average distances ) and air (long distance) transportation. For instance, its passengers function in North America is residual while Western Europe has focused on the development of high speed passengers rail systems. This has permitted European rail to maintain its general level of utilization.