Eurotunnel Traffic

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Eurotunnel Traffic History

In 2017, more than 10.3 million passengers travelled by train through the Eurotunnel. Nearly 4 million passengers travelled through by car, and more than 800,000 truck drivers passed through the Eurotunnel. As requested, I've populated the spreadsheet with the relevant data, and you'll also see a summary of my research below.

findings and calculations

To determine the number of car passengers, I found the average occupancy rate for cars in western Europe, which is 1.54 passengers per car. The source is from 2017; however, it provides data from 2007. The source is a government organizational report and this is the most recent report available of its type. Moreover, I think it's fair to assume that these figures have not changed dramatically in recent years. For this triangulation, we will multiply the number of cars passing through the tunnel with average occupancy rate for cars in western Europe. For example, for 2017:

2,595,247 cars passed through the Eurotunnel.
2,595,247×1.54 (average passengers per car) = 3,996,680 passengers

As you can see in the spreadsheet, the number of car passengers was 2,937,525 in 2008 and grew to 3,996,680 in 2017. Train passengers grew from 9,113,371 in 2008 to 10,300,622 in 2017. Truck drivers grew from 627,141 in 2008 to 818,640 in 2017 (this is based on the assumption that there is one driver per truck).


To wrap up, I've compiled data on the number of train passengers, car passengers, and truck drivers travelling through the Eurotunnel each year from 2008 to 2017. You'll find all the data in the spreadsheet.
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Eurotunnel Traffic Predictions

Eurotunnel passenger (i.e. car and train) traffic volume is estimated to grow at a 2.93% CAGR through 2027. Its freight (i.e. trucks) traffic volume is projected to grow at a CAGR of 3.59% during the same period. Your requested information is also prepared for you in the attached spreadsheet.

Below you will find a deep dive of my findings and methodology.


To complete your request, I searched corporate resources, commissioned reports, industry analysis, and media coverage of Eurotunnel's traffic estimates up to 2030. I did not find a resource that directly gave specific traffic projections from 2018 to 2030. Eurotunnel's website as well as its traffic estimate resources were inaccessible at the time of my research. Therefore, I relied on external resources and projections to complete my research. I found a locked report by PricewaterhouseCoopers but it only offered traffic estimates up to 2020 and provided no helpful findings in its preview. Also, while trusted media articles answered part of the question, they were inadequate to fully answer your request.

I used the only resource I found that gave compounded annual growth rates for Eurotunnel's passenger (i.e. car and train) and freight (truck) traffic estimates up to 2051. Please continue below to see the results of my research.


The book "The Econometrics of Major Transport Infrastructures" (most recent version available) was the only resource I found that gave projected growth rates for Eurotunnel's traffic volume up to 2030 and beyond. In page 133, the book cites Eurotunnel forecasts as the basis of its projected annual growth projections.

The book gives the following annual Eurotunnel traffic forecasts:

■ 1994-2003: Passengers, 3.78% ; Freight, 4.48%
■ 2004-2013: Passengers, 2.93% ; Freight, 3.59%
■ 2014-2051: Passengers and Freight, linear decline in growth rate to 0 by 2051

I studied the historical growth/decline in Eurotunnel rates from 2013 to 2017 in tab 1 of the attached spreadsheet. Historical data shows that traffic flow fluctuated for all 3 categories. In other words, historical data did not reflect the projected linear decline for the years after 2013. Also, information gleaned from the media articles below show projections for increased, not decreased, traffic flow in the Eurotunnel.

For this reason I used the most recent rates available, i.e. 2013 to calculate Eurotunnel traffic flow up to 2030. Passenger traffic flows for both car and train passengers are calculated using the 2.93% CAGR up to 2027 while truck drivers are calculated using the 3.59% CAGR up to 2027. Yearly Eurotunnel traffic flow volumes for all three categories are prepared for you in tab 2 entitled Predictions in the attached spreadsheet.


I found snatches of information from trusted media sources, namely Reuters and Independent.

Reuters reported in 2017 that Eurotunnel's goal of transporting 2 million trucks by 2020 could be delayed by a year. The announcement had been preceded by reports of decreased truck shuttle traffic in 2017.

Independent reported in 2014 (the most recent available) that Eurotunnel projected over 4 million extra train passengers could be added to its traffic in the Channel Tunnel by 2020.

Future Challenges

Corporate Watch reported in 2016 that Eurotunnel faces several challenges in the future. Here are several that could affect future traffic estimates:


CW cited Brexit as early as 2016 as a factor that could affect trade flow between France and Britain. Now that Brexit has become a reality, cross-channel trade and traffic in the future could also be affected.

While the company plans to bring in several new freight shuttles to increase traffic flow, CW cautioned that tunnel space can only handle a limited number of freight and trains. New technology might help increase traffic flow but can also increase risk of accidents and delays.

In its 2015 Registration Document, CW quotes Eurotunnel as stating that the tunnel "could be subject to disruption from various sources. This could result in the stoppage or reduction of this traffic as was the case in 2015 on the SNCF Railways Calais Frethun site."

CW notes that escalating controls and checks on the border directly impacts trade and traffic flow between France and Britain. Border rule enforcement has historically resulted from terrorist concerns but may now be compounded by Brexit.


Here is additional material for further review:

Eurotunnel 2020 Potential Traffic Estimate by PricewaterhouseCoopers (locked 2013 report, most recent version available)


To wrap it up, based on available resources, Eurotunnel passenger (i.e. car and train) traffic volume is estimated to grow at a 2.93% CAGR from 2018 to 2027 while freight (i.e. trucks) traffic volume is projected to grow at a CAGR of 3.59% during the same period. However, challenges such as Brexit, border control, security issues and the natural limit of tunnel traffic can affect Eurotunnel traffic flow in the future.

Your requested information is prepared for you in the attached spreadsheet.