The European Commission has approved a Danish scheme to subsidize the transport of goods by rail as compatible with the State aid rules of the Treaty. The scheme, laid down in a Danish law of 1998, aims at - partly - compensating the railways for the unpaid costs of road haulage and thereby creating more equitable conditions of competition between these modes. It should be seen against the background of the introduction of infrastructure charges that railway undertakings have to pay for the use of the Danish railway infrastructure. The underlying objective of the policy is to try and shift the transport of goods from road to rail.
In 1996, the Austrians travelled by train the most of all European Union inhabitants. Each of them covered 1,224 km on average. In Ireland and Greece, with the least dense railway networks, people travelled only 357 and 167 kilometres per person per year respectively.