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North American Transportation Statistics: Over 107 Million Personal Vehicles Entered the U.S. in 2008

North American Transportation Statistics: Over 107 Million Personal Vehicles Entered the U.S. in 2008

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BTS 56-09
Dave Smallen
202-366-5568

Monday, December 7, 2009 - More than 107 million personal vehicles entered the United States in 2008, 28.7 million from Canada and 78.9 million from Mexico , according to the U.S. Department of Transportations Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) (Table 1). Additionally, 10.8 million trucks, 394,000 buses, and 40,000 trains entered the U.S. in 2008 (NATS database, Table 12-3).

BTS, a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, released the data today as part of the fifth annual update of the North American Transportation Statistics (NATS) online database.

The NATS online database also includes data on U.S. trade and transportation with Canada and Mexico . Goods valued at more than $964 billion crossed the U.S. border in trade with Canada and Mexico in 2008, 6.1 percent higher than the previous record set in 2007, despite the economic downturn that began in the middle of the year, according BTS (Table 2).

U.S. merchandise trade with Canada and Mexico rose by more than $335 billion or by 53.2 percent in the five years between 2003 and 2008 (Table 2).

This fifth annual update of the NATS database contains the most comparable transportation-related data available from the United States , Canada , and Mexico in a one-stop online resource. The NATS database is co-sponsored by BTS and the U.S. Census Bureau with the federal-level transportation and statistical agencies of Canada and Mexico.

The value of freight shipments moving between the United States , Canada and Mexico grew at an average rate of nearly 8.9 percent per year between 2003 and 2008. The total value of U.S. freight shipments with Mexico grew 56.0 percent or 9.3 percent annually. Goods shipped in trade with Canada grew 51.5 percent or 8.7 percent annually (Table 2).

Trucks carried 58 percent of this freight measured by value - $554 billion in 2008. Rail carried 15 percent, followed by maritime with 10 percent, pipeline with 9 percent, and air with 4 percent. Pipeline was the largest modal increase in shipment value from 2007 to 2008 - $28 billion, followed by maritime, up $19 billion, and air, up $3 billion (NATS database, Table 6-1c).

New data in the NATS database shows America s top gateways for trade with Canada and Mexico . In 2008, Detroit was the top road gateway with $101 billion in international road shipments passing through that gateway (Table 3).

The NATS-OD figures show, among other things, the importance of the various modes of transportation involved in the movement of goods between Canada, Mexico and the U.S., and presents statistics indicating the relationships among transportation, international trade, economy, security, energy and the environment. Additionally, the NATS-OD incorporates technical and methodological footnotes in English, French and Spanish to provide users with interpretation and analysis.

A product of the North American Transportation Statistics Interchange established in 1991, the NATS database provides three-country comparative information on transportation activity and its impact. It covers the following subject areas: country overview, transportation and the economy, transportation safety, transportations impact on energy and the environment, domestic freight activity, North American merchandise trade, international merchandise trade, domestic passenger travel, North American passenger travel, international passenger travel, transportation infrastructure, and vehicles.

This years NATS-OD includes a new indicator on greenhouse gas emissions by the transportation sector.  This new indicator was developed in response to the need for harmonized data to support environmental and transportation decision-making at national and trilateral levels.

With text available in English, French, and Spanish, the NATS database can be found at http://nats.sct.gob.mx/

Table 1 - 2008 Vehicle Crossings into the United States

Excel | CSV

  From Canada From Mexico
Personal Vehicle 28,677,703 78,856,542
Truck 5,894,551 4,866,252
Bus 127,233 266,414
Train 29,780 10,262

NOTES
Truck crossings: Number of arriving trucks; does not include privately owned pick-up trucks.
Train crossings: Rail data for U.S.-Mexico border are for rail (loaded and unloaded) containers and U.S.-Canada numbers are for number of trains, not containers.
Privately owned vehicle crossings: Number of privately owned vehicles (POVs) arriving at a particular port.  Includes pick-up trucks, motorcycles, recreational vehicles, taxis, snow-mobiles, ambulances, hearses, and other motorized private ground vehicles.
Bus crossings: Number of arriving buses at a particular port, whether or not they are carrying passengers.

SOURCE: North American Transportation Statistics Online Database, available at http://nats.sct.gob.mx/nats, November 2009.

Table 2 - U.S. Merchandise Trade with Canada and Mexico by Freight Transportation Mode

(Billions of current dollars)

Excel | CSV

  2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 Percent change, 03 - 08 Annual growth rate (%)03 - 08
Total trade with Canada and Mexico 629 712 790 866 909 964 53.2 8.9
 Air 28 32 33 36 38 41 43.9 7.6
 Pipeline 32 38 52 57 59 88 171.2 22.1
 Rail 96 108 116 129 138 140 46.7 8.0
 Road 404 453 491 534 555 554 37.2 6.5
 Water transport 38 46 58 70 74 73 145.0 19.6
Total: percent change from previous year 2003-2008 4.2 13.1 10.9 9.7 4.9 6.1 - -
Total trade with Canada 394 445 499 534 562 597 51.5 8.7
 Air 20 23 23 24 26 28 36.7 6.4
 Pipeline 32 38 51 56 58 86 168.0 21.8
 Rail 65 75 80 86 91 93 43.9 7.6
 Road 241 269 295 314 325 320 32.8 5.8
 Water transport 11 14 18 21 25 32 190.3 23.8
Total: percent change from previous year 2003-2008 6.0 13.1 12.2 6.9 5.2 6.2 - -
Total trade with Mexico 236 267 290 332 347 367 56.0 9.3
 Air 8 9 10 11 12 13 62.5 10.2
 Pipeline 0.2 0.1 0.5 0.8 1.0 1.4 830.1 56.2
 Rail 31 34 37 43 46 47 52.5 8.8
 Road 163 184 196 219 230 234 43.8 7.5
 Water transport 27 32 40 49 49 61 126.7 17.8
Total: percent change from previous year, 2003-2008 1.4 13.2 8.9 14.5 4.5 5.8 - -

NOTE: Individual modes do not sum to total trade figures because the total excludes freight moved by other modes such as aircraft from manufacturer to customers, pedestrians carrying freight, and miscellaneous.

NOTE: Due to the rounding of certain numbers tabulated, sum totals of U.S.-Canada and U.S.-Mexico trade vary slightly.

SOURCE: North American Transportation Statistics Online Database, available at http://nats.sct.gob.mx/nats, November 2009.

Table 3 - Top 10 U.S. Gateways Trading with Canada and Mexico by Road

Ranked by 2008 Road Trade Value

(millions of dollars)

Excel | CSV

Rank Gateway 2008
1 Detroit, MI 101,188
2 Laredo, TX 89,547
3 Buffalo-Niagara Falls, NY 58,958
4 Port Huron, MI 44,390
5 El Paso, TX 42,199
6 Otay Mesa, CA 31,724
7 Hidalgo-Pharr, TX 21,857
8 Champlain-Rouses Point, NY 19,119
9 Pembina, ND 16,003
10 Blaine, WA 15,239

SOURCE: North American Transportation Statistics Online Database, available at http://nats.sct.gob.mx/nats, November 2009.