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North American Transportation Statistics: Almost 93 Million Personal Vehicles Entered the United States in 2010

North American Transportation Statistics: Almost 93 Million Personal Vehicles Entered the United States in 2010

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BTS 58-11
Dave Smallen
202-366-5568

Thursday, November 17, 2011 - Almost 93 million personal vehicles entered the United States in 2010, 28.9 million from Canada and 64.0 million from Mexico, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics' (BTS). Additionally, 10.2 million trucks, 334,818 buses, and 33,790 trains entered the United States in 2010 (Table 1).

BTS, a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, released the data as part of the seventh annual update of the North American Transportation Statistics (NATS) online database. A product of the North American Transportation Statistics Interchange established in 1991, the NATS online database provides three-country comparative information on transportation activity and its impact. The database covers the following subject areas: demographics, transportation, the economy, transportation safety, transportation's impact on energy and the environment, domestic and international freight activity, domestic and international passenger travel, transportation infrastructure, and vehicles.

The NATS online database includes data on U.S. trade and transportation with Canada and Mexico. In 2010, goods valued at more than $918 billion crossed the U.S. border in trade with Canada and Mexico, 24.9 percent more than in 2009. Although the value of trade in 2010 was lower than the value of trade in 2008, it was higher than the value of trade in 2007 (Table 2).

This seventh annual update of the NATS online database contains the most comparable transportation-related data available from the United States, Canada, and Mexico in a one-stop online resource. The NATS online 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 economic recovery from the recent global economic downturn has shown different effects on freight shipment between the United States, Canada and Mexico. The total trade between the United States and decrease 17 percent in 2009 from 2008, but recovered quickly in 2010 to reach its highest level ($393 billion) since 2005. Total trade between the United States and Canada decreased 28 percent from 2008 to 2009. Although total trade value increased 22 percent in 2010, the value of trade freight shipment ($525 billion) between the two countries in 2010 was still below its recent peak ($596 billion) reached in 2008 (Table 2).

Data in the NATS online database show the importance of the various modes of transportation involved in the movement of goods between Canada, Mexico and the United States. Road carried 61 percent of the total freight valued at $557 billion in 2010. Rail carried 14 percent, followed by maritime with 9 percent, pipeline with 7 percent, and air with 5 percent. Among all modes, road had the largest increase in shipment value, $102 billion, from 2009 to 2010. The value of freight shipment for both road and air modes reached their highest level since 2005 (NATS online database, Table 6-1c).

Data in the NATS online database also show America's top gateways for trade with Canada and Mexico. In 2010, Laredo, TX was the top road gateway with $99.0 billion in international road shipments passing through that gateway (Table 3).

Three new maritime indicators on the number of water ports and facilities and top handling ports by tonnage and TEUs for each country were added to the NATS online database this year. These new indicators were developed in response to the need for harmonized data to support maritime transportation decision-making at national and trilateral levels.

With text available in English, French, and Spanish, the NATS online database can be found at http://nats.sct.gob.mx/. Additionally, the NATS incorporates technical and methodological footnotes to provide users with interpretation and analysis.

Table 1 - 2010 Vehicle Crossings into the United States

Excel | CSV

  From Canada From Mexico Total
Personal Vehicle 28,884,267 64,044,852 92,929,119
Truck 5,444,405 4,742,925 10,187,330
Bus 116,064 218,754 334,818
Train 26,123 7,667 33,790

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/, Nov. 17, 2011.

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

(billions of current dollars)

Excel | CSV

  2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Percent change, `05 - `10 Average Annual growth rate (%) '05 - `10
Total trade with Canada and Mexico 790 866 909 964 735 918 16.2 3.0
 Air 33 36 38 41 39 45 36.4 6.4
 Pipeline 52 57 59 88 49 63 21.2 3.9
 Rail 116 129 138 140 96 131 12.9 2.5
 Road 491 534 555 554 455 557 13.4 2.1
 Water transport 58 70 74 93 59 81 39.7 6.9
Total: percent change from previous year 2005-2010 10.9 9.6 5.0 6.1 -23.8 24.9 - -
 Total trade with Canada 499 534 562 596 430 525 5.2 1.0
 Air 23 24 26 28 24 27 17.4 3.3
 Pipeline 51 56 58 86 48 61 19.6 3.6
 Rail 80 86 91 93 61 83 3.8 0.7
 Road 295 314 325 320 248 297 0.7 0.1
 Water transport 18 21 25 32 20 27 50.0 8.4
Total: percent change from previous year 2005-2010 12.1 7.0 5.2 6.0 -27.9 22.1 - -
Total trade with Mexico 290 332 347 367 306 393 35.5 6.3
 Air 10 11 12 13 15 18 80.0 12.5
 Pipeline 0.5 0.8 1.0 1.4 0.9 2.2 340.0 34.5
 Rail 37 43 46 47 35 48 29.7 5.3
 Road 196 219 230 234 207 260 32.7 5.8
Water transport 40 49 49 61 40 54 35.0 6.2
Total: percent change from previous year, 2005-2010 9.0 14.5 4.5 5.8 -16.6 28.4 - -

NOTE: Individual modes do not sum to total trade figures because the total includes 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/, Nov. 17, 2011.

Table 3 - Top 10 U.S. Gateways Trading with Canada and Mexico by Truck Ranked by 2010 Road Trade Value

(millions of dollars)

Excel | CSV

Rank Gateway 2010
1 Laredo, TX 98,976
2 Detroit, MI 91,657
3 Buffalo-Niagara Falls, NY 56,197
4 El Paso, TX 48,189
5 Port Huron, MI 42,730
6 Otay Mesa, CA 30,746
7 Hidalgo, TX 22,054
8 Champlain-Rouses Point, NY 18,416
9 Pembina, ND 14,332
10 Blaine, WA 13,933

SOURCE: North American Transportation Statistics Online Database, available at http://nats.sct.gob.mx/, Nov. 17, 2011.