Chapter 2 - Transportation Indicators

Chapter 2 - Transportation Indicators

Section 1: Productivity in the Transportation Sector

Labor Productivity in Transportation

Labor productivity (output per hour) in the for-hire transportation services and petroleum pipeline industries increased by 16 percent from 1991 to 2001. This compares with an increase of 44 percent for all manufacturing and 23 percent for the overall business sector (figure 1-1). Labor productivity, a common and basic productivity measure, is calculated as the ratio of output to hours worked or to the number of full-time employees.

The growth of individual transportation subsector labor productivity between 1991 and 2001 varied1 (figure 1-2). Compared with the overall business sector, rail labor productivity increased at a considerably higher rate (64 percent). Meanwhile, labor productivity in air transportation increased 18 percent and long-distance trucking productivity grew 12 percent.

Comparing annual growth rates is another way to interpret changes of labor productivity over time. For overall business, labor productivity grew at an average annual rate of 2.1 percent between 1991 and 2001. Labor productivity in rail transportation—where productivity has been affected by consolidation of companies, more efficient use of equipment and lines, increased ton-miles (output), and labor force reductions—increased by 5.0 percent annually. For long-distance trucking and air transportation, average annual rates of growth were 1.1 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively.

1 At the time this report was prepared, data were only available for 1991 through 2000 for local trucking, petroleum pipeline, and bus carriers. See detailed notes on tables 1-1 and 1-2 for further information.

Multifactor Productivity

Multifactor productivity (MFP) in air transportation increased by 16 percent between 1991 and 2001 (an average annual rate of 1.5 percent), while in the overall private business sector, MFP increased by 10 percent (just under 1 percent annually) (figure 1-3). Thus, the air transportation industry has contributed positively to increases in MFP in the business sector and to the U.S. economy over this period. Data are not available for the same period for rail transportation, but between 1991 and 1999, MFP in this industry increased by 26 percent (an average annual rate of 3 percent).

While MFP measures are difficult to construct, they provide a much more comprehensive view of productivity than labor productivity measures. The conventional methodology for calculating multifactor productivity, which is used here, employs growth rates of inputs weighted by their share in total costs. This methodology has been developed and used by various academic researchers and government agencies, such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics.1

Transportation MFP data are currently available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the rail and air transportation sectors only. The Bureau of Transportation Statistics is developing MFP measures for other transportation industries, such as trucking, pipelines, and so on. The objective is to provide information on the relative importance of changes in the inputs and on the productivity of the inputs relative to changes in transportation output. This research should also provide information on the relative importance of transportation in increasing the productivity of the U.S. economy and, hence, transportation’s contribution to the economic growth of the country.

1 See, for instance, discussion on MFP by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the BLS Handbook of Methods, available at http://www.bls.gov/opub/hom/homch11_a.htm, as of May 2004.

Section 2: Traffic Flows

Passenger-Miles of Travel

Estimated U.S. passenger-miles of travel (pmt) increased 24 percent between 1991 and 2001. Pmt totaled an estimated 4.8 trillion in 2001,1 averaging about 17,000 miles for every man, woman, and child (box 2-A) [2, 3].

Just over 85 percent of pmt in 2001 was in personal vehicles (passenger cars and light trucks, including sport utility vehicles, pickups, and minivans) (figure 2-1). Most of the balance (11 percent) occurred by air. Passenger travel in light trucks accounted for a little under one-third of all pmt. Transit, excluding bus, made up less than 1 percent of pmt in 2001.

Travel increased between 1991 and 2001 at an annual average rate of 2.2 percent [3]. Pmt by light trucks grew at 2.9 percent per year on average, while passenger car pmt rose 1.6 percent (figure 2-2). Although air pmt grew the fastest at an average of 3.7 percent per year over the entire period, it declined 5.5 percent between 2000 and 2001 reflecting the impacts of the terrorist attacks in 2001 and the ongoing economic downturn. Pmt by intercity train (Amtrak) declined, although there has been modest growth since 1996. Likewise, transit pmt has grown since the mid-1990s.

Passenger travel increased between 1991 and 2001 for a variety of reasons. The U.S. resident population grew by 32.3 million over this period [2]. Moreover, the economy also grew significantly. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased 39 percent2 and GDP per capita grew 23 percent between 1991 and 2001 (figure 2-3) [1].

Sources

1. U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, National Income and Product Accounts, summary GDP table, available at http://www.bea.doc/bea/dn1.htm, as of January 2004.

2. U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Census Bureau, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2002 (Washington, DC: 2003), for population data.

3. U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, National Transportation Statistics 2002, table 1-34 revised, available at http://www.bts.gov/ as of October 2003.

1 This calculation excludes travel in heavy trucks, by bicycle, by walking, and by boat (including recreational boat). Pmt in heavy trucks is excluded because such travel is assumed to be incidental to the hauling of freight, the main purpose of this travel. Bicycle, pedestrian, and boat travel are excluded because national estimates are not available on an annual basis.

2 Calculation is based on chained 2000 dollars.

Daily Travel by Walking and Bicycling

Walking and bicycling are minor components of passenger travel in terms of total miles traveled or trips taken. According to the 2001 National Household Travel Survey (NHTS), walking accounted for 0.7 percent of person-miles of daily1 (mostly local) travel (26.2 billion miles), and bicycling accounted for 0.2 percent (6.2 billion miles) in 2001. By trips, walking accounted for 9 percent (35.3 billion trips) and bicycling, 1 percent (3.5 billion trips) of daily trips [1] (figure 2-4).

However, the shares of walking and bicycling vary by distance traveled. Of all trips under a mile, for instance, one-quarter are taken on foot and another 2 percent are made by bicycle (figure 2-5). These shares drop off sharply as trip distance increases.

Trip purpose is another element of a person’s decision whether or not to walk or use a bicycle. Trips to visit friends and relatives and for other social and recreational purposes (e.g., to go to the gym, attend a movie, go to a bar, visit a park, or visit a library) are often made on foot, especially shorter trips (figure 2-6). For instance, 39 percent to 43 percent of these trips of a mile or less are accomplished by walking. However, people are much less likely to walk a mile or less to see a doctor or dentist (7 percent) or to shop (13 percent). The share of walking trips dips below its overall share (9 percent) at about 3 miles. Bicycling as a share of all trips by distance and purpose shows the same overall tendency as does walking, although its share of trips for social and recreational purposes between 3.1 miles and 4.0 miles in length is twice (2 percent) its share of all trips.[1].

Source

1. U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Federal Highway Administration, 2001 National Household Travel Survey, January 2004 dataset, available at http://www.nhts.ornl.gov/2001/index.shtml, as of June 2004.

1 See Section 5, “Variables Influencing Traveling Behavior” for a discussion about the definition of daily travel.

Domestic Freight Ton-Miles

All modes of freight transportation, combined, generated 4.3 trillion domestic ton-miles in 2001, 20 percent more than in 1991 (box 2-B). This represents an average growth rate of 1.8 percent per year during the period.

Domestic ton-miles for all modes, except water, grew during most of this period (figure 2-7). On an annual average basis, rail grew the fastest (4.4 percent), closely followed by air (3.8 percent) and truck (3.4 percent). Rail and truck accounted for the majority of domestic ton-miles at 37 percent and 29 percent, respectively, in 2001 (figure 2-8). Truck data, however, do not include retail and government shipments and some imports and, therefore, understate total truck traffic.

Water transportation and oil and gas pipelines1 accounted for 14 and 19 percent of domestic ton-miles, respectively, in 2001. Although domestic waterborne ton-miles decreased 27 percent between 1991 and 2001, waterborne vessels continued to play a prominent role in international trade [1]. U.S. waterborne imports and exports, valued at $719 million, totaled 1.2 billion metric tons in 2001 [3]. Oil and gas pipeline combined ton-miles grew 10 percent between 1991 and 1996, were stagnant in 1997, and then declined 7 percent through 2001.

Air freight declined between 2000 and 2001, from 15 billion ton-miles to 13 billion ton-miles. In addition to the impact of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and the economic downturn, some of the decline in air freight may be attributed to restrictions placed on the air transport of U.S. mail packages as a security precaution in late 2001. In general, air freight tends to transport high-value, relatively low-weight goods. Thus, on a ton-miles basis, air freight accounted for less than 1 percent of domestic freight in 2002, whereas on a value basis, this mode accounted for 7 percent of domestic freight [2].

Sources

1. U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, U.S. International Trade and Freight Transportation Trends (Washington, DC: 2003).

2. U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics and U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Census Bureau, 2002 Economic Census, Transportation, 2002 Commodity Flow Survey (Washington, DC: 2003), preliminary data.

3. U.S. Department of Transportation, Maritime Administration, Office of Statistical and Economic Analysis, U.S. Foreign Waterborne Transportation Statistics, available at http://www.marad.dot.gov/statistics/usfwts/index.html, as of October 2003.

1 Pipeline ton-miles data in the previous October 2003 edition of Transportation Statistics Annual Report only included oil pipelines.

Commercial Freight Activity

The nation’s freight transportation system, all modes combined, carried 15.8 billion tons of raw materials and finished goods in 2002, up 18 percent from 13.4 billion tons in 1993 (figure 2-9). The 2002 freight activity also represented 4,506 billion ton-miles at a value of $10,460 billion (in chained 2000 dollars1). Ton-miles have grown 24 percent since 1993, while value rose 45 percent (figure 2-10 and figure 2-11).

Trucking moved the majority of freight by tonnage and by shipment value in 2002: 9.2 billon tons (58 percent of the total tonnage) and $6,660 billion (64 percent of the total value). Multimodal shipments—a combination of more than one mode—were second by value at 11 percent ($1,111 billion), while waterborne carried 15 percent by weight (2.3 billion tons). Trucking and rail were responsible for 32 and 28 percent, respectively, of the total ton-miles [1].

These total commercial freight data were calculated by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, based on the Commodity Flow Survey (CFS) conducted in 1993, 1997, and 2002 and estimates of activity not covered by CFS (box 2-C). While these total estimates provide the most complete commercial freight picture for all modes of transportation, they exclude most shipments by the retail sector and governments (e.g., goods for defense operations and the collection of municipal solid waste). The estimate also excludes shipments by nongoods producing sectors (e.g., services, construction, household goods movers, and transportation service providers).

Source

1. U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics and U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Census Bureau, 2002 Economic Census, Transportation, 2002 Commodity Flow Survey (Washington, DC: 2003).

1 All dollar amounts are expressed in chained 2000 dollars, unless otherwise specified. Current dollar amounts were adjusted to eliminate the effects of inflation over time.

Geography of Domestic Freight Flows

The U.S. transportation system carried 18 percent more tons of freight in 2002 than in 1993 [2]. This growth was unevenly distributed in terms of geography and by mode, in part because of the differing characteristics of truck, waterborne, and rail modes and the infrastructure on which each relies.

At more than 120 million tons, waterborne freight flows in 19981 were heaviest along the Mississippi River, while between 70 million and 120 million tons flowed along the Ohio and Illinois Rivers and within the Great Lakes (figure 2-12). Lesser amounts were transported north and south along various rivers connected by the Tennessee Tombigbee Waterway.

Some of the heaviest truck flows in 1998 (those greater than 120 million tons) occurred along routes in California and Texas; around Atlanta, Georgia; and within the central and northeastern areas of the country (figure 2-13).

Main rail routes carried more than 20 million tons of freight in 1999 throughout the United States (figure 2-14).

Intermodal flows, in which a combination of modes are used to transport freight, are becoming increasingly important. In the regional Lake Michigan area, for instance, maritime and trucking provide intermodal services not only at lake ports but inland as well (figure 2-15).

These mapped data were generated by GeoFreight [1]. This analysis tool was developed in 2003 by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the Federal Highway Administration, and the Office of Intermodalism of the U.S. Department of Transportation to help freight policymakers and planners identify flows of domestic and international freight across the country and assess major freight bottlenecks in the transportation system. Geographic displays produced using GeoFreight enable comparisons of infrastructure impacts by mode at national, regional, and local levels.

Sources

1. U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Federal Highway Administration, and Office of Intermodalism (Office of the Secretary), GeoFreight, CD (Washington, DC: 2003).

2. U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics and U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Census Bureau, 2002 Economic Census, Transportation, 2002 Commodity Flow Survey (Washington, DC: 2003), preliminary data.

1 The most recent data available when this report was prepared was 1998 for trucking and waterborne and 1999 for rail.

Passenger and Freight Vehicle-Miles of Travel

Annual highway vehicle-miles of travel (vmt) amounted to 2,856 billion in 2002, rising by 27 percent since 1992, an average annual increase of 2.4 percent. Vmt per capita rose by 13 percent during the same period, an average annual increase of 1.2 percent [1].

In recent years, the makeup and use of the highway vehicle fleet in the United States has changed, altering the share of vmt by vehicle type (figure 2-16). With the increasing popularity of sport utility percent) between 1992 and 2002. However, during the same period, freight vehicle vmt (single-unit and combination trucks) grew 40 percent, outpacing total passenger vehicle vmt growth (26 percent). Nevertheless, in 2002, passenger vehicles accounted for more than 90 percent of highway vmt.

Vehicle travel1 has also generally increased in other modes of transportation including rail, air, and rail transit. Vehicle-miles by rail (measured in train-miles and excluding transit rail) grew 27 percent between 1992 and 2002, an average annual increase of 2.4 percent. Freight train-miles made up over 90 percent of all rail vehicle travel in 2002. This share increased slightly between 1992 and 2002 as freight rail vehicle movements outpaced those of passenger rail over the period (figure 2-17).

Domestic service air carrier aircraft vmt increased by 41 percent between 1992 and 2002, an average annual increase of 3.5 percent. Air carrier aircraft vmt peaked in 2000 at 5,664 million, falling back to 5,550 million in 2001, mainly because of the terrorist attacks that year. Aircraft vmt increased again in 2002 reaching 5,612 million [2].

The biggest change in rail transit between 1992 and 2002 was a doubling of light rail vmt as existing systems were expanded and new systems were built (e.g., in Baltimore, Dallas, Denver, St. Louis, and Salt Lake City). The average annual increase over this period was 7.7 percent (figure 2-18). Commuter rail vehicle-miles were up 30 percent over this period and heavy rail miles, 18 percent. This is an average annual increase of 2.6 percent for commuter rail and 1.7 percent for heavy rail.

Sources

1. U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Census Bureau, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2003 (Washington, DC: 2003), table 2 (resident population), also available at http://www.census.gov/statab/www, as of April 2004.

2. U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Air Carrier Traffic Statistics (Washington, DC: Annual December issues).

1 A vehicle-mile of travel (1 vehicle traveling 1 mile) is a concept that is more easily applied to highway vehicles than to other modes of transportation. For instance, rail can be measured in car-miles (1 car, 1 mile) or in train-miles, which includes any number of cars but may be more comparable to highway vmt. For air transportation, vmt is synonymous with an aircraft-mile of travel (1 aircraft, 1 mile).

Section 3: Travel Times

Urban Highway Travel Times

Highway travel times increased between 1991 and 2001 in 72 of the 75 urban areas studied by the Texas Transportation Institute. The average Travel Time Index (TTI) for these areas in 2001 was 1.39, an increase from 1.29 in 1991 [2]. This means that in 2001 it took 39 percent longer, on average, to make a peak period trip in urban areas compared with the time it would take if traffic flowed freely (box 3-A).

Travel times tend to deteriorate as urban area size increases (figure 3-1). For instance, Los Angeles, California, had the highest TTI (1.83) in 2001, while Anchorage, Alaska, and Corpus Christi, Texas, had the lowest (each 1.05). Of the 30 urban areas with the highest index in 2001, only three had a population under 1 million: Austin, Texas (1.31); and Tacoma, Washington, and Charlotte, North Carolina (1.27 each). At the other end of the spectrum, urban areas of over 1 million people with low indexes include Buffalo-Niagara Falls, New York (1.08) and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (1.10 each).

Between 1991 and 2001, the greatest increases in TTI generally occurred in large urban areas, while the increases were more moderate in the very large, medium, and small areas1 (figure 3-2). Overall, the average index for large urban areas increased by 11.9 percent, while that for medium urban areas was up by 8.2 percent. In small and very large areas, the increases were 4.7 percent and 7.0 percent, respectively.

In urban areas, where highway infrastructure is typically well developed, the principal factor affecting travel times is highway congestion resulting from recurring and nonrecurring events. Recurring delay is largely a phenomenon of the morning and evening commutes, although in some places congestion may occur all day and on weekends. National estimates, based on model simulations, of the effect of nonrecurring events on freeways and principal arterials suggest that about 38 percent are due to crashes, followed by weather (27 percent), freeway work zones (24 percent), and breakdowns (11 percent) [1].

Sources

1. Chin, S.M., O. Franzese, D.L. Greene, H.L. Hwang, and R. Gibson, “Temporary Losses of Highway Capacity and Impacts on Performance,” Oak Ridge National Laboratory, 2002.

2. Texas A&M University, Texas Transportation Institute, 2003 Urban Mobility Report (College Station, TX: 2003).

1 Very large urban areas have a population over 3 million; large urban areas, 1 million to 3 million population; medium urban areas, 500,000 to 1 million; and small urban areas, less than 500,000.

U.S. Air Carrier On-Time Performance

Almost 82 percent of domestic air carrier scheduled flights arrived on time in 2003, compared with 79 percent in 1995. Late flight arrivals totaled 16 percent in 2003, down from 20 percent in 1995 (figure 3-3). Overall, between 1995 and 2003, late, canceled, and diverted flights peaked at 1.6 million in 2000 and declined to their lowest number (941,448) in 2002 before rising to 1.2 million in 2003 [1].

The total number of scheduled nonstop domestic passenger flights at the nation’s airports rose 12 percent between 1995 and 2001 from 5.3 million to 6.0 million flights. After the shutdown of flight operations on September 11, 2001, the number of scheduled flights decreased 12 percent between 2001 and 2002 to 5.3 million flights. They then rose 23 percent to 6.5 million flights in 2003.

Air carriers with at least 1 percent of total domestic scheduled service passenger revenues have been required to report ontime performance data to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) since 1987. As of mid-2003, the airlines began reporting data on the cause of delays, as well.1 A flight has an “on-time departure” if the aircraft leaves the airport gate less than 15 minutes after its scheduled departure time, regardless of the time the aircraft actually lifts off from the runway. An arriving flight is counted as ontime if it arrives less than 15 minutes after its scheduled gate arrival time.

On average, 37 percent of delays occur because of circumstances within an airline’s control, such as maintenance or crew problems, while 40 percent are caused by a previous flight arriving late (figure 3-4). According to these monthly data, security delays have had the least impact on airline schedules, and extreme weather is the cause of an average of 7 percent of delays. However, the number of weather-related delays was highest in August 2003 (5,887) and January 2004 (7,907) and lowest in October 2003 (1,667). Monthly delays ranged from 8 percent to 15 percent of all scheduled flights between July 2003 and January 2004.

Source

1. U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Airline Service Quality Performance data, March 2004.

1 See table 3-3a and table 3-3b, and table 3-4 in appendix B for details on reporting carriers and detailed information on cause-of-delay categories.

Air Travel Time Index Research

Air travel times and the reliability of expected travel times are important determinants of customers’ satisfaction, air system operating efficiency, and policymakers’ success in meeting performance objectives. A major reason consumers choose to travel by air is that it is often the fastest way to travel longer distances.

According to research the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) is conducting to improve the measurement of air travel time and reliability, the average actual travel time of nonstop flights in the United States rose by an average of 0.5 percent per year between 1990 and 2000 and then fell by 2.7 percent per year between 2000 and 2002 (figure 3-5). In comparison, the average scheduled travel time for nonstop flights in the United States rose by 0.2 percent per year between 1990 and 2000 and remained the same between 2000 and 2002. As a result, the gap between actual air travel time and scheduled travel time of nonstop flights widened from 8 minutes in 1990 to a maximum of 11 minutes in 2000 and then narrowed to 4 minutes in 2002 (figure 3-6).

The Travel Time Variability Index, which measures the deviation in actual travel time, rose by 4 percent per year between 1990 and 2000 and then fell by 12 percent per year between 2000 and 2002 (figure 3-7). Thus, actual travel time for a typical flight became more uncertain and took longer, on average, between 1990 and 2000. However, starting in 2001, both actual travel time and travel time variability improved as the number of flight operations declined.

This new BTS research, which is based on Airline Service Quality Performance data collected from airlines (box 3-B), enables analysis of changes in air travel time nationally, as well as by airport, carrier, and time of day, and for flight distance. For instance, from 1990 to 2002, most improvements1 occurred in flights departing in the evening offpeak (after 9:00 p.m.). The least improved were flights departing in the evening peak (between 3:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.). Grouped by distance, flights of more than 750 miles experienced improvement in travel time, while flights of 750 miles or less were approximately unchanged [1].

Source

1. U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, calculations based on Airline Service Quality Performance data, as of February 2004.

1 Improvement occurs when the actual travel time decreases.

Amtrak On-Time Performance

Seventy-four percent of Amtrak trains arrived at their final destination on time in 2003 [2]. This was below the system’s performance peak of 79 percent in 1998 and 1999 (figure 3-8). Amtrak counts a train as delayed if it arrives at least 10 to 30 minutes beyond the scheduled arrival time, depending on the distance the train has traveled.1 In addition, Amtrak on-time data are based on a train’s arrival at its final destination and do not include delay statistics for intermediate points.2

Over the years, short-distance Amtrak trains—those with runs of less than 400 miles (and including all Northeast Corridor and Empire State Service trains)—have consistently registered better on-time performance than long-distance trains—those with runs of 400 miles or more. Annual on-time performance for short-distance trains reached a high of 82 percent in 2000 but fell to 77 percent in 2003. Fifty-three percent of long-distance trains arrived on time in 2003, up from 52 percent in 2002 but short of their high of 61 percent in 1999.

Amtrak also collects data on the cause and cumulative hours of delay for its trains, including delays at intermediate points, and attributes the cause of each delay to Amtrak, the host railroad, or “other” (figure 3-9). Delays assigned to Amtrak represented 29 percent of all delay hours in 2003. Delays ascribed to host railroads represented 65 percent, and other delays accounted for the remaining 6 percent.3 (Amtrak trains operate over tracks owned primarily by private freight railroads except in most of the Northeast Corridor, along a portion of the Detroit-Chicago route, and in a few other short stretches across the country [1].) Throughout the years, host railroad delays have consistently represented the largest share of delay hours. Between 2000 and 2003, host railroad and other delays increased each year. Amtrak-caused delay hours declined in both 2002 and 2003 but remain greater than they were in 2000.

Sources

1. National Passenger Railroad Corp. (Amtrak), “Amtrak Facts,” available at http://www.amtrak.com/about/amtrakfacts.html, as of November 2003.

2. ______. Personal communication, Oct. 22, 2003.

1 Amtrak trips of up to 250 miles are considered on time if they arrive less than 10 minutes beyond the scheduled arrival time; 251–350 miles, 15 minutes; 351–450 miles, 20 minutes; 451–550 miles, 25 minutes; and greater than 550 miles, 30 minutes.

2 Accordingly, a train traveling between Chicago and St. Louis (282 miles), for example, could arrive 15 minutes late at all intermediate points, yet arrive 12 minutes late at St. Louis and be reported as “on time.”

3 Because of a change in reporting methodology in 2000, earlier cause-of-delay data are not comparable. The Bureau of Transportation Statistics presented Amtrak cause-of-delay data for 1990 through 1999 in its Transportation Statistics Annual Report (October 2003).

Survey Data on Congestion Delays

More than two of five adults in the United States reported in 2002 that traffic congestion was a problem in their community (figure 3-10). These data are results from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics Omnibus Household Survey, conducted in January, May, and September 2002. The survey responses indicated that concern about congestion was higher among adults in metropolitan statistical areas1 (MSAs) than among the general adult population or among adult residents of non-MSAs.

Four times between December 2001 and February 2003, the Omnibus Household Survey queried participants to find out whether they experienced any significant delays while traveling (in the previous month). On average, significant delays were reported by 28 percent of air travelers, 19 percent of public transit users, and 18 percent of personal vehicle users (figure 3-11). In the survey, significant delays were designed to be the respondent’s perception, given the differences in commutes across the country.

According to surveys conducted over four months in 2003, 81 percent of commuters used only their personal vehicle to complete their commute and most personal vehicle users (86 percent) drove alone [1]. Since 2001, many Omnibus surveys have asked people who commute to work how much time it takes to travel door-to-door, one way. On average, these commutes took 25 minutes in 2001, 26 minutes in 2002, and 27 minutes in 2003 (figure 3-12). In 2003, commuting was longer than 30 minutes for 23 percent of workers [1].

Source

1. U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, OmniStats 3(4), October 2003.

1 MSAs are generally urban. They are defined by the White House Office of Management and Budget at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/bulletins/95-04.html, as of May 2004.

Section 4: Vehicle Weights

Highway Trucks by Weight

The United States truck fleet grew 23 percent between 1992 and 1997, according to the Vehicle Inventory and Use Survey (VIUS) conducted once every five years1 [1, 2]. The fleet includes a variety of vehicles, ranging from large 18-wheel combination trucks used to transport freight to small pickup trucks, often used for personal travel.

The fleet of medium and heavy trucks grew 18 percent between 1992 and 1997 (figure 4-1). However, the number of trucks in one of the heaviest subcategories (those weighing 100,001 to 130,000 pounds) grew 46 percent, from 12,300 trucks to 17,900. Overall, the number of trucks in the heavy category (over 26,000 pounds) grew 37 percent between 1992 and 1997.

Light trucks, which include sport utility vehicles (SUVs), minivans, vans, and pickup trucks, represented 85 percent of the truck fleet in 1997.2 Within the light truck category, pickup trucks outnumbered minivans and SUVs. However, the number of SUVs and minivans increased by 93 percent and 61 percent, respectively, over the previous five years—much faster than the growth rate for pickup trucks (8 percent). Light trucks represent a growing proportion of auto industry sales; consumers purchased more light trucks than passenger cars for the first time in 2001 [3].

Sources

1. U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Census Bureau, 1997 Economic Census: Vehicle Inventory and Use Survey: United States, EC97TV-US (Washington, DC: 1999).

2. U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, National Transportation Statistics 2002 (Washington, DC: 2002), table 1-21, also available at http://www.bts.gov/, as of April 2003.

3. U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, Highway Statistics 2001 (Washington, DC: 2002), table MV-9, also available at http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policy/ohpi/hss/index.htm, as of April 2003.

1 National summary data for the 2002 VIUS is expected to be issued in fall 2004.

2 Here, light trucks include trucks less than 6,001 lbs. In the original source of the data (the Vehicle Inventory and Use Survey), trucks between 6,001 lbs and 10,000 lbs are also categorized as light trucks. See figure 18 for further explanation.

Vehicle Loadings on the Interstate Highway System

Large combination trucks1 represent a small portion of traffic on the U.S. Interstate Highway System [1]. Because they are heavier, they may cause more pavement damage, a measurement that is estimated in terms of vehicle loadings (box 4-A). In urban areas, these trucks made up only 6 percent of traffic volume, but accounted for 77 percent of loadings in 2002 (figure 4-2). These trucks also make up a greater portion of the vehicles on rural segments of the Interstate Highway System, representing 18 percent of traffic volume and 89 percent of loadings in 2002 (figure 4-3).

Between 1992 and 2002, large combination truck traffic volume grew from 16 percent to 18 percent on rural roads, while declining from 7 percent to 6 percent on urban Interstate highways. Concurrently, their share of loadings decreased on both rural and urban Interstate highways. Passenger cars, buses, and light trucks, which the Federal Highway Administration aggregates into one category, followed a different trend—representing an unchanged percentage of traffic volume but a growing portion (from 1 percent to 3 percent) of loadings in urban areas [1].

Source

1. U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, Highway Statistics 2002, table TC-3, available at http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policy/ohim/hs02/pdf/tc3.pdf, as of February 2004.

1 Large combination trucks weigh more than 12 tons and have 5 or more axles.

Merchant Marine Vessel Capacity

Merchandise trade valued at over $729 billion moved by maritime vessels between U.S. and foreign seaports in 2002 [2]. Container shipments increased 86 percent between 1992 and 20021 [3].

The average capacity of containerships calling at U.S. ports increased 16 percent to 42,158 deadweight tons (dwt)2 per call between 19983 and 2002 (figure 4-4). The world’s largest containerships, built primarily during the late 1990s and early 2000s, are over 3 football fields long (1,138 ft), 140 feet wide, and 50 feet deep [1].

Containership capacity increased faster than any other type of vessel calling at U.S. ports between 1998 and 2002. The average capacity of tankers, which dock at specialized ports, grew the least (1 percent) between 1998 and 2002 but represent the largest average capacity vessel (69,412 dwt per call). The average vessel capacity of all ships grew 5 percent between 1998 and 2002 to 47,625 dwt per call.

Sources

1. Maersk-Sealand, Vessels web page, available at http://www.maersksealand.com/, as of April 2003.

2. U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, calculations based on U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, U.S. Imports of Merchandise Trade CD (Washington, DC: 2003).

3. U.S. Department of Transportation, Maritime Administration, personal communication, March 2004.

1 Percentage change was calculated in terms of 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs).

2 Deadweight tons refers to the lifting capacity of a vessel expressed in long tons (2,240 lbs), including cargo, commodities, and crew.

3 1998 is the first year for which data are available.

Railcar Weights

The amount of freight carried by railroads between 1992 and 2002 increased 26 percent (in tons) and 32 percent (by carload) on railcars (figure 4-5). However, on average, the weight of each railcar remained fairly constant. The average weight of a loaded railcar ranged from 62 to 67 tons during the same period (figure 4-6).

The relatively steady average weight of a loaded railcar masks countervailing trends among selected freight commodities. The average weight of a carload of coal, which represented 44 percent of rail freight tonnage in 2002, was 111 tons, up from 99 tons in 1992 (figure 4-7). Farm products, food and kindred products, nonmetallic minerals, and chemicals and allied products, which together represented 30 percent of tonnage in 2002, were also shipped in heavier average carloads in 2002 than in 1992 [1, 2].

Miscellaneous mixed shipments is the only category of goods that was transported in lighter average carloads. Miscellaneous mixed shipments are primarily intermodal freight composed of shipping containers on flatbed railcars. The containers, which are primarily used to move manufactured goods that tend to be lighter and more valuable than raw materials, may be partly transported by waterborne vessel and truck, as well. Miscellaneous mixed shipments increased by 55 percent in terms of tonnage and by 79 percent in terms of carloads between 1992 and 2002, resulting in carloads that were 14 percent lighter in 2002 [1, 2].

Sources

1. Association of American Railroads, Railroad Facts 2003 (Washington, DC: 2003).

2. U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, calculations based on Association of American Railroads, Railroad Ten-Year Trends, 1990–1999 (Washington, DC: 2000).

Section 5: Variables Influencing Traveling Behavior

Daily Passenger Travel

In their daily nonoccupational travel, people in the United States journeyed about 4 trillion miles in 2001, or 14,500 miles per person per year, according to results from the 2001 National Household Travel Survey (box 5-A). On average, people traveled 40 miles per day, 88 percent of it (35 miles) in a personal vehicle1 such as an automobile (figure 5-1). The total number of vehicle-miles for this passenger travel in 2001 was nearly 2.3 trillion.2

Americans took 411 billion daily trips annually, or an average of 1,500 trips per person per year. On a daily basis, individuals averaged about four trips per day [1] (figure 5-2).

Source

1. U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics and Federal Highway Administration, 2001 National Household Travel Survey, Preliminary Data Release Version 1 (day trip data only), available at http://nhts.ornl.gov/, as of January 2003.

1 Personal vehicles are cars, vans, sport utility vehicles, pickup trucks, other trucks, recreational vehicles (not including watercraft), and motorcycles.

2 For more extensive daily (mostly local) travel data and analysis, see section 5 (pages 50–57) of the Transportation Statistics Annual Report, October 2003.

Long-Distance Passenger Travel

People in the United States made, on average, nine long-distance trips per person in 2001. This amounted to a total of 2.6 billion trips covering 1.4 trillion miles. The distance traveled on these trips in 2001 was about 4,900 miles per person [1].

Long-distance trips are trips of 50 miles or more from home to the farthest destination traveled. The data come from the 2001 National Household Travel Survey (box 5-B) and were collected between March 2001 and May 2002. U.S. residents made 89 percent of their long-distance trips in 2001 by personal vehicle, such as cars, vans, and motorcycles1 (figure 5-3). Travel by airplane (7 percent) accounted for most of the other trips. People used buses for 2 percent of long-distance trips and trains for 1 percent. The median length of long-distance airplane trips is much longer than trips on other modes (figure 5-4). Still, people traveled 56 percent of the miles by personal vehicle and 41 percent by air (figure 5-5).

People stayed in their home state for most of their long-distance trips (63 percent). These trips accounted for 28 percent of the miles traveled. International travel made up only 1 percent of long-distance trips but consumed 14 percent of the total miles traveled. Trips within the United States but away from the home state constituted 37 percent of trips and 59 percent of the miles traveled [1].

Source

1. U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics and Federal Highway Administration, 2001 National Household Travel Survey data, CD-ROM, February 2004.

1 Personal vehicles are cars, vans, sport utility vehicles, pickup trucks, other trucks (e.g., dump trucks and trailer trucks), recreational vehicles (not including watercraft), and motorcycles.

Long-Distance Travel by Purpose and Mode

Long-distance trips are those over 50 miles away from home. People in the United States took over half of their long-distance trips (56 percent) in 2001 for pleasure. These include trips to visit friends and relatives and for recreation. Another 16 percent were for business travel and 13 percent for commuting to a regular place of employment. Trips for personal business, such as shopping, medical visits, weddings, and funerals, accounted for another 13 percent of long-distance trips [1] (figure 5-6).

Nearly 90 percent or more of most long-distance trips are made by personal vehicle.1 The only exception is for business, where 328.6 million (79 percent) of trips were made by personal vehicle and 73.6 million (18 percent) were made by air (figure 5-7). Bus was the second choice by people traveling on personal business (18.2 million trips) and the third choice for pleasure (31.8 million trips). For train trips, differences in the shares by purpose cannot be discerned because of the small sample size.

Source

1. U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics and Federal Highway Administration, 2001 National Household Travel Survey data, CD-ROM, February 2004.

1 Personal vehicles are cars, vans, sport utility vehicles, pickup trucks, other trucks (e.g., dump trucks and trailer trucks), recreational vehicles (not including watercraft), and motorcycles.

Long-Distance Travel by Income, Gender, and Age

While, on average, each person in the United States made nine long-distance trips in 2001, sociodemographic variables influence the number of these trips that individuals take. Among these variables are household income, gender, and age.

The number of long-distance trips increases with household income. On average, in 2001, people in households earning $100,000 or more made over twice as many long-distance trips (13 per person) as people in households with incomes of less than $25,000 (6 per person) (figure 5-8).

The vast majority of long-distance trips are made by personal vehicle, one reason lower income households make fewer long-distance trips. Households earning $25,000 or more a year are almost 10 times more likely to have a vehicle compared with households with incomes less than $25,000 [2]. Higher income households are also more likely to travel by airplane. For instance, people in households earning $100,000 or more made 17 percent of their trips by air, while those in households earning less than $25,000 made 3 percent of their trips by this mode. Low-income households (under $25,000) made a slightly higher share of their trips by bus than did households in higher income groups (4 percent versus about 1 to 2 percent). For train travel, because of small sample sizes, differences in the shares of train trips by household income group cannot be discerned.

Men took 57 percent of all the long-distance trips taken in the United States in 2001, making up the predominant share of trips by personal vehicle and air (figure 5-9). However, shares of bus and train trips for females and males are not statistically different.

Age affects the average amount of long-distance travel a person does. People travel the most in their middle years. Between the ages of 25 and 64 they took 11 to 13 long-distance trips per person on average (figure 5-10). This rate drops to 9 trips per person for those between 65 and 74. Children under 5 and adults over 75 travel the least.

Sources

1. U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics and Federal Highway Administration, 2001 National Household Travel Survey data, CD-ROM, February 2004.

2. ____. NHTS: Highlights of the 2001 National Household Travel Survey (Washington, DC: 2003).

Daily Travel by Income, Gender, and Age

In their daily nonoccupational travel, people in the United States journeyed about 4 trillion miles in 2001, or 14,500 miles per person that year. On average, people traveled 40 miles per day on four one-way trips. Daily trips are influenced by a number of interrelated socio-demographic characteristics. Among them are household income, gender, and age [1].

Daily trip making increases slightly with household income. People in households earning $100,000 or more a year averaged 4.6 trips per day, while people in households earning less than $25,000 took 3.5 trips per day (figure 5-11). Because lower income households are less likely to own a personal vehicle, however, they tend to use transit, walk, or bicycle more than do higher income groups1 (figure 5-12). There is a greater gap between lower and higher income households in the distance they travel, on average. People in households earning less than $25,000 traveled 26 miles a day each on average compared with 53 miles by people in households earning $100,000 or more. People in the income groups between these extremes traveled between 38 and 48 miles a day, on average [1].

Men and women, on average, made the same number of trips per day: four. Both men and women made most of their daily trips in personal vehicles; 86 percent and 87 percent, respectively.However, men tend to travel farther than women, 43 miles per day compared with 35 miles a day (figure 5-13). These differences in trip distance are related, to some extent, to trip purpose. Men, on average, make more longer distance work and work-related business trips, while women make more shopping and other family/personal business trips, which tend to be shorter.

Age is another factor affecting how much and by what means people travel on a daily basis. People travel the most in the middle years when income tends to be higher and traveling to work and on work-related business may be necessary. People between the ages of 35 and 44 made the most trips a day, about 4.8 per person on average, compared with 2.8 per person for those 75 and older and 3.2 per person for children under 5 (figure 5-14). Not only do those in the middle years make more trips, again those trips tend to be longer work and work-related trips. As a result, people between 35 and 44 traveled 51 miles, on average, compared with less than 30 miles for the youngest and oldest age groups.

Source

1. U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics and Federal Highway Administration, 2001 National Household Travel Survey data, CD-ROM, February 2004.

1 Other factors, such as household location, may also contribute to this difference.

Travel by Older Adults

Older U.S. residents do not travel as often or as far as do younger people but rely as heavily on personal vehicles,1 according to data collected by the 2001 National Household Travel Survey [1]. Americans aged 65 and older, for instance, took 89 percent of their daily trips2 in personal vehicles while people between the ages of 19 and 64 used personal vehicles 90 percent of the time (figure 5-15). Overall, older adults made 10 percent of the 411 billion daily trips people took in 2001 and 8 percent of the 2.6 billion long-distance trips3 [2].

People aged 65 years and older tend to travel at different times than do those 19 to 64 years old (figure 5-16). Older adults take 55 percent of their daily trips between 10 am and 4 pm. The trips of younger people peak three times a day, between 7 am and 8 am (6 percent of trips), between noon and 1 pm (8 percent), and between 5 pm and 6 pm (8 percent).

Among older men and women, women tend to be less mobile. In their daily travel, they take fewer trips per day (3 trips vs. 4 trips for men), travel shorter distances (10 miles vs. 27 miles),4 and are more likely to report medical conditions that limit their travel (26 percent vs. 20 percent). Fewer women also say they are drivers (72 percent) than do men (90 percent). These gender differences are not necessarily unique to the older population, however. For instance, all women travel 17 miles in their daily travel, while men travel 29 miles, based on mean distances [2].

Older men and women take long-distance trips at about the same rates and show a strong preference for using personal vehicles (figure 5-17). While older men and women take an equal percentage of their trips by air, older women show a stronger preference than men for bus travel.

Sources

1. U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, NHTS: Highlights of the 2001 National Household Travel Survey (Washington, DC: 2003).

2. D.V. Collia, J. Sharp, and L. Giesbrecht, “The 2001 National Household Travel Survey: A Look Into the Travel Patterns of Older Americans,” Journal of Safety Research 34 (2003).

1 Personal vehicles are cars, vans, sport utility vehicles, pickup trucks, other trucks, recreational vehicles (not including watercraft), and motorcycles.

2 Daily trips in the National Household Travel Survey are those taken on a specific day, traveling from one address to another.

3 Long-distance trips are those of 50 miles or more from home to the farthest destination traveled and return.

4 Trips and miles traveled are based on mean number of trips and distance, rather than averages.

Scheduled Intercity Transportation in Rural America

Over 94 percent of the 82 million rural residents1 in the United States lived within a 25-mile radius of an intercity rail station, an intercity bus terminal, or a nonhub or small hub2 airport or within a 75-mile radius of a large or medium hub airport in early 2003. About 30 million rural residents (36 percent) were served by all three modes, while 5 million lived outside this coverage area of any scheduled intercity transportation service.

These data are the result of a January 2003 geographic information system analysis conducted by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) [1]. The results show that most rural residents can access scheduled transportation modes for long-distance intercity trips, based on the distance criteria BTS used.

At the time of the study, intercity bus reached 75 million rural residents (91 percent), and for 15 million residents it was the sole mode providing service within 25 miles (figure 5-18). Scheduled airline service reached 58 million (70 percent) and was the sole mode for 2 million rural residents. Intercity rail (Amtrak and the Alaska Railroad) reached 35 million (42 percent) and was the sole mode for about 300,000 rural residents.

In January 2003, the United States had nearly 4,590 intercity passenger stations, terminals, and airports. Over 75 percent of them were intercity bus terminals, and all but 149 of the stations, terminals, and airports were located within the 48 contiguous states.

Sources

1. U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Scheduled Intercity Transportation and the U.S. Rural Population, available at http://www.bts.gov, as of October 2003.

1 Rural residents are those who live outside of urbanized areas or urban clusters as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau.

2 The term hub is used here within the context of individual airports rather than air traffic hubs, which can include more than one airport.

Section 6: Travel Costs of Intracity Commuting and Intercity Trips

Household Spending on Transportation

On average, households spent $7,825 (in chained 2000 dollars1) on transportation in 2002. This represented 19 percent of all household expenditures that year. Only housing cost households more (33 percent)2 [1].

Over the last 10 years, consumer spending on private transportation (mainly motor vehicles and related expenses) increased (figure 6-1). On average, households spent $3,711 purchasing new and used motor vehicles in 2002, up 47 percent from $2,517 in 1992. Spending on other vehicle expenses, including insurance, financing charges, maintenance, and repairs, also increased from $1,712 to $2,370 (39 percent). Meanwhile, gasoline and oil expenditures rose 8 percent, to $1,366 in 2002. On average, households spent almost $400 on other transportation in 2002, an increase of 6 percent between 1992 and 2002.

Source

1. U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Expenditure Survey, available from http://www.bls.gov/cex/home.htm, as of March 2004.

1 All dollar amounts are expressed in chained 2000 dollars, unless otherwise specified. Current dollar amounts (which are available in appendix B of this report) were adjusted to eliminate the effects of inflation over time.

2 The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) collects these data. In its survey, BLS uses the term consumer units instead of households and public transportation rather than other transportation. There are an average of 2.5 persons in each consumer unit, according to BLS (see the full definition on figure and table 6-1). Public transportation, according to BLS, includes both local transit, such as bus travel, and long-distance travel, such as airplane trips.

Cost of Owning and Operating an Automobile

Driving an automobile 15,000 miles per year cost 51¢ per mile in 2002, or 13 percent more than it did in 1992, when total costs were 45¢ (figure 6-2). These data, which are expressed in 2000 chained dollars,1 include fixed costs (e.g., depreciation, insurance, finance charges, and license fees) and variable costs (e.g., gasoline and oil, maintenance, and tires). Between 1992 and 2002, fixed costs represented an average of 75 percent of total per-mile costs. Gasoline and oil, a component of variable costs, represented 12 percent of driving costs per mile in 2002, down from 15 percent in 1992 [1].

Americans take about 87 percent of their daily trips in highway vehicles, including their own automobiles [2]. For the other 13 percent of trips, people travel via public transportation or air, ride bicycles, walk, or travel by other means.

Sources

1. U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, National Transportation Statistics 2003, table 3-14, available at http://www.bts.gov, as of March 2004.

2. U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics and Federal Highway Administration, Highlights of the 2001 National Household Travel Survey, available at http://www.bts.gov, as of March 2004.

1 All dollar amounts are expressed in chained 2000 dollars, unless otherwise specified. Current dollar amounts (which are available in appendix B of this report) were adjusted to eliminate the effects of inflation over time.

Cost of Intercity Trips by Train and Bus

Amtrak collected an average of 23¢ per revenue passenger-mile in 2002 (in chained 2000 dollars1), up 44 percent from 16¢ per revenue passenger-mile in 1993 (figure 6-3). During the 1990s, Amtrak shifted its focus to urban routes in the northeast and west. When Amtrak reduced its number of route-miles by 3 percent in 1995, revenue per passenger-mile increased by 7 percent the following year. When track operational length was further reduced by 7 percent in 1999, revenue per passenger-mile increased 10 percent the following year [1, 2].

Average intercity Class I bus fares rose 23 percent, from $23 to $28 (in chained 2000 dollars), between 1992 and 2002 (figure 6-4). The average bus fare is based on total intercity passenger revenues and the number of intercity bus passenger trips, as reported by carriers to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Since passenger-mile data are not reported, average bus fare per passenger-mile cannot be calculated and compared with similar Amtrak fare data.

Sources

1. Association of American Railroads, Railroad Facts (Washington, DC: 1994–2003 issues).

2. National Railroad Passenger Corp. (Amtrak), Amtrak 2000 Annual Report, Statistical Appendix (Washington, DC: 2001).

1 All dollar amounts are expressed in chained 2000 dollars, unless otherwise specified. Current dollar amounts (which are available in appendix B of this report) were adjusted to eliminate the effects of inflation over time.

Average Transit Fares

Transit fares remained relatively stable between 1992 and 2002 (figure 6-5). Increases in fares per passenger-mile for some types of transit service were offset by lower fares per passenger-mile for other types.

Local transit bus service, which accounted for 58 percent of public transportation ridership (by number of unlinked passenger trips1) in 2002, cost the same (18¢ per passenger-mile) in 2002 as it did in 1992 (in chained 2000 dollars),2 although it rose to 21¢ in 2000 (figure 6-6).

Demand-responsive transit3 fares rose the most between 1992 and 2002: from 18¢ to 22¢ per passenger-mile or 20 percent. These fares were at their highest point (27¢), however, in 1995. All rail transit fares declined during this period: commuter rail, –7 percent; heavy rail, –13 percent; and light rail, –8 percent. Rail transit, the second-most heavily used component of transit, accounted for 39 percent of unlinked passenger trips in 2002, while demand responsive had less than 1 percent of the trips [1].

Source

1. U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Transit Administration, National Transit Summaries and Trends, Annual Reports, available at http://www.ntdprogram.com, as of May 2004.

1 See Transit Ridership in section 7, “Availability of Mass Transit,” for a discussion of unlinked trips.

2 All dollar amounts are expressed in chained 2000 dollars, unless otherwise specified. Current dollar amounts (which are available in appendix B of this report) were adjusted to eliminate the effects of inflation over time.

3 Demand-responsive transit operates on a nonfixed route and nonfixed schedule in response to calls from passengers or their agents to the transit operator or dispatcher.

Air Travel Price Index

Commercial airlines offer a variety of discount fares to fill their flights, but these special airfares, facilitated by Internet commerce and “frequent flyer” programs, complicate efforts to measure changes in the prices people pay for commercial air travel. To improve these measurements, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) in consultation with the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) developed an Air Travel Price Index (ATPI) (box 6-A).

ATPI research data can be used to compare changes in prices among many cities. In a comparison of three medium-size cities, for instance, a dip appears between 1995 and 1998 for flights originating in Colorado Springs, Colorado (figure 6-7). During this time, the discount carrier Western Pacific operated flights from Colorado Springs, and the figure shows the effect it had on bringing airfares down before it withdrew from the market. The ATPI can be used to compare prices for international travel as well. Third quarter spikes in a comparison of travel originating in Frankfurt, London, and Tokyo indicate that a high percentage of passengers traveling to the United States from these cities pay peak fares July through September (figure 6-8). These types of specific domestic and foreign points of origin comparisons are possible because of the sample size on which the index is based.

A comparison of the ATPI with the official BLS Airline Fare Index shows how they differ (figure 6-9). The BLS index covers only itineraries ­originating in the United States and is most comparable to the ATPI “U.S. Origin Only” series. However, these two indexes give different results. Between fourth quarter 1998 and the end of 2003, the “U.S. Origin Only” ATPI increased 7.3 percent, while the BLS index increased 12.4 percent. This difference is probably due mainly to the type of target formulas used,1 and the survey’s inclusion of special discount fares that involve differential pricing (e.g., frequent flier awards and Internet discounts) combined with consumers’ increasing use of these discount tickets during this period. The “U.S. Orgin Only” ATPI also shows a sharper drop in the last two quarters of 2001—a more pronounced “9/11 effect”—than it does in the BLS index, which is the official U.S. Consumer Price Index. The ATPI covering all origins increased 7.3 percent between fourth quarter 1998 and the end of 2003. Decreasing fares for flights from foreign points of origin cause the “all origins” index to run below the BLS index for most of the years shown.

1 Since the fourth quarter of 1998, BLS has based its index on the hybrid Jevons/Modified Laspeyres formula. In prior years, the BLS index was based on the Modified Laspeyes formula. The BTS ATPI is computed using the Fisher Index formula.

Section 7: Availability of Mass Transit and Number of Passengers Served

Transit Passenger-Miles of Travel

Transit passenger-miles of travel (pmt) grew 24 percent between 1992 and 2002, from 37.2 billion pmt to 45.9 billion pmt. However, transit pmt declined 1.2 percent between 2001 and 2002, similar to the 2.5 percent decline that occurred between 1992 and 1993. As they have historically, buses maintained the largest pmt share in 2002 (43 percent) while generating 19.5 billion pmt (figure 7-1). Also in 2002, heavy rail pmt totaled 13.7 billion or 30 percent and commuter rail reached 9.5 billion pmt, for a 21 percent share.

Light rail and demand-responsive services1 had only 3.1 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively, of transit pmt shares in 2002. However, pmt on these transit services more than doubled between 1992 and 2002 (figure 7-2). In comparison, bus pmt grew 12 percent between 1992 and 2002.

The top 30 transit authorities (ranked by unlinked passenger trips)2 logged 35.2 billion passenger-miles in 2002 or 77 percent of all transit pmt that year. In 2002, people riding New York City Transit traveled 9.7 billion passenger-miles (or 28 percent of all passenger-miles out of the top 30 authorities) and the Chicago Transit Authority generated 1.8 billion pmt or 5 percent [1].

Source

1. U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Transit Administration, National Transit Database, 2002 Transit Profiles, available at http://www.ntdprogram.com, as of May 2004.

2 See the following pages for further discussion and data on unlinked passenger trips and trips by authorities.

Transit Ridership

Transit ridership has grown steadily since 1995, reaching 9.0 billion unlinked trips (box 7-A) in 2002, an increase of 20 percent (figure 7-3). Between 1992 and 1995, total transit ridership declined 3 percent, and transit ridership growth between 2001 and 2002 (less than 1 percent) was not as strong as it had been between 2000 and 2001 (3 percent) [1].

Among the various types of transit service, bus ridership comprised the majority of unlinked trips (5,268 million) in 2002, having grown 15 percent between 1995 and 2002. However, rail transit ridership, with 3,439 million trips in 2002, posted stronger growth over the period (31 percent). Among the rail components, heavy rail grew 32 percent; light rail, 35 percent; and commuter rail, 21 percent (figure 7-3 and figure 7-4). Heavy-rail ridership posted 2,688 million trips; commuter rail, 414 million trips; and light rail, 337 million trips in 2002. Other modes, such as ferryboats and demand responsive, posted a combined 311 million trips.

Source

1. U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Transit Administration, National Transit Summaries and Trends, Annual Reports, available at http://www.ntdprogram.com, as of May 2004.

Transit Ridership by Transit Authority

Approximately 78 percent of all unlinked transit passenger trips in 2002 were made within the service area of just 30 transit authorities. These 30 top authorities logged 7.0 billion unlinked trips in 20021 (figure 7-5). New York City Transit alone reported 2.7 billion, or 30 percent, of all unlinked passenger trips. The Chicago Transit Authority followed with 485 million or 5 percent of all trips [2].

The top 30 transit authorities served a population of about 124 million in 2002 [2]. All transit authorities reporting to the National Transit Database determine their population-served data using definitions of bus and rail service in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and their own local criteria for other service such as ferryboat and vanpool. Some double counting of populations served occurs, especially among authorities operating in the largest metropolitan areas such as New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, and San Francisco [2].

According to a Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) survey,2 an average of 71 percent of household respondents indicated they had public transportation available in their area [1].

Sources

1. U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), Omnibus Survey, Summer 2002, available at http://www.bts.gov, as of June 2003.

2. USDOT, BTS calculation based on data in USDOT, Federal Transit Administration, National Transit Database, available at http://www.ntdprogram.com/, as of May 2004.

1 In 2002, 613 transit authorities submitted data to the Federal Transit Administration. However, due to reporting omissions, only 539 transit authorities are reflected in that year’s database.

2 In the summer of 2002, BTS’s Omnibus Survey collected data on public transportation in June, July, and August.

Lift- or Ramp-Equipped Buses and Rail Stations

The nationwide fleet of lift- or ramp-equipped transit buses increased to 94 percent (64,407 buses) in 2002 from 52 percent of the bus fleet (29,088 buses) in 1993 (figure 7-6). While compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements (box 7-B) increased from 1993 to 2002, the rate differed among bus types and the gap between them narrowed (figure 7-7).

The small bus fleet had the highest level of compliance in 1993 (79 percent) and articulated buses the lowest (38 percent). By 2002, the small bus fleet continued to have the highest rate (99 percent, or 9,743 vehicles), followed by medium buses with 98 percent (8,550 vehicles). Meanwhile, large buses had the lowest level of compliance (92 percent, or 44,035 vehicles). Articulated bus compliance fell in the middle at 97 percent, or 2,079 vehicles.

Rail transit infrastructure consists of track and stations. In 2002, 53 percent (1,506) of stations were ADA accessible, serving automated guideway transit, cable cars, commuter rail, heavy rail, inclined plane, light rail, monorail, and the Alaska Railroad. In 2002, light-rail riders enjoyed 72 percent accessibility (458 stations), followed by commuter-rail riders with 55 percent accessibility (624 stations) and heavy-rail riders with 37 percent accessibility (366 stations) [1].

Source

1. U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Transit Administration, National Transit Database 2002, available at http://www.ntdprogram.com, as of May 2004.

Section 8: Frequency of Vehicle and Transportation Facility Repairs

Commercial Motor Vehicle Repairs

In the United States, there were over 662,000 active motor carriers—common, contract, or private—using buses or trucks to provide commercial transportation of passengers or freight in 2004 [2]. Trucking accounted for 28 percent of the nation’s freight ton-miles in 2001 [1]. Repair data for most trucks are not public information.

Over 2.1 million roadside truck inspections were completed in 2003, up from 1.9 million in 1993, to ensure that trucks are in compliance with federal safety regulations and standards (figure 8-1). Nearly one-quarter of those inspected in 2003 were taken out of service for repairs, 3 percent fewer than in 1993. Trucks are taken out of service when they receive a serious violation during the inspection process.

The downtime for a truck undergoing an inspection can vary from 30 to 60 minutes. Trucks that are placed out-of-service for repairs may be delayed from a few minutes to several days, depending on circumstances.

Sources

1. U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, National Transportation Statistics 2003, table 1-44, available at http://www.bts.gov/, as of July 2004.

2. U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Commercial Motor Vehicle Facts, available at http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/factsfigs/cmvfacts.htm, as of July 2004.

Highway Maintenance and Repairs

Work zones on freeways cause an estimated 24 percent of the nonrecurring delays on freeways and principal arterials [1]. According to the Federal Highway Administration, the purpose of maintenance—which includes restoration, resurfacing, minor widening, and reconstruction—is to keep highways in usable condition not to extend service life. Pavement resurfacing represented just over half (51 percent) of the miles of federal-aid roads undergoing federally supported construction or maintenance in 2001 (figure 8-2), up from about 42 percent in 1997.1

The level of funding applied to highway maintenance is an indirect measure of the amount of maintenance activity and, thus, presence of work zones on highways. Although well-maintained roads are vital to a smoothly functioning transportation system, the maintenance activity may temporarily disrupt the flow of vehicles, causing traffic delays and congestion.

Funding for highway maintenance increased by 15 percent (in constant 1987 dollars)2 between 1990 and 2001 (figure 8-3). The amount of funds disbursed by federal, state, and local governments for maintenance activities totaled $20.3 billion in 2001. This represented 24 percent of total disbursements for highways in 2001 [2].

Sources

1. Chin, S.M., O. Franzese, D.L. Greene, H.L. Hwang, and R. Gibson. “Temporary Losses of Highway Capacity and Impacts on Performance,” Oak Ridge National Laboratory, May 2002.

2. U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, Highway Statistics 2001 (Washington, DC: 2002), table HF-2, also available at http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/ohim, as of June 2003.

1 1997 is the earliest year for which these data are available.

2 Instead of chained 2000 dollars, constant 1987 dollars are used here because the Federal Highway Administration publishes its data accordingly.

Rail Infrastructure and Equipment Repairs

Class I railroads1 provide vital freight transportation services—carrying more than one-third of domestic freight ton-miles2 each year [2]. These companies maintained 170,048 miles of track in 2002, down from 190,591 miles in 1992 [1]. Class I track mileage declined for many decades especially on lower density lines, in part because ownership and maintenance is expensive. As such, rail companies have focused more on replacing worn rails and crossties than on laying new track.

Between 1992 and 2002, rail companies replaced an average of 727,500 tons of rail each year (figure 8-4). The yearly replacements, which can vary substantially because of the long life of rails, ranged from a high of 875,000 tons in 1992 to a low of 636,000 tons in 2002. Using the most common rail weight (130 to 139 lbs per yard), it would take approximately 120 tons of rail to cover one mile [1].

There was some growth in the amount of new rails added to the Class I system in the late 1990s as firms increased capacity to handle growing amounts of coal traffic and reconfigured their systems as a result of mergers. Over 200,000 tons of new rail were added both in 1998 and 1999, up from 19,000 in 1990. By 2002, however, additions totaled only 125,200 tons.

Railroads also replace crossties periodically in order to ensure the integrity of their tracks. Between 1992 and 2002, railroads replaced an average of 12.0 million crossties each year (figure 8-5). The yearly replacements ranged from a high of 13.5 million crossties in 1992 to a low of 10.4 million in 1998. There was some growth in the number of new crossties added to the Class I system in the late 1990s as firms increased capacity or reconfigured their systems. In 1998, 1.8 million new crossties were added; but by 2002, the number of new crossties added declined to the level seen a decade earlier.

Railroads also periodically replace or rebuild locomotives and freight cars. On average, new and rebuilt locomotives made up 4 percent of Class I railroad fleets between 1992 and 2002 (figure 8-6). The number of locomotives that were new or rebuilt varied from a low of 3 percent in 1992 to a high of 7 percent in 1994. However, the number of both locomotives and freight cars built and rebuilt reached a peak in 1998. There were, for instance, 64,244 fewer new and rebuilt cars in 2002 compared with 1998.

Sources

1. Association of American Railroads, Railroad Facts 2003 (Washington, DC: 2003).

2. U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, National Transportation Statistics 2002 (Washington, DC: 2002), table 1-44, also available at http://www.bts.gov.

1 Rail companies with annual operating revenues of $272.0 million or more in 2002.

2 Ton-miles are calculated by multiplying the weight in tons of each shipment transported by the miles hauled.

Transit Vehicle Reliability

Transit service1 interruptions due to mechanical failures remained relatively level from 1995 through 2000,2 averaging between 18 and 19 mechanical problems per 100,000 revenue vehicle-miles [1, 2] (figure 8-7).

Among transit vehicles, buses and light rail had the highest rates of mechanical failure in 2000. Buses broke down an average of 28 times per 100,000 revenue vehicle-miles, while light-rail vehicles broke down 15 times per 100,000 revenue vehicle-miles. Light-rail vehicle breakdowns have changed the most since 1995. In that year, there were 32 mechanical failures per 100,000 revenue vehicle-miles. The rate of failure then dropped 56 percent to 14 per 100,000 revenue vehicle-miles by 1998.

Sources

1. U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Transit Administration, National Summaries and Trends (Washington, DC: Annual issues), also available at http://www.ntdprogram.com/, as of April 2003.

2. U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, National Transportation Statistics 2002 (Washington, DC: 2002), table 1-32 and Transit Profile, also available at http://www.bts.gov/, as of April 2003.

1 Here transit service includes light rail, commuter rail, heavy rail, and demand-responsive vehicles (see glossary for definitions).

2 Data prior to 1995 and later than 2000 were collected using different definitions of what constitutes an interruption of service and are not comparable.

Lock Downtime on the Saint Lawrence Seaway

Locks along the Saint Lawrence Seaway (the Seaway) are usually closed between late December to late March because of ice. At other times of the year, shipping can be disrupted when locks are closed for other reasons.

Excluding the winter closure, the 2002 season for the two locks in the Seaway maintained and operated by the United States consisted of 276 days. The U.S. locks, located between Montreal and Lake Ontario, had 63 hours (just over 2½ days) of downtime during the 2002 season. Weather-related poor visibility, high winds, and ice caused 65 percent of all lock downtime; vessel incidents caused another 27 percent. Lock malfunctions caused only three hours of downtime during the 2002 season, 5 percent of the total.

Over the last decade, weather has been the primary cause of downtime (figure 8-8). Exceptions include 124½ hours of downtime in 1993 caused by water level/flow and 43 and 46 hours in 1998 and 1999, respectively, caused by vessel incidents. Although weather was responsible for the majority of downtime hours in 2001, vessel incidents that year accounted for 45 hours of downtime.

Lock downtime is not the only way Seaway shipping is impacted. For instance, in 2000 and 2001, water levels in the Great Lakes were at their lowest point in 35 years. During these reduced water level periods, some vessels could only carry approximately 90 percent of their normal shipment loads [1, 2].

During the 2002 navigation season, 30.0 million metric tons of cargo were transported through the Montreal-Lake Ontario section of the Seaway. Grain, iron ore, and other bulk commodities, as well as manufactured iron and steel, constitute the majority of shipments [3].

The Seaway is part of the Great Lakes Saint Lawrence Seaway System jointly operated by the United States and Canada.1 The entire system encompasses the Saint Lawrence River, the five Great Lakes, and the waterways connecting the Great Lakes, and extends 2,340 miles—from the Gulf of the Saint Lawrence at the Atlantic Ocean in the east to Lake Superior in the west.

Sources

1. U.S. Department of Transportation, Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corp., Fiscal Year 2000 Annual Report: Great Lakes Seaway System Moves Forward Into the 21st Century, available at http://www.greatlakes-seaway.com/en/pdf/fy2000ar.pdf, as of July 2004.

2. U.S. Department of Transportation, Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corp., Fiscal Year 2001 Annual Report: Linking North America's Heartland to the World, available at http://www.greatlakes-seaway.com/en/pdf/fy2001ar.pdf, as of July 2004.

3. ______. Fiscal Year 2002 Annual Report: Linking North America’s Heartland to the World, available at http://www.greatlakes-seaway.com/en/pdf/fy2002ar.pdf, as of July 2004.

1 The U.S. Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corp. operates and maintains the U.S. portion of the Saint Lawrence Seaway between the Port of Montreal and Lake Erie.

Intermittent Interruptions of Transportation Services

Natural disasters, accidents, labor disputes, terrorism, security breaches, and other incidents can result in major disruptions to the transportation system.1 Although a comprehensive account of these unpredictable interruptions has not been undertaken nor data compiled on them, numerous studies and other analyses have sought to evaluate the effects of individual events on the transportation system.

In a 10-day shutdown of West Coast ports in fall 2002, members of the Pacific Maritime Association imposed a lockout in response to a perceived work slowdown by International Longshore and Warehouse Union workers. The port closure ended when the Bush Administration invoked the Taft-Hartley Act; management and the union subsequently ratified a six-year contract in January 2003. Over half of U.S. containerized merchandise trade, measured in 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs), passes through West Coast ports. With a sizeable share of this trade originating from or destined for states throughout the country, the shutdown of these ports negatively affected freight traffic nationwide. Shipments by retailers, manufacturers, automakers, and the agricultural sector were particularly impacted. Each year, imports through West Coast ports decline in late fall and resume early in the following year (figure 8-9). Because of this, the decline caused by the lockout is not readily apparent in overall containerized cargo data.

Vehicle accidents are a common cause of transportation delays. National estimates, based on model simulations, suggest that nearly 40 percent of nonrecurring delays on freeways and principal arterials are due to crashes. Weather, another unpredictable factor, accounts for 27 percent of highway delays. Relatively fewer delays resulted from road work zones (24 percent) and vehicle breakdowns (11 percent) [1]. Although motor vehicle accidents are, by far, the most frequent type of transportation accident, other modes also experience major disruptions due to accidents. A freight train carrying hazardous materials derailed in a Baltimore tunnel in 2001 [2]. The resulting fire lasted several days and forced the city to close some highways and rail passages. Freight and passengers were delayed as trains were diverted hundreds of miles throughout the mid-Atlantic region.

The United States, because of its size and varied geography, is vulnerable to many types of natural disasters that can affect transportation. The flooding of the Mississippi River in 1993 shut down large portions of the inland waterway system, washed out rail track, damaged rail bridges, and closed an estimated 250 highway segments and bridges [3]. The following year, the Northridge earthquake had a major impact on the Los Angeles metropolitan area transportation system. Measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale, the earthquake knocked out four freeways, caused the collapse of parking structures, and ruptured numerous natural gas distribution lines [4, 5]. The threat and aftermath of Hurricane Isabel in September 2003 caused the Washington (DC) Metropolitan Area Transit Authority to shut down its transit rail system for two days.

Sources

1. Chin, S.M., O. Franzese, D.L. Greene, H.L. Hwang, and R. Gibson, “Temporary Losses of Highway Capacity and Impacts on Performance,” Oak Ridge National Laboratory, May 2002.

2. National Transportation Safety Board, “Update on July 18, 2001 CSXT Derailment in Baltimore Tunnel,” press release, Dec. 4, 2002, available at http://www.ntsb.gov/Pressrel/prsrel02.htm, as of June 2004.

3. U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Transportation Statistics Annual Report 1994 (Washington, DC: 1994).

4. _____. Transportation Statistics Annual Report 1995 (Washington, DC: 1995).

5. _____. Journal of Transportation and Statistics: Special Issue on the Northridge Earthquake 1(2), May 1998.

1 For data on the impact of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on U.S. domestic flight operations that month, see U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Transportation Statistics Annual Report (October 2003) (Washington, DC: 2003).

Section 9: Accidents

Transportation Fatality Rates

There were about 45,500 fatalities related to transportation in 2002—16 fatalities per 100,000 U.S. residents1 [1, 2, 4]. This is the same rate as in 1992, when there were about 42,000 deaths. Approximately 94 percent of all transportation fatalities in 2002 were highway-related (figure 9-1). Most of these people who died were occupants of passenger cars or light trucks (including pickups, sport utility vehicles, and minivans). Air, rail, transit, water, and pipeline transportation result in comparatively few deaths per capita (see box 9-A). For instance, railroads contributed about 0.33 deaths per 100,000 residents in 2002.2

Overall, highway safety remained about the same between 1992 and 2002 when compared to the size of the population. There were around 15 fatalities per 100,000 residents each year over the entire period. Highway fatalities declined 15 percent for occupants of passenger cars, but increased 34 percent for occupants of light trucks between 1992 and 2002 (figure 9-2). (This is a period during which the number of registered light trucks increased from 57 million to 85 million [3].) Motorcyclist fatalities per 100,000 residents have been rising since 1997.

Similar trends in highway fatality rates are apparent when the rate is based on vehicle-miles traveled (vmt). Passenger car occupant fatalities per 100 million vmt declined 21 percent between 1992 and 2002, while light-truck occupant fatalities per 100 million vmt rose 10 percent (figure 9-3). Motorcyclist fatalities grew 36 percent during the period. However, after falling from 25 fatalities per 100 million vmt in 1992 to 21 fatalities per 100 million vmt in 1997, motorcyclist fatalities grew 62 percent by 2002.3

Sources

1. U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Census Bureau, Monthly Population Estimates for the United States, available at http://eire.census.gov/popest/data/national/tables/NA-EST2003-01.php, as of January 2004.

2. U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Coast Guard, Office of Boating Safety, Boating Statistics, available at http://www.uscgboating.org, as of January 2004.

3. U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, Highway Statistics Summary to 1995 and Highway Statistics 2002 (Washington DC: 1997 and 2003), tables VM-201A and VM-1, also available at http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policy/ohim/hs02/index.htm, as of January 2004.

4. U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), Federal Transit Administration, National Transit Database, Safety and Security Newsletter, Spring 2003, available at http://transit-safety.volpe.dot.gov/Data/NTDNewsletters/Default.asp, as of January 2004.

1 This total fatality rate has not been adjusted to account for double counting across modes, because detailed data needed to do so were not available at the time this report was prepared. See table 9-1 for further information on double-counting impacts.

2 This calculation includes fatalities occurring at highway-rail grade crossings.

3 These motorcycle data are not shown in figure 9-3 but appear in table 9-3 in appendix B.

Years of Potential Life Lost from Transportation Accidents

For people under 65 years of age, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has ranked transportation accidents as the third leading cause of death in the United States (after cancer and heart disease) each year from 1991 to 2000 [1]. During those years, an average of nearly 36,000 people under 65 died each year from transportation accidents.1

While transportation accidents amounted to 6 percent of the deaths of those under age 65 between 1991 and 2000, these fatalities represented 10 percent of the total years of potential life lost (YPLL) during this period (figure 9-4). YPLL, which is computed by adding up the remaining life expectancies of all victims (up to 65 years of age) at their deaths, is a measurement that accounts for the age distribution among different causes of injury mortality and other common causes of death (box 9-B). The difference between the percentage of deaths and YPLL indicates that people who die from transportation accidents tend to be younger on average than victims of other causes of death.

Motor vehicle crashes are the most frequent cause of transportation-related fatalities. YPLLs associated with deaths related to motor vehicle accidents can be compared with YPLLs for deaths from all other modes of transportation (figure 9-5). This shows that, over the 9 years, motor vehicle deaths also contributed to the bulk of YPLLs due to transportation accidents.

Source

1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control, National Center for Health Statistics, National Vital Statistics Reports: Deaths, 1991–2000 issues, available at http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products.htm, as of March 2003.

1 Because of methodological differences, fatality data from the CDC differ from those collected by the individual modal administrations.

Transportation Injury Rates

Each year a far larger number of people are injured than killed in transportation-related accidents. An estimated 3.0 million1 people suffered some kind of injury involving passenger and freight transportation in 2002 (box 9-C). Most of these injuries, about 98 percent, resulted from highway crashes2 [1, 2].

Highway injury rates vary by the type of vehicle used (figure 9-6). In 2002, 69 passenger car occupants were injured per 100 million passenger-miles of travel (pmt) compared with 51 light truck occupants. Occupants of large trucks and buses are less likely to sustain an injury per mile of travel. Motorcycle riders are, by far, the most likely to get hurt.

Injury rates for most modes declined between 1992 and 2002.3 However, rates for light truck occupants rose 13 percent, from 45 per 100 million pmt in 1992 to 51 per 100 million pmt in 2002 (figure 9-7). Motorcycling became safer per mile ridden until 1999, but since then, the injury rate increased from 429 per 100 million pmt to 555 per 100 million pmt by 2002. Bus injuries per 100 million pmt have fluctuated.

Sources

1. U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, National Transportation Statistics 2002, table 2-2 revised, available at http://www.bts.gov/, as of January 2004.

2. U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, Highway Statistics 2002 (Washington DC: 2003), table VM-1, also available at http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policy/ohim/hs02/index.htm, as of March 2004.

1 Some of the data included in this number are preliminary.

2 There is the potential for some double counting involving highway-rail grade crossing and transit bus data.

3 These calculations exclude bicycling, walking, and boating (including recreational boating), because there are no national annual trend data estimates of pmt for these modes of transportation.

Motor Vehicle-Related Injuries

There were an estimated 3.6 million motor vehicle-related injuries in the United States in 2002, according to data reported to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)1 (box 9-D) [1]. An estimated 3.3 million of these injuries involved motor vehicle occupants. The rest involved about 130,000 pedestrians, 114,000 motorcyclists, and 59,000 pedalcyclists.

More females than males were treated for minor injuries in 2002 across most age groups (figure 9-8). The 20 to 24 age group sustained almost 480,000 minor motor vehicle-related injuries. For serious injuries, more males than females were treated across all age groups up to about 65 years (figure 9-9). Again, serious injuries spiked at ages 20 to 24, but male injuries spiked substantially higher. This age group incurred over 35,000 serious injuries in 2002, 64 percent of which happened to males.

In summary, there were sharp peaks in injuries associated with youth: for motor vehicle occupants and motorcyclists, the peak spanned ages 15 to 24; for pedalcyclists and pedestrians, the peak spanned ages 10 to 14. Young males exhibited a substantially greater peak in serious injuries than young females. In addition, the percentage of injuries classified as serious was greater for motorcyclists (21 percent of all motorcyclist injuries were serious), pedestrians (19 percent), and pedalcyclists (13 percent) than it was for motor vehicle occupants (7 percent) (figure 9-10).

This analysis comes from a Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) comprehensive study using 2002 data from the CPSC’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System. Only a small portion of the BTS study is presented here. The study included data on motor vehicle occupants, motorcyclists, pedalcyclists, and pedestrians injured on or near public roads,2 but only for injuries involving collisions with moving motor vehicles.3

Source

1. U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS), information available at http://www.cpsc.gov/Neiss/oracle.html, as of June 2003.

1 Because of methodological and other differences, motor vehicle-related injury data from CPSC differ from those estimated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) of the U.S. Department of Transportation. For 2002, NHTSA reported an estimated 3.0 million highway injuries.

2 This includes injuries involving traffic on public roads and in driveways and parking lots, and at other locations near, but not on, public roads.

3 This excludes occupants injured when entering or exiting parked vehicles, pedalcyclists injured by parked cars or other fixed objects, and pedestrians struck by pedalcyclists or off-road vehicles.

Economic Costs of Motor Vehicle Crashes

Motor vehicle crashes in the United States cost an estimated $231 billion1 in 2000, about $820 per person or 2 percent of the Gross Domestic Product2 [1]. The largest components of the total cost (26 percent each) are market productivity—the cost of foregone paid labor due to death and disability—and property damage (figure 9-11). Household productivity—the cost of foregone household (unpaid) labor—accounted for 9 percent of the total cost. Workplace cost (2 percent) is the disruption due to the loss or absence of an employee such that it requires training a new employee, overtime to accomplish the work of the injured employee, and administrative costs to process personnel changes.

Alcohol-involved crashes cost $50.9 billion or 22 percent of the total costs. Costs related to speeding were estimated to be $40.4 billion, 18 percent of the total. The failure of drivers and passengers to wear safety belts cost an estimated $26 billion, but the use of safety belts saved $50 billion [1].

Ultimately, all people pay for the cost of motor vehicle crashes through insurance premiums, taxes, out-of-pocket expenses, and the like. About one-quarter of the cost of crashes is paid directly by those involved, while society in general pays the rest (figure 9-12). Insurance companies, funded by all insured drivers whether they are involved in a crash or not, paid about half the cost in 2000, while government paid 9 percent.

Source

1. U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, The Economic Impact of Motor Vehicle Crashes 2000 (Washington, DC: 2002), also available at http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/people/economic, as of December 2002.

1 The costs detailed here are the economic costs not the intangible consequences of these events to individuals and families, such as pain and suffering and loss of life.

2 All dollar amounts are in current 2000 dollars.

Section 10: Collateral Damage to the Human and Natural Environment

Key Air Emissions

Transportation in 2001 emitted 66 percent of the nation’s carbon monoxide (CO), 47 percent of nitrogen oxides (NOx), 35 percent of volatile organic compounds (VOC), 5 percent of particulates, 6 percent of ammonia, and 4 percent of sulfur dioxide.1 Highway vehicles emitted almost all of transportation’s share of CO in 2001, 79 percent of the NOx, and 78 percent of all VOC (figure 10-1). Marine vessels and railroad locomotives each contributed 10 percent of transportation’s NOx emissions, and other nonroad vehicles2 had a 20 percent share of VOC emissions. With the exception of ammonia, transportation air emissions have declined since 1991 (figure 10-2). NOx shows only a slight decrease between 1991 and 2001.

Gasoline powered highway vehicles experienced the greatest decline in NOx emissions, while diesel-powered highway vehicles and aircraft show increases between 1991 and 2001 (figure 10-3). New, tightened NOx emissions standards for diesel and gasoline trucks are due to go into effect in 2007 and 2008 [1]. In addition, new, tightened NOx standards will apply to certain marine engines built in 2004 or later. NOx emissions standards for locomotives went into effect in 2000, and tightened standards will apply to locomotives built in 2005 and later [2].

These key air emissions—generated during the use of various vehicles, locomotives, aircrafts, and vessels—affect the nation's air quality and are the most widely used indicator of transportation's impact on the environment and human health (box 10-A).

Sources

1. U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, National Transportation Statistics 2002 (Washington, DC: 2003), tables 4-30–4-32, also available at http://www.bts.gov/, as of June 2004.

2. U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Railroad Administration, personal communication, July 2003.

1 With its 2001 updates, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is no longer estimating lead emissions. In 2000, transportation emitted 13 percent of the nation’s lead emissions. Aircraft emitted almost 96 percent of all transportation lead emissions. While the substance is no longer used in most fuels, it is still present in aviation fuels.

2 Other nonroad vehicles include recreational marine vessels, airport service vehicles, and road maintenance equipment.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The transportation sector’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2002 totaled 1,861.4 teragrams of carbon dioxide equivalent (TgCO2Eq), 27 percent of total U.S. GHG emissions.1 Transportation emissions have grown 22 percent since 1992, while total U.S. emissions rose 14 percent [1].

Carbon dioxide (CO2) accounted for 83 percent of U.S. GHG emissions in 2002 [1]. Nearly all (97 percent) of these emissions are generated by the combustion of fossil fuels; transportation was responsible for 1,767.5 TgCO2Eq (31 percent) of CO2 emissions. Transportation CO2 emissions grew 21 percent between 1992 and 2002, an average annual change of 1.9 percent (figure 10-4). Heavy-truck emissions grew the most over the period (46 percent). Aircraft emissions rose more slowly, increasing 16 percent from 1992 to 2000, then declining 8 percent in the following two years, most likely a “9/11 effect” that reduced 1992 to 2002 growth to 6 percent.2 (See box 10-B for information on the two sources of U.S. GHG data.)

Highway vehicles emitted 79 percent of all transportation CO2 emissions in 2002 and rose at an average annual rate of 2.2 percent between 1992 and 2002. Passenger cars and light-duty vehicles, which include pickup trucks, sport utility vehicles, and vans, were responsible for 79 percent of highway emissions (figure 10-5).

Most air pollutants impact local or regional air quality. Greenhouse gases, however, have the potential to alter the earth’s climate on a regional and global scale.

Source

1. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990–2002, available at http://www.epa.gov, as of May 2004.

1 A teragram is a trillion grams.

2 The GHG data here cover domestic emissions only. Figure and table 10-4 include data on international bunker fuel emissions, which result from the combustion of fuel purchased domestically but used for international aviation and maritime transportation.

Oil Spills into U.S. Waters

Transportation-related sources typically account for most oil reported spilled into U.S. waters reported each year1 (box 10-C). For instance, transportation’s share of the total volume of oil spilled between 1991 and 2001 varied from a high of 97 percent in 1996 to a low of 77 percent in 1992. The volume of each spill varies significantly from incident to incident: one catastrophic incident can, however, spill millions of gallons into the environment. Consequently, the total volume of reported oil spills each year is volatile (figure 10-6).

Maritime incidents are the source of most reported oil spills, particularly on a volume basis. On average, 1.8 million gallons of various types of oil were spilled each year by all transportation and nontransportation sources between 1991 and 2001. Of this, 78 percent of oil spilled came from incidents associated with maritime transportation, 10 percent from pipeline incidents, and over 1 percent from all other transportation modes (figure 10-7). Oil cargo accounted for 58 percent of the total volume spilled in 2000 [1].

Failures in transportation systems (vessels, pipelines, highway vehicles, and railroad equipment) or errors made by operators can result in spillage of crude oil, refined petroleum products, and other materials and cause serious damage to the environment. The ultimate impact of each spill depends on the location and volume of the spill, weather conditions, and the natural resources affected. While data exist on oil spilled into U.S. waters, there is less information available on the resulting consequences to the environment. In addition, little information exists on the quantity of oil entering the water from improper disposal of used motor oil or other nonreported sources.

Source

1. American Petroleum Institute, Oil Spills in U.S. Navigable Waters: 1991–2000 (Washington, DC: Feb. 11, 2003).

1 When an oil spill occurs in U.S. waters, the responsible party is required to report the spill to the U.S. Coast Guard. The Coast Guard collects data on the number, location, and source of spills, volume and type of oil spilled, and the type of operation that caused the spill.

Hazardous Materials Incidents and Injuries

Transportation firms reported more than 15,300 hazardous materials incidents in 2002.1 These incidents resulted in 7 deaths and 129 injuries, compared with annual averages of 22 deaths and 419 injuries between 1992 and 2002. During that decade, the number of reported hazardous materials incidents in-creased (figure 10-8). However, much of the increase may be attributed to improved reporting and an expansion of reporting requirements2 (box 10-D).

Highway vehicles transported 56 percent of the tons of hazardous materials shipped in 1997 [2]. Between 1992 and 2002, 61 percent of the injuries and 52 percent of the fatalities attributed to hazardous materials were the result of highway incidents. Fatal hazardous materials transportation incidents in other modes tend to be infrequent. After a DC-9 aircraft crashed in Florida in 1996, killing 110 people, the National Transportation Safety Board found that the crash was caused by ignited oxygen leaking from improperly stored oxygen generators [1]. With the exception of occasional spikes, injuries generally declined in the 1990s, especially from highway incidents (figure 10-9). Of the 926 injuries attributed to rail incidents in 1996, 787 resulted from chlorine released when a train derailed in February in Alberton, Montana [3].

Environmental contamination can occur as the result of hazardous materials incidents, but data are not routinely collected on the extent of the damage. Their environmental impacts will depend on the concentration and type of material spilled, the location and volume of the spill, and exposure rates.

Sources

1. National Transportation Safety Board, NTSB Report AAR-97/06, Docket No. DCA96MA054.

2. U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, and U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Census Bureau, 1997 Commodity Flow Survey, Hazardous Materials (Washington, DC: December 1999).

3. U.S. Department of Transportation, Research and Special Programs Administration, personal communication, May 2003.

1 A reported incident is a report of any unintentional release of hazardous materials while in transportation (including loading, unloading, and temporary storage). It excludes pipeline and bulk shipments by water, which are reported separately.

2 Incident reporting requirements were extended to intrastate motor carriers on Oct. 1, 1998, which may partly explain the subsequent increased volume of reports. Beginning in April 1993, there was a sharp improvement in reporting of incidents by small package carriers.

Section 11: Condition of the Transportation System

Transportation Capital Stock

Highway-related capital stock (highway infrastructure, consumer motor vehicles, and trucking and warehousing) represented the majority of the nation’s transportation capital stock, $2,432 billion in 2001 (in chained 2000 dollars1). Highway infrastructure constituted the largest portion (60 percent) of highway-related capital stock in 2001, as well as the largest portion (39 percent) of all transportation capital stock (figure 11-1). The combined value of capital stocks for other individual modes of the transportation system, including rail, water, air, pipeline, and transit, is less than the value of consumer motor vehicles alone (figure 11-2).

All transportation capital stocks, except those of rail and water, increased between 1991 and 2001. Highway-related capital stocks were not the fastest growing, however. The most rapid growth occurred in transportation services, a component of all modes, at 94 percent, and air transportation at 68 percent. Trucking and warehousing grew 51 percent; consumer motor vehicles, 35 percent; and highway infrastructure, 21 percent. In-house transportation, another multimodal component, increased 42 percent. During the period, rail and water transportation capital stock decreased 6 percent and 4 percent, respectively.

Capital stock is a commonly used economic measure of the capacity of the transportation system. It combines the capabilities of modes, components, and owners into a single measure of capacity in dollar value. This measure takes into account both the quantity of each component (through initial investment) and its condition (through depreciation and retirements).

With the exception of highway and street data, the capital stock data presented here pertain only to that owned by the private sector. For instance, railroad companies own their own trackage. All of these data are available from the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Bureau of Labor Statistics [1, 2]. The Bureau of Transportation Statistics is currently developing data on publicly owned capital stock, such as airports, waterways, and transit systems.

Sources

1. U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, Fixed Assets and Consumer Durable Goods in the United States, tables 3.1ES, 7.1, and 8.1, available at http://www.bea.gov/bea/dn/faweb/AllFATables.asp, as of February 2004.

2. U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Producer Price Indexes, All Urban Consumers, various series, available at http://www.bls.gov/ppi/home.htm, as of February 2004.

1 All dollar amounts are expressed in chained 2000 dollars, unless otherwise specified. Current dollar amounts (available in appendix B of this report) were adjusted to eliminate the effects of inflation over time.

Highway Condition

The condition of roads in the United States improved between 1993 and 2002. For instance, the percentage of rural Interstate mileage in poor or mediocre condition declined from 35 percent in 1993 to 12 percent in 2002 (figure 11-3). Moreover, poor or mediocre urban Interstate mileage decreased from 42 to 28 percent over this period (figure 11-4).

However, while all classes of rural roads (box 11-A) have improved in recent years, the condition of urban collectors and minor arterials has declined. For instance, 27 percent of urban minor arterial mileage and 33 percent of collector mileage were rated poor or mediocre in 2002, rising from 20 percent and 27 percent, respectively, in 1997.

Just over 41 percent of all U.S. urban and rural roads were in good or very good condition in 2002, while nearly 18 percent were in poor or mediocre condition. The rest were in fair condition.1 In general, rural roads are in better condition than urban roads. In 2002, for instance, 29 percent of urban road-miles were classified as poor or mediocre compared with only 14 percent of rural-miles [1].

Source

1. U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, Highway Statistics 2002 (Washington, DC: 2002), table HM-64, available at http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policy/ohim/hs02/index.htm, as of February 2004.

1 These percentages include all classes of roads except local roads or minor collector roads.

Bridge Condition

The condition of bridges nationwide has improved markedly since the early 1990s. Of the 591,877 roadway bridges in 2002, the Federal Highway Administration found that 14 percent were structurally deficient and 14 percent were functionally obsolete. About 35 percent of all bridges in 1992 were either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete [1].

Structurally deficient bridges are those that are restricted to light vehicles, require immediate rehabilitation to remain open, or are closed. Functionally obsolete bridges are those with deck geometry (e.g., lane width), load carrying capacity, clearance, or approach roadway alignment that no longer meet the criteria for the system of which the bridge is a part.1 In the 1990s, while the number of structurally deficient bridges steadily declined, the number of functionally obsolete bridges remained constant (figure 11-5).

In general, bridges in rural areas suffer more from structural deficiencies than functional obsolescence (particularly on local roads), whereas the reverse is true for bridges on roads in urban areas (figure 11-6 and figure 11-7). A large number of problem bridges nationwide are those supporting local rural roads: 44,156 of the 163,000 deficient and obsolete bridges in 2002 (27 percent) were rural local bridges. Problems are much less prevalent on other parts of the highway network. Nevertheless, in 2002, 26 percent of urban Interstate bridges and 16 percent of rural Interstate bridges were deficient or obsolete.

Source

1. U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, Office of Engineering, Bridge Division, National Bridge Inventory database, available at http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/bridge/britab.htm/, as of January 2004.

1 Structurally deficient bridges are counted separately from functionally obsolete bridges even though most structurally deficient bridges are, by definition, functionally obsolete.

Airport Runway Conditions

Airport runway conditions stayed about the same at the nation’s major public-use airports between 1993 and 2003 [1] (box 11-B). At the nation’s commercial service airports, pavement in poor condition declined from 3 percent of runways in 1993 to 2 percent in 2003 (figure 11-8). At the larger group of National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS) airports, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) found poor conditions on 4 percent of runways in 2003, down from 7 percent in 1993 (figure 11-9).

FAA inspects runways at public-use airports and classifies runway condition as good, fair, or poor. A runway is classified as good if all cracks and joints are sealed. Fair condition means there is mild surface cracking, unsealed joints, and slab edge spalling.1 Runways are in poor condition if there are large open cracks, surface and edge spalling, and/or vegetation growing through cracks and joints [1].

Source

1. U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, National Transportation Statistics 2002, table 1-24 revised, available at www.bts.gov, as of February 2004.

1 Spalling refers to chips, scales, or slabs breaking off of surface pavement.

Age of Highway and Transit Fleet Vehicles

The median age of the automobile fleet in the United States increased appreciably, by 20 percent, from 7.0 years in 1992 to 8.4 years in 2002. The median age of the truck fleet,1 by contrast, began to increase in the early 1990s but has been declining since 1997 as new purchases of light trucks have increased substantially (figure 11-10). As a result, the truck median age of 6.8 years in 2002 is less than its 7.2 years in 1992.

The age of transit vehicle fleets varies by transit and vehicle type (figure 11-11). The average age of heavy-rail passenger cars and ferryboats increased 28 percent and 26 percent, respectively, between 1991 and 2001. By contrast, the average age of full-size transit buses decreased 3 percent and light-rail vehicles decreased 1 percent over the same period [1].

The age of fleets as a measure of condition is not very precise. Because of the different characteristics of vehicle fleets across the modes—some serving freight and other passenger, some owned predominantly by businesses, and others by individuals—the measure varies widely.

Source

1. U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, National Transportation Statistics 2002, tables 1-25 and 1-28 revised, available at http://www.bts.gov/, as of January 2004.

1 This includes all truck categories: light, heavy, and heavy-heavy.

Age of Rail, Aircraft, and Maritime Vessel Fleets

The average age of Amtrak locomotives and passenger train cars fluctuated in a narrow range for most of the 1990s (figure 11-12). The average age of locomotives was 14 years in fiscal year 2001, up 8 percent from 13 years in fiscal year 1991. Meanwhile, Amtrak railcar age dropped from 21 to 19 years over this period. Of the 20,503 Class I freight locomotives in service in 2002, 35 percent were built before 1980, 18 percent between 1980 and 1989, and 47 percent from 1990 onwards [1].

Overall, 30 percent of the U.S.-flag vessel fleet was 25 years old or more in 2001, up from 17 percent in 1990–19911 [2]. However, during the same period, the percentage of the fleet less than six years old grew from 8 percent to 20 percent. Of the various components of the fleet, only support ships and dry barges have a greater number of newer vessels (19 percent and 24 percent, respectively) than older ones (17 percent and 23 percent) (figure 11-13). The towboat fleet had the highest proportion of older ships (55 percent) in 2001. The average age of U.S. commercial aircraft was 12 years in 2001, up from 11 years in 1991 (figure 11-14). Commercial airlines are air carriers providing scheduled or nonscheduled passenger or freight service, including commuter and air taxi on-demand services. Major airlines—those with $1 billion or more in annual revenues—accounted for 83 percent of commercial aircraft in 2001 [3]. These aircraft were approximately one year younger on average than all commercial aircraft during the 1990s, but the gap narrowed in 2001. The average age of major airlines aircraft was 12 years in 2001, up from 11 years in 1991.

Sources

1. Association of American Railroads, Railroad Facts 2003 (Washington, DC: 2003), pp. 49–50.

2. U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), National Transportation Statistics 2002, table 1-31 revised, available at http://www.bts.gov, as of January 2004.

3. _____. calculation based on USDOT, BTS, Form 41, Schedule B-43, 1991–2001.

1 These waterborne vessel data are normally surveyed as of December 31 each year. However, due to a system migration of the data in 1990, the annual survey was collected in June 1991, or half way between the dates when 1990 and 1991 data would otherwise have been collected.

Section 12: Transportation-Related Variables that Influence Global Competitiveness

Relative Prices for Transportation Goods and Services

The United States had relatively lower prices for transportation goods and services in 20001 than did 11 out of 24 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries (figure 12-1). However, the nation’s top two overall merchandise trade partners, Canada and Mexico, had lower relative prices in 2000 than did the United States. Prices in Japan and the United Kingdom—both major U.S. trade partners—were much higher than in the United States. Many of the OECD countries that had less expensive transportation goods and services than the United States have developing and transitional economies.

Further analytical research is needed to clarify transportation’s contribution to America’s global competitiveness. One theory is that Americans’ incomes would go further if transportation consumer goods and services were relatively cheaper than in other countries. Because transportation goods and services are a major input of business production, relatively lower transportation prices might also result in relatively lower production costs. Furthermore, it could be expected that an inexpensive and efficient transportation system would stimulate market expansion and result in more specialization, faster distribution, and lower production costs.

The comparisons here may indicate how domestic U.S. transportation industries, goods, and services fare against their foreign counterparts. The relative price for a good or service traded between two countries is the price for that commodity in one country divided by the price for the same commodity in another country, with the prices for the goods and services in both countries expressed in a common currency. However, relative prices alone do not reveal why transportation is more expensive in one country than another. Nor do they justify making transportation relatively cheaper than it is. They also do not reveal the quality or reliability of the transportation or fully take into account differences in geospatial factors between countries.

1 The most recent year for which comparable international data were available at the time this report was prepared.

U.S. International Trade in Transportation-Related Goods

The United States traded $299.6 billion worth (in current dollars1) of transportation-related goods (e.g., cars, trains, boats, and airplanes and their related parts) in 2002 with its partners (figure 12-2). Motor vehicles and automotive parts constituted by far the largest share of U.S. international trade in transportation-related goods ($233.0 billion) in 2002; however, they resulted in a subsector trade deficit. Trade in aircraft, spacecraft, and parts ($61.9 billion) generated the largest single surplus of any transportation-related commodity category ($25.9 billion) [1]. This surplus was due to trade with several partners, particularly the United Kingdom. The only deficits for aircraft products were with France and Canada, countries that have large aviation manufacturing sectors (box 12-A).

As is the case with overall international trade, the United States had a merchandise trade deficit in transportation-related exports and imports, totaling $82.1 billion in 2002 (figure 12-3). The deficit arose from a $108.0 billion U.S. trade deficit for motor vehicles and parts, which accounted for 23 percent of the total U.S. merchandise trade deficit of $470.3 billion. Over one-third of the motor vehicles and parts deficit involved U.S. trade with Japan, while about one-fifth was with Canada [2].

The United States had a relatively small deficit ($90 million) in trade of ships, boats, and floating structures in 2002, following a $693 million surplus in 2001 [1]. A $53 million trade surplus for railway locomotives and parts was down from $149 million in 2001. The 2002 surplus can largely be attributed to the United States supplying railcars and parts to Canada, the largest U.S. trade partner for rail products [2].

Sources

1. U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, calculations based on data from U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. International Trade Commission, Interactive Tariff and Trade DataWeb, available at http://dataweb.usitc.gov/, as of February 2003.

2. _____. U.S. International Trade and Freight Transportation Trends (Washington, DC: 2003).

1 All dollar amounts in this section are in current dollars. While it is important to compare trends in economic activity using constant or chained dollars to eliminate the effects of price inflation, it is not possible to do so in this instance (see note on the figures and on table 12-2a, table 12-2b and table 12-3 in appendix B).

U.S. International Trade in Transportation-Related Services

U.S. trade in transportation services in 2002 totaled $105.4 billion (in current dollars1), down 2 percent from $107.6 billion in 2001 (figure 12-4). This decline was smaller than the 8 percent drop between 2000 and 2001. Of the trade in 2001, 57 percent was for imports (payments to foreign countries) and 43 percent was for exports (receipts by U.S. entities), resulting in a $14.9 billion trade deficit for transportation services (box 12-B).

The United States had a surplus in transportation services from 1990 through 1997 (figure 12-5). The trade surplus was highest in 1992, at $3.8 billion (in current dollars), but exports exceeded imports by over $3 billion in other years prior to 1997, as well. Then, between 1997 and 1998, imports increased 7 percent while exports decreased 5 percent, resulting in a $4.6 billion deficit. The deficit continued to grow at an average annual rate of 32 percent between 1998 and 2002, when the deficit reached $13.9 billion.

U.S. exports and imports in transportation services include freight services provided by carriers; port services provided by airports, seaports, and terminals; and passenger travel services provided by carriers. U.S. trade in transportation services generates substantial revenues for U.S. businesses in receipts to U.S. carriers and ports. These services also result in payments by U.S. companies to foreign freight and passenger carriers and ports. Because an efficient transportation system puts a premium on system reliability and speed, the performance of freight carriers and ports directly influences the competitiveness of U.S. businesses engaged in international trade.

1 All dollar amounts in this section are in current dollars. While it is important to compare trends in economic activity using constant or chained dollars to eliminate the effects of price inflation, it is not possible to do so in this instance (see the note on the figures and table 12-4 and table 12-5 in appendix B).

Section 13: Transportation and Economic Growth

Transportation Services Index

The Transportation Services Index (TSI), a new product of the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), rose to 122.51 in March 2004, its highest level since January 1990 and a growth of 1.0 percent since the previous month (figure 13-1). The TSI is an experimental, seasonally adjusted index of monthly changes in the output of services of the for-hire transportation industries, including railroad, air, truck, inland waterways, pipeline, and local transit. BTS calculates the TSI as a single transportation index and as separate freight and passenger indexes.

As of March 2004, the TSI had risen every month since August 2003 except for a drop in January 2004 to 119.3. The freight TSI rose to 123.3 in March 2004, 6.0 percent higher than in March 2003, and a record high for the 14-year period covered by the index. However, the passenger TSI decreased 0.1 percent in March 2004 (to 120.5) after two consecutive rises in January and February of 2004 [1].

BTS released the first TSI data (covering January 1990 through December 2003) in March 2004. The index is still under development as BTS works to refine the index data sources, methodologies, and interpretations. Both the TSI and the freight index show potential to be considered leading indicators of economic performance. A prototype version of the TSI was successful at forecasting downturns in the economy and slightly less accurate in projecting upturns. To verify these linkages, however, more research is needed.

Economists, forecasters, and others use monthly economic measures to understand the performance of the economy, to understand the short-term relationships among different sectors of the economy, and to forecast the performance of the economy, particularly business cycles. To do this they use measures called “indicators,” such as employment, manufacturing production, sales, business inventories, purchasing managers’ plans, and consumer confidence. In addition to giving information that is valuable in its own right, these indicators often have a relationship with the growth of the economy, measured by the Gross Domestic Product.

Source

1. U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Transportation Services Index, available at http://www.bts.gov/xml/tsi/src/index.xml, as of June 2004.

1 The TSI is a chained-type index where 1996 = 100.

Transportation-Related Final Demand

Total transportation-related final demand rose by 42 percent between 1992 and 2002 (in 2000 chained dollars1) from $759.3 billion to $1,076.9 billion (figure 13-2). However, transportation-related final demand as a share of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) showed little change throughout the period. This implies that transportation-related final demand grew at about the same rate as GDP. In 2002, the share of transportation-related final demand in GDP was 11 percent, compared with 10 percent in 1992.

Personal consumption of transportation—which includes household purchases of motor vehicles and parts, gasoline and oil, and transportation services—is the largest component of transportation-related final demand. It amounted to $867.0 billion in 2002 and accounted for 81 percent of the total transportation-related final demand (figure 13-3). Government purchases and private domestic investment commanded equal shares of transportation-related final demand in 1999 and 2000. However, during the balance of the 1992 to 2002 period, government purchases held a greater share. Government purchases reached $189.8 billion in 2002 (a 18 percent share), while private investment totaled $134.6 billion (a 13 percent share).

Net exports were a negative component of transportation-related final demand between 1992 and 2002. In other words, the United States imported more transportation-related goods and services than it exported. This gap has widened in recent years. In 1992, net exports had a –2.5 percent share in total transportation-related final demand. Net exports then remained at about –5 percent through 1998. Starting in 1999, net exports declined again, dropping to –11 percent by 2002. Deficits in the trade of automobiles and other vehicles and parts have been the primary component of the negative net exports of transportation-related goods and services.

Transportation-related final demand is the total value of transportation-related goods and services purchased by consumers and government and by business as part of their investments.2 Transportation-related final demand is part of GDP, and its share in GDP provides a direct measure of the importance of transportation in the economy from the demand side. The goods and services included in transportation-related final demand are diverse and extensive, ranging from automobiles and parts, fuel, maintenance, auto insurance, and so on, for user-operated transportation to various transportation services provided by for-hire transportation establishments.

Source

1. U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, calculations based on data from U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, National Income and Product Account Tables, available at http://www.bea.gov, as of February 2004.

1 All dollar amounts are expressed in chained 2000 dollars, unless otherwise specified. Current dollar amounts (which are available in appendix B of this report) were adjusted to eliminate the effects of inflation over time.

2 Also included are the net exports of these goods and services, because they represent spending by foreigners on transportation goods and services produced in the United States. Imports, however, are deducted because consumer, business, and government purchases include imported goods and services. Therefore, deducting imports ensures that total transportation-related spending reflects spending on domestic transportation goods and services.

Transportation Services

The contribution of for-hire transportation industries to the U.S economy, as measured by their value added (or net output), increased (in 2000 chained dollars1) from $206.4 billion in 1991 to $300.2 billion in 2001 (figure 13-4). In the same time period, this segment’s share in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) fluctuated slightly, increasing from 2.9 percent in 1991 to 3.2 percent in 1996 before declining to 3.0 percent in 2001. The decreased share of for-hire transportation services in 2001 can largely be attributed to the decrease in output of air transportation, reflecting significant reductions in personal and business air travel after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Among for-hire transportation industries, trucking and air contribute the largest amount to GDP (figure 13-5). In 2001, they contributed $118.5 billion and $84.8 billion, respectively [1]. Together, they accounted for more than two-thirds of the total for-hire transportation industries’ net output. Air transportation’s contribution also grew the most (74 percent) between 1991 and 2001, even while declining 8 percent in the last year. Next in growth were trucking and warehousing and local and interurban transit at 39 percent and 38 percent, respectively. Pipelines’ (excluding natural gas) contribution declined in growth by 3 percent between 1991 and 2001.

There are two major components of transportation services—for-hire transportation, as detailed above, and in-house transportation services. For-hire transportation services are provided by firms for a fee. In-house transportation services are provided by nontransportation establishments for their own use. For instance, when a retail store uses its own trucks to move goods from one place to another, it is providing an in-house service.

Time-series data on in-house transportation services are not readily available. The Bureau of Transportation Statistics analyzed the contribution of in-house transportation services to GDP in 2000, using 1996 data, and is in the process of updating that work. The earlier analysis estimated that in-house transportation contributed $142 billion (in 1996 dollars) to the economy in 1996, while for-hire transportation contributed $243 billion.2

Source

1. U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, “Gross Domestic Product by Industry,” available at http://www.bea.doc.gov/, as of February 2004.

1 All dollar amounts are expressed in chained 2000 dollars, unless otherwise specified. Current dollar amounts (which are available in appendix B of this report) were adjusted to eliminate the effects of inflation over time.

2 The full results of the 2000 study appear in Transportation Statistics Annual Report 2000, available at http://www.bts.gov/publications/transportation_statistics_annual_report/2000/index.html, as of March 2004. Data from the new analysis were not available at the time this report was prepared.

Section 14: Government Transportation Finance

Government Transportation Revenues

Federal, state, and local government transportation revenues earmarked to finance transportation programs1 increased from $90.9 billion in 1990 to $125.9 billion in 2000 (in 2000 chained dollars2) for an annual average growth rate of 3.3 percent (figure 14-1). However, the share of transportation revenues in total government revenues decreased slightly from 3.6 percent to 3.4 percent during the same period [1, 2].

The federal government share of transportation revenues averaged 32 percent per year between 1990 and 1997 and then rose to an average share of 38 percent per year from 1998 to 2000. On the other hand, the state government share of revenues dropped from an average share of 48 percent in 1990 through 1997 to a share of 43 percent between 1998 and 2000. The rise in the federal government share after 1997 can be attributed to increased federal motor fuel taxes, the introduction of new transportation user charges, and the shift of transportation receipts from the general fund for deficit reduction to transportation trust funds [1, 2].

Among all transportation modes, highway usage generates the largest amount of government transportation revenues, accounting for $87.8 billion or 70 percent of the total in 2000 (figure 14-2). Air transportation produces the second largest share (17 percent). Transit revenues, a combination of highway fees paid into the Mass Transit Account of the Highway Trust Fund for transit purposes and proceeds from operations of the public mass transportation system, represent 10 percent of the total. With annual growth rates of 15 percent and 8 percent, respectively, pipeline and air revenues grew faster than did other modes from 1990 to 2000 [3]. Rail is not represented, because fuel and property tax receipts from rail are channeled into the general fund for deficit reduction and hence do not fall under the definition of transportation revenues used by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Amtrak generates revenues from passenger fares, but since Amtrak is not considered a government entity, its revenues are not included.

Source

1. U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Census Bureau, State and Local Government Finances, available at http://www.census.gov/, as of March 2004.

2. U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, calculations based on data from Executive Office of the President of the United States, Office of Management and Budget, Budget of the U.S. Government, Historical Tables, available at http://www.gpo.gov, as of March 2004.

3. _____. Government Transportation Financial Statistics 2002, forthcoming.

1 Money collected by government from transportation user charges and taxes, which are earmarked to finance transportation programs, are counted by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics as transportation revenues. The following types of receipts are excluded: 1) revenues collected from users of the transportation system that are directed to the general fund and used for nontransportation purposes, 2) nontransportation general fund revenues that are used to finance transportation programs, and 3) proceeds from borrowing.

2 All dollar amounts are expressed in chained 2000 dollars, unless otherwise specified. Current dollar amounts (which are available in appendix B of this report) were adjusted to eliminate the effects of inflation over time.

Government Transportation Expenditures

Spending on building, maintaining, operating, and administering the nation’s transportation system by all levels of government totaled $167.5 billion in 2000 (in chained 2000 dollars1). The federal government spent 30 percent of the funds; state and local governments, 70 percent [1, 2] (figure 14-3).

Between 1990 and 2000, these transportation expenditures grew faster than total (federal, state, and local) government expenditures, increasing transportation’s share in the total from 4.8 percent to 6.0 percent. State and local government spending on transportation grew faster (at an average annual rate of 2.7 percent) than the federal government’s spending (at 1.9 percent). State and local governments also spent more on transportation, as a percentage of their total expenditures, than the federal government. In 2000, the respective shares were 8.1 percent and 2.8 percent [1, 2].

Among all modes of transportation, highways receive the largest amount of total government transportation funds. In 2000, this amounted to $104.0 billion and accounted for 62 percent of the total (figure 14-4). Transit and air modes accounted for 19 percent and 13 percent, respectively, while rail and pipeline modes accounted for less than 1 percent each. Between 1990 and 2000, government expenditures on highways, transit, and air transportation increased at about the same rate, leaving the overall modal distribution of government transportation expenditures almost unchanged [3].

Source

1. U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Census Bureau, State and Local Government Finances, available at http://www.census.gov/, as of March 2004.

2. U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, calculations based on data from Executive Office of the President of the United States, Office of Management and Budget, Budget of the U.S. Government, Historical Tables, available at http://www.gpo.gov, as of March 2004.

3. _____. Government Transportation Financial Statistics 2002, forthcoming.

1 All dollar amounts are expressed in chained 2000 dollars, unless otherwise specified. Current dollar amounts (which are available in appendix B of this report) were adjusted to eliminate the effects of inflation over time.

Government Transportation Investment

Gross government transportation investment,1 including infrastructure and vehicles, has increased steadily over the last decade. The Bureau of Transportation Statistics has estimated that total gross government transportation investment reached $86.1 billion in 2000, compared with $67.4 billion in 1990 (in chained 2000 dollars2), an average annual growth rate of 2.6 percent (figure 14-5). Government transportation investment grew faster than did other government investments. As a result, the share of transportation in total government investment increased from 24 percent in 1990 to 27 percent in 2000 [1, 2]. However, the share of government transportation investment in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) changed little, remaining at almost 1 percent each year [2]. This indicates that funds allocated by government for improving and expanding transportation capital have been growing at the same pace as GDP.

State and local governments are the main investors in transportation infrastructure, but their relative role has decreased slightly over time. Direct federal infrastructure investment rose from $2.7 billion to $4.4 billion—an average annual growth rate of 5 percent between 1990 and 2000. State and local investment in transportation infrastructure grew from $56.9 billion to $72.1 billion, an average annual growth rate of 2.4 percent (figure 14-6).

Infrastructure accounted for 90 percent of the total government transportation investment during the 1990s, the bulk of which (almost three-quarters of the total) was allocated to highways (figure 14-7). Nevertheless, the share of highway investment in total infrastructure investment has gone down, whereas that for transit and air has gone up. Air investment grew at an average annual rate of 3.4 percent, faster than all other modes in the 1990s.

Sources

1. U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, National Income and Product Account tables, available at http://www.bea.gov, as of February 2003.

2. U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, “Transportation Investment: Concepts, Data and Analysis,” draft, May 29, 2003.

1 Transportation investment is the purchase value of transportation equipment and the purchase or construction value of transportation facilities and structures, namely, roads, railways, airports, air traffic control facilities, water ports, pipelines, and so forth, that have a service life of longer than one year. The total purchase or construction value of new transportation capital in a year is gross investment. While investment increases the stock of transportation capital, the existing transportation capital stock depreciates or wears out over time. Therefore, gross investment minus depreciation provides net investment.

2 All dollar amounts are expressed in chained 2000 dollars, unless otherwise specified. Current dollar amounts (which are available in appendix B of this report) were adjusted to eliminate the effects of inflation over time.

Section 15: Transportation Energy

Transportation Sector Energy Use

The transportation sector used 17 percent more energy in 2003 than it did in 1993, an average annual growth rate of 1.6 percent. Transportation’s share of the nation’s total energy consumption also grew between 1993 and 2003, from 26 percent to 27 percent (figure 15-1).

Still, transportation energy use has grown more slowly than Gross Domestic Product (GDP). As a result, the amount of transportation energy used per dollar of GDP1 declined at the average annual rate of 1.9 percent between 1993 and 2003 (figure 15-2).

Over 97 percent of all transportation energy consumed in 2002 came from petroleum [1]. Total U.S. petroleum usage increased 15 percent between 1992 and 2002, with transportation responsible for 84 percent of that rise. In 2002, transportation consumed 67 percent of all petroleum, up from 64 percent in 1992 (figure 15-3). Because over half of U.S. petroleum is imported, the United States, and especially the transportation sector, may be vulnerable to supply disruptions with fuel price fluctuations having the potential to contribute to economic instability.

Source

1. U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration, Monthly Energy Review, table 2.5, available at http://www.eia.doe.gov/mer/, as of February 2004.

1 GDP is in chained 2000 dollars.

Transportation Energy Prices

Transportation fuel prices (in chained 2000 dollars1) experienced short-term flucuations between 1993 and 2003 (figure 15-4). For instance, the average price of motor fuel (all types of gasoline) decreased 14 percent in 1998, to $1.16 per gallon from $1.35 per gallon in 1997. Gasoline prices then jumped 34 percent, to $1.56 per gallon in 2000, dipped in 2001 and 2002, and rose again in 2003 to $1.55.

Other fuels, such as aviation fuels and diesel used by railroads, underwent similar price fluctuations. Fuel prices decreased slightly in 2001 and again in 2002 but then rose in 2003. The average diesel price increased 22 percent between 2002 and 2003, slightly more than the price of jet fuel at 19 percent. Among transportation fuels, the average motor gasoline price grew the least (12 percent) between 2002 and 2003.

Transportation fuel prices are correlated with the world price of crude oil, because crude oil represents a large percentage of the final price of transportation fuel. This correlation can be seen in the price trends from 1993 to 2003 for crude oil and various transportation fuels. However, average crude oil prices started to rise in 2002 (4 percent over 2001), while fuel prices were still dropping, and increased again in 2003 (16 percent).

While prices of transportation fuels fluctuate over time, domestic travel does not appear to be affected. For instance, between 1993 and 2002,2 highway vehicle-miles of travel per capita rose at an annual average rate of 1.1 percent or 12 percent over the entire period (figure 15-5). During the same time, aircraft-miles of travel per capita for large carriers increased 2.0 percent on an annual average basis or 22 percent overall (figure 15-6).

Transportation fuel prices can affect overall consumer transportation prices. As measured by the Consumer Price Index, between 1993 and 2003, motor fuel prices and transportation prices increased at about the same average annual rate (2.1 percent and 1.9 percent, respectively). This inflation rate for transportation was lower than average annual inflation for all goods and services (2.5 percent) [1]. In fact, transportation-related consumer prices increased less than all other major spending categories except apparel, which decreased 1.0 percent from 1993 to 2003.

Sources

1. U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Price Index, available at http://www.bls.gov, as of June 2004.

1 All dollar amounts are expressed in chained 2000 dollars, unless otherwise specified. Current dollar amounts (which are available in appendix B of this report) were adjusted to eliminate the effects of inflation over time.

2 At the time this report was prepared, data for vehicle-miles of travel and aircraft-miles of travel were only available through 2002.

Transportation Energy Efficiency

Passenger travel was 1.0 percent more energy efficient in 2001 than in 1991. During the same period, however, freight energy efficiency declined by 5.4 percent1 [1, 2].

Improvements in domestic commercial aviation are the primary reason for the gains in passenger travel efficiency (figure 15-7). For instance, improved aircraft fuel economy and increased passenger loads resulted in a 26 percent increase in commercial air passenger energy efficiency between 1991 and 2001. Domestic commercial air pmt rose 44 percent during this same period, while energy consumption grew only 14 percent [2].

Highway passenger travel—by passenger cars, motorcycles, and light trucks2—represented 86 percent of all pmt and 91 percent of passenger travel energy use in 2001. Overall, highway travel was 1.0 percent less efficient in 2001 compared with 1991. This loss was due to a 4.3 percent decrease in the efficiency of light trucks. For the period 1991 to 2001, light truck pmt increased 34 percent, while energy use rose 39 percent. On an annual average basis, the decline in light truck energy efficiency is due to a 2.9 percent rise in pmt coupled with a faster average annual increase of 3.4 percent in energy consumption during this period. Meanwhile, passenger car pmt rose 17 percent and motorcycle pmt declined 10 percent. Total highway passenger pmt grew 22 percent [2].

The decline in freight energy efficiency between 1991 and 2001 resulted from a 1.8 percent average annual growth rate of ton-miles paired with a 2.4 percent average annual growth rate in freight energy consumption (figure 15-8). Contributing to this trend was a decline in the energy efficiency of freight trucks (–1.8 percent), pipelines (–4.0 percent), and waterborne transportation (–13 percent). However, during the same period, rail and air freight energy efficiency increased by 13 percent and 9 percent, respectively [2].

Sources

1. American Public Transportation Association, Public Transportation Fact Book 2003 (Washington, DC: 2003), tables 33 and 35.

2. U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, National Transportation Statistics 2003, calculations based on tables 1-34, 1-44, 4-6, and 4-8, available at http://www.bts.gov, as of March 2004.

1 Passenger energy efficiency is measured in passenger-miles of travel (pmt) per British thermal unit (Btu). Freight energy efficiency is ton-miles per Btu.

2 Light trucks include minivans, pickup trucks, and sport utility vehicles.