Transportation and the Economy

Transportation and the Economy

Productivity in various parts of the transportation sector (chapter 2, section G)

  • Labor productivity for the rail sector increased 50 percent from 1995 to 2005. Despite a decline of 6 percent between 2000 and 2001, air transportation labor productivity grew 43.2 percent over the entire period. [G-1]
  • Multifactor productivity of all business sectors combined increased 17 percent, while multifactor productivity in rail and air transportation increased by 50.5 and 42.4 percent, respectively, from 1995 to 2005. [G-2]
  • Transportation-related demand accounted for over 10.3 percent of U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2005. This broad measure includes consumer and government purchases of goods and services ranging from vehicles, fuels, and insurance to road building and public transportation. [G-5]
  • The contribution of for-hire transportation services to the U.S. economy, as measured by their value added (or net output), increased (in chained 2000 dollars) from $242.7 billion in 1995 to $335.2 billion in 2005. In the same time period, this segment's share in the GDP fluctuated slightly, at around 3 percent. [G-4]
  • Over 13 million people worked in a transportation-related job in the United States in 2006. That is equal to approximately 1 out of every 10 workers. [G-6]

Transportation costs for passenger travel and goods movement (chapter 2, section G)

  • U.S. households spent $8,344, on average, on transportation in 2005 - second in spending behind housing. [G-15]
  • Driving an automobile 15,000 miles per year cost $0.52 per mile in 2005, or 24 percent more than it did in 1995, when total costs per mile were $0.42. [G-18]
  • The average transit fare increased from 88 to $1.02 between 1995 and 2005. [G-16]
  • On average, intercity trips via Amtrak cost $56.45 in 2006, up 30 percent from $43.31 in 1996. Meanwhile, average intercity Class I bus fares rose 32 percent, from $22.9 to $30.1, between 1996 and 2002. [G-16]
  • The RITA/BTS " U.S. origin only" Air Travel Price Index (ATPI) increased 14 percent between the first quarter of 1995 and the fourth quarter of 2006. During the same period, the ATPI "Foreign origin only" index decreased 5 percent. [G-17]

Box 2
Government Transportation Revenues and Expenditures

  • The Research and Innovative Technology Administration's Bureau of Transportation Statistics gathers Government Transportation Financial Statistics (GTFS) data from various sources - including the Office of Management and Budget, the U.S. Census Bureau, the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Aviation Administration, the United States Army Corps of Engineers, the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and other federal government agencies - that provide statistics on transportation-related revenues and expenditures of the federal, state and local governments for all modes of transportation. GTFS also contains federal budget authority and obligations, and grants to state and local governments. Statistics on federal expenditures, budget authority and obligations are provided at the agency and program level.
  • Federal, state, and local government transportation revenues targeted to finance transportation programs increased 8.5 percent from $114.2 billion in 1995 to $123.9 billion in 2003 (in chained 2000 dollars). [G-19]
  • Spending on building, maintaining, operating, and administering the nation's transportation system by all levels of government totaled $219.7 billion in 2003 (chained 2000 dollars). [G-21]