Summary

Summary

The Transportation Statistics Annual Report presents transportation data and information that the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), a component of the U.S. Department of Transportation's Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA), has selected in accordance with the 13 topics specified in the Department's legislative mandate-the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU). Where possible, the figures and tables cover the 10 most recent years for which data are available. BTS has expanded and restructured this year's report.

Chapter 1 highlights environmental stewardship and transportation security, and contains a summary of the 2007 Commodity Flow Survey. Chapter 2 explores transportation infrastructure, safety, congestion, and global connectivity. These groupings reflect the intermodal/multimodal nature of the U.S. transportation system, which is a complex system of systems. For the reader's convenience, Chapter 3 examines the modal systems that comprise the U.S. transportation system, including civil aviation, motor vehicle highway system, marine transportation system, railroad network, and transit. Chapter 4 describes the economic and social impact of the U.S. transportation system.

The legislative mandate, SAFETEA-LU1, also requires BTS to document the methods used to obtain the report's statistical information, ensure its quality, and make recommendations for improving transportation statistical information. In Chapter 5, the major BTS program offices respond to this requirement. This chapter identifies the guidelines that apply to federal data quality and the statistics included in this report. Further, this chapter focuses on closing data gaps and improving the ways in which transportation statistics are collected, compiled, analyzed and published.

Appendix A includes a list of acronyms used throughout the report. Appendix B provides a glossary. Appendix C includes the ferry routes and terminal maps for New York, NY, San Francisco, CA, and Seattle, WA, as well as maps highlighting alternative fueling stations. Appendix D provides a snapshot of the U.S. demographics factors-such as population, labor force, and economic conditions-that influence travel patterns and goods movement (1 of the 13 topics).

For your convenience, the table on the following page lists each topic required in the law. Congress modified and expanded this list in its 2005 establishment of RITA and reauthorization of BTS.

Thirteen Topics as Specified in the SAFETEA-LU Legislation
(49 U.S.C. 111 (c) (5))

Topics

  • Productivity in various parts of the transportation sector
  • Traffic flows for all modes of transportation
  • Other elements of the Intermodal Transportation Database established under subsection (e) of 49 U.S.C. 111
  • Travel times and measures of congestion
  • Vehicle weights and other vehicle characteristics
  • Demographic, economic, and other variables influencing traveling behavior (including choice of transportation mode) and goods movement
  • Transportation costs for passenger travel and goods movement
  • Availability and use of mass transit (including number of passengers served by each mass transit authority) and other forms of for-hire passenger travel transportation service
  • Safety and security for travelers, vehicles, and transportation systems
  • Consequences of transportation for the human and natural environment
  • The extent, connectivity, and condition of the transportation system, building on the National Transportation Atlas Database developed under subsection (g) of 49 U.S.C. 111
  • Transportation-related variables that influence the domestic economy and global competitiveness

1 Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: a Legacy for Users, 49 U.S.C. 111.