Understanding how freight moves throughout the country and to and from the nation's ports is essential in informing the USDOT's transportation policy and investment decisions. The Freight Statistics Program is designed to bring this information to light by conducting comprehensive multimodal freight surveys and data analyses.
FY 2012 Freight Statistics Program
|Program Activity||FY 2010 Actual||FY 2012 Request||ChangeFY 2010-2012|
|Freight Statistics Program||10,723||16,021||5,298|
1 The total funding includes salaries and administrative expenses and contract program.
The base program includes continued analysis and research using the 2007 Commodity Flow Survey data and international trade and freight transportation data and analysis, including data for the formula used in calculating apportionments for border state infrastructure grants (Federal Highway Administration). The Freight Statistics Program produces special and focused reports on key transportation issues.
Commodity Flow Survey
The Commodity Flow Survey (CFS) is the flagship survey of the Freight Statistics Program and has been recognized within USDOT and by external customers as one of the USDOT's most valued freight data series since its initiation in 1993. Although the CFS is a multimodal survey, it is the only available source of national freight data for the highway mode. It also provides the most comprehensive set of national data on the movement of hazardous materials. These data are also fundamental in supporting the USDOT's strategic objective of economic competitiveness.
International Data Program
BTS is currently focusing its International Data Program on data collection, analysis and outreach. Topics covered by the current program include U.S. international trade and transportation, travel and border crossings, North American transportation research, and global competitiveness. All of these functional areas are focused on data collection, integration, analysis and outreach. The largest topic area for the International Data Program is international multi-modal freight transportation data and information. Transborder data collection and analysis is ongoing and is released monthly. The International Freight Data System (IFDS) partnership project is DOT agencies' interface with the Customs and Border Protection's International Trade Data System (ITDS). Section 405 of the SAFE Port Act of 2006 formally established ITDS. The SAFE Port Act requires all agencies with import and export regulations and authorities to participate in ITDS.
Program Funding Increases:
Commodity Flow Survey (CFS) $2M
Even though it is considered the most comprehensive national survey of commodity movements, limitations to CFS data are caused by sample size constraints and coverage issues. In addition, the CFS scope and methodology must be continuously assessed and reexamined to address changes in freight transportation logistics and business operations. The 2012 CFS will oversample specific industries/geographies to provide more robust estimates for specific modes (particularly less frequently used modes like water and air) or specific important commodities (e.g., biofuels).
The FY 2012 enhancement request is for $2M to maintain the current sample size and operation and support a slightly expanded coverage of establishments.
The Vehicle Inventory and Use Survey (VIUS) $3M
The $3M funding increase for VIUS will capture the physical and operating characteristics of trucks nationallycrucial data for evaluating the role of trucks in transportation. Data from the VIUS will be used to conduct safety analysis, estimate fuel consumption and the economic productivity of trucks, and develop statistics of highway usage and cost allocation. Since a significant percentage of trucks are owned by households and used for personal transportation, the VIUS will collect key information about passenger travel as well as freight. Plans include expansion of coverage to automobiles and buses for a very small cost increment to provide a complete picture of vehicle use for personal and business purposes.
International Freight Data System (IFDS) $.9M
This increase to the IFDS program will be used to address safety, regulatory, legislative and policy issues, and to conduct research and analysis. International data used by USDOT are obtained from this and other sources and disassociates the shipper from the manifest (or transportation) data, which impedes the production of accurate transportation statistics. USDOT obtains international transportation data from Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
The IFDS would improve import and export data quality and provide an automated system for obtaining multimodal and intermodal international cargo movement from a single source. USDOT modal partners will obtain critical data including hazardous materials shipment data, vehicle and vehicle parts import data, mode of transportation data, and analytical and statistical data via the IFDS to support resource allocation decisions, risk assessments, licensing decisions, and safety standard reviews. This project also supports agencies with import and export (global supply chain security) roles and responsibilities.
RITA aims to design and build the IFDS data warehouse and interface with CBP on behalf of USDOT modal administrations, which will share multi-modal data from a single portal.
Ongoing and consistent commitment for annual contributions from the modal administrations for operation and maintenance (O&M) is required due to budget constraints. To alleviate a potential risk for recurring O&M costs, this request would fund O&M for the IFDS on behalf of the USDOT partnering agencies.
Key Actions: Conduct an enhanced/expanded 2012 Commodity Flow Survey (CFS) data collection; operate and maintain the International Freight Data System; design the Vehicle Inventory and Use Survey (VIUS).
Key Outputs: Complete 2012 CFS data collection; Methodology for the VIUS and targeted surveys; IFDS data delivery to modal customers.
Key Outcomes: Comprehensive national and international freight data made available for transportation planning and policy decisions for all modes of transportation. Data will be available to transportation decision makers to support data-driven decisions, to support efficient allocation of resources and effective transportation investments.
Strategic Goals: Safety, environmental sustainability, state of good repair, livable communities, and economic competitiveness. The USDOT Strategic Plan identifies the need for intermodal and cross-modal research and data-driven decision-making. For example, through these programs, national (CFS) and international (IFDS) hazardous materials shipment data will be made available for the USDOT agencies for safety, regulatory evaluation, analysis, and risk assessment.
Purpose/Beneficiaries: Develops and compiles data on freight movements within, through, into and from the U.S. by all modes of transportation.
Partners: USDOT modal administrations, other federal agencies and the transportation industry.
Description: Collects, compiles, and analyzes freight data for all modes of transportation, and provides analytic reports and products from a multimodal and intermodal perspective on the performance and impacts of national and international freight flows on the national transportation system.
Prior Year Accomplishments:
Information on the movement of goods as described in the Intermodal Transportation Data, National Transportation Atlas Database, and Transportation Statistics Annual Report has been requested by Congress in the past. Goods movement data are central to analyses of transportation projects required under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and other federal legislation.
Support of interstate commerce is a core function of the federal government. Data describing the volume, value, and geography of freight movement and performance of the transportation system identify the most cost-effective investments in freight infrastructure. These data help policy-makers understand the potential effectiveness of proposed regulations, financial incentives, and other policies to improve safety and environmental sustainability. Freight data are also key to understanding and enhancing the role of the domestic transportation system in moving U.S. international trade, particularly in supporting the Presidential goal of increasing exports.
Further expansion of the 2012 CFS will allow for increased flow data and better commodity by mode estimates. Through the first phase of the IFDS data warehouse and interface with Customs and Border Protection's import data, USDOT will obtain international transportation data to address safety, environmental and policy issues, and for research and analysis.
Economic activity is variable and must be monitored to assure that the freight transportation system is responding effectively to the nation's logistical needs. Failure to meet the logistical needs of manufacturing and services can result in loss of jobs and reduced spending on other economic activities. Without requested FY 2012 funds, the CFS would not continue and the national freight data program would decline.
Effective: Demand from the USDOT, modal administrations, research community, industry, state and local governments, and the general public. A wide array of transportation data users rely on data from the Freight Data Program, including researchers and media who utilize the data and analysis.
Research: BTS receives routine feedback from its stakeholders and customers through formal and informal means. This includes:
Sub-program balance: Sub-programs necessary for understanding freight flows.
Efficient: TRB panels have identified these collections as the optimal approach.
Funding options: FY 2012 $16.021M
History/outyear needs: FY 2010 $10.723M; FY 2012 $16.021M.