Transportation 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


1. U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, “Gross Domestic Product by Industry,” available at, 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, as of March 2004. Data from the new analysis were not available at the time this report was prepared.