Congestion and other impediments to use of the transportation system

Congestion and other impediments to use of the transportation system

Travel times and measures of congestion (chapter 2, section C)

  • Highway travel times increased between 1995 and 2005 in all but 15 of the 85 urban areas (82 percent) studied by the Texas Transportation Institute. [C-1]
  • It took 30 percent longer, on average, in 2005 to make a peak period trip in these 85 urban areas compared with the time it would take if traffic were flowing freely. [C-1]
  • About 75 percent of domestic air flights or reporting carriers arrived on time in 2006, compared with 79 percent in 1995. In 2007, the percentage of on time operations dropped to 73 percent. [C-3]
  • Sixty-eight percent of Amtrak trains arrived at their final destination on-time in 2006. Short-distance trains-those with runs of less than 400 miles-consistently registered better on-time performance than long-distance trains. [C-4]
  • Average line-haul speed of Class I freight railroads has been generally decreasing since a peak in early 2002. Between the second quarter 2002 and the fourth quarter 2006 line-haul speed decreased 14 percent. [C-6]
  • The average wait time in 2004 for passenger vehicles crossing the border between the United States and Canada was 5.9 minutes and 14.6 minutes for those between the United States and Mexico . The average wait time in 2004 for commercial vehicles entering the United States from Canada was 8.5 minutes and 7.3 minutes for those entering from Mexico. [C-8, C-7]

Frequency of vehicle and transportation facility repairs and other interruptions of transportation service (chapter 2, section C)

  • There were over 2.4 million roadside truck inspections in 2006, with 552 thousand out-of-service orders issued for serious violations. [C-9]
  • In 2005, rail companies replaced 424,000 tons of rail (36 percent fewer than in 1995 and 42 percent fewer than in 2000) and 13.4 million crossties (11 percent more than in 1995 and 24 percent more than in 2000). Railroads also periodically replace or rebuild locomotives and freight cars. On average, new and rebuilt locomotives made up almost 4.3 percent of Class I railroad fleets between 1995 and 2005. [C-10, C-11, C-12]
  • Transit service interruptions per 100,000 vehicle-miles for all types of transit decreased 19.9 percent between 1995 and 2000 and 6.9 percent between 2001 and 2005. [C-13]
  • Fifty-five percent of downtime at St. Lawrence Seaway locks in 2006 was a result of vessel incidents; the next largest cause of downtime was weather. [C-14]

Availability and use of mass transit and other forms of for-hire passenger transportation (chapter 2, section C)

  • U.S. domestic commercial airlines carried 692.1 million passengers in 2006. [C-16]
  • Total domestic enplanements in the U.S. increased 31 percent between 1995 and 2006. [C-16]
  • Amtrak carried 24.5 million riders in fiscal year 2006. Ridership increased 21 percent between 1995 and 2006. [C-18]
  • Approximately 66 percent of all unlinked transit passenger trips (6.5 billion of 9.8 billion trips in 2005) were within the service area of only 20 transit agencies. New York City alone accounted for 28 percent of all transit trips in 2005. [C-19]
  • There were 49.7 billion transit passenger-miles traveled (PMT) in 2005 compared with 39.8 billion PMT in 1995, an increase of 25 percent. As they have historically, transit buses had the largest PMT share in 2005, generating 22 billion PMT or 44 percent of all transit PMT. [C-21]
  • Measured in unlinked trips, transit ridership has grown 22 percent since 1995 to 9.2 billion unlinked trips in 2005. Bus ridership comprised the majority of unlinked trips (5.2 billion) in 2005. However, rail transit ridership, with 3.6 billion trips in 2005, posted stronger growth (37.5 percent) between 1995 and 2005. [C-22]
  • As of 2005, 59.5 percent of transit rail stations had complied with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility requirements, up from 28.3 percent in 1995. Ninety-nine (99) percent of transit buses, also subject to ADA requirements, were equipped with lifts or ramps by 2006. [C-23, C-24]

Traffic flows for all modes of transportation (chapter 2, section C)

  • U.S. vehicle-miles of travel (VMT) for all modes of transportation reached 3 trillion in 2005, compared to 2.4 trillion in 1995. Vehicle-miles grew for all modes, but the most rapid VMT growth was for air carriers, which increased by 45.3 percent. [C-26]
  • Passenger-miles of travel (PMT) in the United States exceeded 5.0 trillion in 2005, or about 17,800 miles for the average person. [C-27]
  • 86 percent of PMT in 2005 was in personal vehicles (passenger cars and light trucks, which include sport utility vehicles, pickup trucks, and minivans). Air carriers accounted for another 11 percent of PMT. [C-27]
  • Vehicle-miles of transit grew by 25.9 percent between 1995 and 2004, to almost 4.5 billion miles, while passenger-miles on transit grew 23.3 percent to over 49 billion. [C-26, C-27]
  • Freight ton-miles within the United States amounted to over 4.5 trillion in 2005, compared to about 4.1 trillion in 1995. [C-28]