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North American Transportation Statistics

As the world's largest trading nation, the United States (U.S.) relies heavily on a vast transportation network to expedite the flow of goods and people to and from its trading partners. The Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) compiles, disseminates, validates, and analyzes a wide variety of data captured from various sources detailing trade trends, movement of goods by land, sea, and air, and personal travel.

BTS' purpose for studying international trade in the context of the U.S. and global transportation network is to assist in making knowledge-based decisions to improve the flow of goods and people. BTS works to ensure high quality international data and analysis are available to all levels of government, the private sector, and individuals studying trade and transportation. The work produced by BTS and the entities that rely on its information help to make the U.S. transportation network more efficient and competitive.


North American Transborder Freight Data
The North American Transborder Freight Database, available since April 1993, contains freight flow data by commodity type and by mode of transportation (rail, truck, pipeline, air, vessel, and other) for U.S. exports to and imports from Canada and Mexico. The database includes two sets of tables; one is commodity based while the other provides geographic detail. The purpose of the database is to provide transportation information on North American trade flows. This type of information is being used to monitor trends and changes to freight flows since the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) by the U.S., Canada and Mexico on December 1992 and its entry into force on January 1, 1994. The database is also being used for trade corridor studies, transportation infrastructure planning, marketing, logistics planning, and other purposes. It allows users to analyze movement of merchandise by all land modes, waterborne vessels, and by air carriers.

  • U.S. Transshipments through Canada or Mexico
    Transshipments are shipments of merchandise from a country of origin to a country of ultimate destination through an intermediary country. U.S. transshipment data provide information on U.S. international merchandise transshipped through an intermediary country (Canada or Mexico) prior to reaching its ultimate destination, as well as shipments from their ultimate origin through Canada or Mexico to the U.S.. For example, U.S. rice moved by rail to Canada before being loaded into a vessel for shipment to China, would be classified as a transshipment and included in this database. Only shipments that include travel between the U.S. and Canada or between the U.S. and Mexico via surface modes of transportation are included in this database.

Border Crossing/Entry Data
BTS provides monthly incoming border crossing/entry data for vehicles, containers, passengers, and pedestrians. The data represents activity at the port level on the U.S.-Canadian and U.S.-Mexican borders.

North American Transportation Statistics Interchange
Through the Interchange, U.S., Canada and Mexico have developed the North American Transportation Statistics Database that supplies users with relevant, timely and comparable transportation data and information for North America. The Interchange is a forum for the exchange of information and the initiation of joint projects of the transportation and statistical federal agencies in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.


Guide to Foreign Trade Data

For a complete explanation of the international trade statistics, refer to the Guide to Foreign Trade Statistics available from the Government Printing Office and on the Census Bureau's web site.

Additional Data for U.S. International Trade with All Countries

The International Trade Administration (ITA) maintains a list of international trade data sources as well as sources for other macroeconomic data on their website. From the ITA main page (

Frequently Asked Questions