You are here

Detailed Justification for Freight Statistics

Detailed Justification for Freight Statistics

FY 2008 Request: $10,723,000
FTE: 34.0 [Includes 21.0 overhead]


The Freight Data Program develops and compiles data and information on the movement of freight within, through, into, and from the U.S. by all modes of transportation. The program provides key freight data for the Congressionally mandated Intermodal Transportation Database under SAFETEA-LU, and meets the most commonly cited, high priority freight data needs of the Department, other federal agencies, and the transportation community. Its Commodity Flow Survey is the most comprehensive source of nationwide data on the flow of goods, the geography of freight movements, and the distance of shipments that covers all modes of transportation (including multi-modal shipments); the only source of nationwide data on domestic truck freight flows; and the sole source of national-level flow data on hazardous materials shipments by highway and air that is collected by the federal government. The program also supplies the Department with transborder freight data and border crossing data used in Congressionally specified allocation formulae for border state infrastructure grants under SAFETEA-LU. The freight data program supports the DOT strategic goals of mobility and global connectivity.

Without the data provided by the Freight Data program:

  • Transborder data needed for the Border States Infrastructure Grants allocation formula required by SAFETEA-LU would be unavailable within the Department;
  • There would be major gaps in national freight data and freight shipment information, especially for nationwide domestic truck freight shipments without the Commodity Flow Survey;
  • There would no longer be a federal source for nationwide hazardous materials flow data for truck and aviation modes without the Commodity Flow Survey;
  • Base data from the Commodity Flow Survey for 2007 would be unavailable to update the Freight Analysis Framework, a Departmental tool that resides in the Federal Highway Administration that allows analysis of freight movements by all Operating Administrations for their particular purposes;

FY 2007 Base

The Freight Data Program for FY 2007 includes final preparation for and the conduct of the 2007 Commodity Flow Survey, and processing and disseminating international trade and freight transportation data, including data used in the formulas for calculating apportionments for border state infrastructure grants under SAFETEA-LU.

Anticipated FY 2007 Accomplishments

  • Publish U.S. North American Trade and Freight Transportation Highlights, a report which provides a comprehensive summary of North American Freight flows for all modes of transportation.
  • Finalize research via Joint Investigative Teams with the Census Bureau to address specific issues and research areas related to the 2007 Commodity Flow Survey such as scope and industry coverage; sampling, weighting, and estimation; mileage calculation process; and form design and content. Finalize the survey instrument and field the survey. Begin to calculate the miles for freight shipments collected in the survey.
  • Release the Transborder and Border Crossing Freight data, permitting scheduled and reliable access to a wide variety of customers who utilize the U.S. international freight data, including Departmental staff, Congressional staff, state transportation departments, international organizations, and universities and academics. Customers use these data for a variety of purposes, including trade corridor studies and transportation infrastructure planning.
  • Participate in planning and design workshops for the International Trade Data System (ITDS) that are held by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection to ensure that needed transportation data are provided.

FY 2008 Budget Request

In FY 2008, the Freight Statistics Program will validate and finalize the data collected for the 2007 Commodity Flow Survey—a major, national benchmark survey of shippers. It will also finalize mileage calculations for the shipments in the survey. The Freight Statistics Program will continue to release transborder and border crossing freight data on a monthly basis, providing data users with trade statistics on the commodities and mode of transportation used with our largest trading partners. The Freight Statistics program will include outreach to customers to assure that the most important data are being provided, and innovative methods for meeting freight data needs at the state and local levels will be encouraged. The Freight Statistics Program will initiate design, testing and deployment of the ITDS freight data system, in cooperation with other DOT agencies.

IT investment: The Intermodal Transportation Database (RITAX004) investment costs for the freight program total $0.21 million and includes 1.0 FTE, the freight portion of BTS’ data warehouse.

Explanation of Funding Changes for Freight Statistics

Amount: −480,000

The budget reduction for the freight program is due to the FY 2008 reduction for Revenue Aligned Budget Authority (RABA).