The U.S. Department of Transportation released the 21st edition of the Transportation Statistics Annual Report for 2016 on Friday (Feb. 3). The 232-page report covers the U.S. transportation “system’s performance, its contributions to the economy and its effects on people and the environment.”
In the United States, there are nearly 4.2 million miles of roads, more than 19,000 public and private airports, about 140,000 miles of freight and passenger railroads, 25,000 miles of navigable waterways and almost 2.7 million miles of oil and gas pipelines. As of 2014, the estimated value of U.S. transportation assets increased 17.7% to about $8.1 trillion, from 2010. The public owns 50.5% of these assets, which are mostly highways and streets, but also includes transit facilities, airports, seaports and inland ports and terminals. Private companies own 31.5% of the assets, including, railroads, pipelines, trucks, airplanes and ships. Privately-owned vehicles account for the remaining 18% of assets, and annually, a U.S. resident travels about 13,000 miles.
In 2015, the amount of freight hauled by the U.S. transportation system rose 4% to 49.5 million tons, or about 56 tons of freight per person in the country, compared to 2012. In 2015, $52.7 billion in freight was shipped each day. For shipments of 750 miles or less, trucks carry the most shipments as far as value, tons and ton-miles. Rail handles the most tons and ton-miles for shipments between 750 and 2,000 miles, and air and modal combinations account for the majority in value of shipments of 2,000 miles or more. The following are some of the statistics attributed to the transportation industry:
- $1.42 trillion in purchases and investments in transportation goods and services — or 8.9% of U.S. gross domestic product in 2014
- $134.3 billion in public and private spending on transportation construction in 2015
- 1 million jobs or 9.4% of the U.S. labor force in 2014
Other transportation statistics were highlighted throughout the report:
- Percentage of structurally deficient bridges fell to 9.6% in 2015, from 12% in 2010
- Average age of commercial trucks was 14.8 years in 2015, up from 12.5 years in 2007.