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The National Transportation Network

The National Transportation Network

The American transportation system is vast and impressive. It serves millions daily – including those who may not own a vehicle or rarely travel. As transportation volumes rise, there will be need for more capacity in the skies, on the roads and rails, and elsewhere in the transportation system.

Strong economic growth in 2017 resulted in record high levels of transportation activity. Freight shipments in the U.S., an indicator of economic growth, climbed to record levels in 2017, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ (BTS) freight index. Meanwhile, other measures of transportation activity tracked by the U.S. Department of Transportation – highway driving and airline passengers – also reached record highs in 2017

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics Annual Report offers these facts and more.

Transportation Network Facts

  • The nation’s transportation assets were valued at about $7.7 trillion in 2016, a 20.6 percent increase over 2010 estimates.
  • BTS’ broadly-based freight shipment index closed the year at a record high – the seventh all-time high it reached during the year.  The index rose 6.1 percent during the year, the biggest annual gain since the post-recession recovery year of 2010.
  • More driving took place on the nation’s roads in 2017 than in any previous year, topping 3.2 trillion vehicle miles, according to the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Traffic Volume Trends. July 2017 was the top all-time month for vehicle miles, followed by August 2017.
  • The number of passengers on U.S. airlines were on pace through November to set a new yearly high in 2017, despite a hurricane-related dip in September. Through November, the number of passengers was up 3.0 percent from the same period in 2016, the previous high. July 2017 was the top all-time month for flying, followed by August 2017 and June 2017.

Transportation Network Chart miles by mode

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