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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

USDOT traffic-flow survey: Trucks moved vast majority of U.S. freight by weight, value


In 2002, railroads moved about 16 percent of all U.S. freight as measured by weight (1.9 billion tons) and 4 percent by value ($310 billion), according to the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics' (BTS) commodity flow survey.

Trucks moved two-thirds of the freight by weight (7.8 billion tons) and three-fourths by value ($6.2 trillion). Based on ton-miles, railroads and trucks each moved about 40 percent.

Intermodal shipments accounted for 13 percent of the freight by value ($1.1 trillion) and 2 percent by weight (216 million tons).

Between 1993 and 2002, the total tonnage and value of U.S. freight increased 20 percent to about 12 billion tons and 44 percent to $8.4 trillion, respectively, the survey shows.

Conducted nationwide every five years in partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau, the survey includes freight trends by transportation mode, commodity type, distance and shipment size. BTS plans to conduct the next survey in 2007.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 1/10/2005