Dollar value of goods moved on the transportation network greater than ever before

DOT_Logo_150pxWASHINGTON – U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) released the first product from the newest version of the “Freight Analysis Framework,” the most comprehensive publicly available data set of freight movement. The new data show an increase in the dollar value of goods moved on the transportation network. Earlier this week the Department released the draft National Freight Strategic Plan, which offers specific policy proposals and solutions to address the growing challenges of moving freight in this country and this data underscores the need for a plan like this.

“A transportation network that can support the freight needs of this country is essential to a healthy economy,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said. “The need for infrastructure investment is growing more urgent every day.”

Secretary Foxx emphasized the importance of freight to the economy in the Department’s study of transportation trends, “Beyond Traffic”, conducted earlier this year. The study pointed to a 45 percent growth in freight in the United States by 2040.

The newly baselined Freight Analysis Framework estimates show that in 2012, nearly 17.0 billion tons of goods worth about $17.9 trillion were moved on the transportation network, which equates to 47 million tons of goods valued at more than $49 billion a day moved throughout the country on all transportation modes – compared to $45 billion per day in 2007. Trucks remain the most commonly used mode to move freight, transporting 64 percent of the weight and 71 percent of the value in 2012 – compared to 65 percent of the value in 2007.

“Once again the importance of highways to the economy is underscored even as the passage of a long-term reauthorization bill continues to be uncertain,” Federal Highway Administrator Gregory Nadeau said. “Efficient freight movement will be at the core of business success for decades to come.”

“BTS’ Transportation Services Index issued last week shows that freight on the nation’s transportation system has grown by almost a third since the low point during the recession in April 2009,” Bureau of Transportation Statistics Director Patricia Hu said. “Today’s release of the new Freight Analysis Framework, built on BTS’ Commodity Flow Survey, is the first in a series of tools that will help officials at all levels of government plan for continued freight growth.”

The “Freight Analysis Framework” includes data on the amount and types of goods that move by land, sea and air between large metropolitan areas, states and regions. It is designed to provide information on national level freight flows across the nation’s transportation network. This information helps the public and private sectors at all levels better understand freight movement; transportation planners use it to target resources to improve operations or increase capacity. Today’s product focuses on the origin and destination component of FAF. Additional elements are planned for future release.

More detail on the “Freight Analysis Framework” is available here.

The Department also continues to welcome feedback and comment on the draft National Freight Strategic Plan. Click here to submit your thoughts and to learn more about the draft plan.

FRA_logo_wordsNEW ORLEANS – Federal Railroad Acting Administrator Sarah Feinberg and New Orleans Deputy Mayor and Chief Administrative Officer Andy Kopplin hosted the eighth of 11 nationwide regional forums on the Beyond Traffic draft framework at the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority Building. The Beyond Traffic report examines the trends and choices facing America’s transportation infrastructure over the next three decades, including a rapidly growing population, increasing freight volume, demographic shifts in rural and urban areas, and a transportation system facing more frequent extreme weather events. The report predicts increased gridlock nationwide unless changes are made in the near-term.
The town-hall style meeting allowed citizens, elected officials, metropolitan planners, transportation industry partners, business owners, and community leaders to learn more about the framework and ask questions about the trends identified in it. Acting Administrator Feinberg and Deputy Mayor Kopplin also solicited input from the participants on their region-specific experiences and asked for ideas on how to solve those challenges.
Beyond Traffic recognizes that New Orleans and the rest of the Gulf Coast megaregion will be uniquely impacted by critical transportation challenges and immense population growth over the next 30 years,” said Acting Administrator Feinberg. “As we finalize the framework, we wanted to hear directly from the residents who know their transportation systems the best. The insightful and productive discussion we had this morning is one that all Americans should be having about our country’s transportation needs.”

By 2050, the population of the Gulf Coast megaregion – which includes Baton Rouge, Birmingham, Jackson, Mobile and New Orleans – is expected to increase by more than 76 percent. But, as the condition of transportation infrastructure continues to worsen, leaders within the region have critical investment decisions to make in order to accommodate this growth in population while preserving quality of life.

“As New Orleans continues to experience unprecedented population growth, smart transportation will remain a key priority,” said New Orleans Deputy Mayor and Chief Administrative Officer Andy Kopplin. “We look forward to continuing our partnership with the federal government and our local and regional stake holders.”

Following remarks by the Deputy Mayor and Acting Administrator and a presentation from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Beyond Traffic team, Deputy Mayor Kopplin, Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden, Natchez MS Mayor Larry L. “Butch” Brown, and Louisiana Department of Transportation & Development Secretary Sherri H. LeBas participated in a panel focusing on the impact of Beyond Traffic trends in the region. The last half of the program engaged attendees in a facilitated conversation, giving them the opportunity to share feedback that will inform the final Beyond Traffic report when it is published in 2016. 

To learn more about Beyond Traffic or to read the full framework, click here.