Office of Operations Freight Management and Operations

Freight Facts and Figures 2011


Freight Facts and Figures 2011 is a snapshot of the volume and value of freight flows in the United States, the physical network over which freight moves, the economic conditions that generate freight movements, the industry that carries freight, and the safety, energy, and environmental implications of freight transportation. This snapshot helps decision makers, planners, and the public understand the magnitude and importance of freight transportation in the economy. An electronic version of this publication is available at

Chapter 1 summarizes the basic demographic and economic characteristics of the United States that contribute to the demand for raw materials, intermediate goods, and finished products. Chapter 2 identifies the freight that is moved and the trading partners who move it. Chapter 3 describes the freight transportation system; volumes of freight moving over the system; the amount of highway, rail, and port activities required to move the freight; and the performance of the system. Chapter 4 highlights the transportation industry that operates the system. Chapter 5 covers the safety aspects, energy consumption, and environmental implications of freight transportation.

Many of the tables and figures in this report are based on the Economic Census, which is conducted once every five years. The most recently published data are for 2007 (except for the Vehicle Inventory and Use Survey, which was last conducted in 2002).

Several of the tables and maps are based on the Freight Analysis Framework (FAF), version 3, which builds on the Economic Census to estimate all freight flows to, from, and within the United States except shipments between foreign countries that are transported through the United States. Shipments to and from Puerto Rico are counted with Latin America.

FAF covers all modes of transportation. The truck, rail, water, and pipeline categories include shipments transported by only one mode. Air includes shipments weighing more than 100 pounds moved by air or by air and truck. The multiple modes and mail category includes all other shipments transported by more than one mode, such as bulk products moved by rail and water and mixed cargo hauled by truck and rail. Multiple modes and mail also includes small shipments sent via postal and courier services. The other and unknown category is primarily unidentified modes but includes miscellaneous categories, such as aircraft delivered to customers and shipments through foreign trade zones. Visit for more information.

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