Transportation Economic Trends

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TRANSPORTATIONECONOMIC TRENDS2017U.S. Department of TransportationBureau of Transportation Statistics

TRANSPORTATIONECONOMIC TRENDS2017U.S. Department of TransportationBureau of Transportation Statistics

iACKNOWLEDGEMENTSU.S. Department of TransportationElaine L. ChaoSecretary of TransportationJeffrey A. RosenDeputy Secretary of TransportationProject ManagerStephen BrumbaughMajor ContributorsTheresa FirestineKen NotisBureau of Transportation StatisticsPatricia HuDirectorOther ContributorsSimon RandrianariveloRolf SchmittDeputy DirectorEditorWilliam H. MooreProduced UnderEd StrockoDirector, Office of Spatial Analysis andVisualization

iiQUALITY ASSURANCE STATEMENTThe Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) provides high quality information to servegovernment, industry, and the public in a manner that promotes public understanding.Standards and policies are used to ensure and maximize the quality, objectivity, utility, andintegrity of its information. BTS reviews quality issues on a regular basis and adjusts itsprograms and processes to ensure continuous quality improvement.NoticeThis document is disseminated under the sponsorship of the Department ofTransportation in the interest of information exchange. The U.S. Government assumes noliability for its contents or use thereof.

iiiABOUT THIS REPORTTransportation plays a vital role in the American economy: it makes economic activitypossible, and serves as a major economic activity itself. Transportation Economic Trends 2017highlights important trends in transportation and the economy, and explains relatedeconomic concepts and data sources for a general audience.OrganizationThe report has eight chapters: Chapter 1 introduces the Transportation Services Index, a monthly summary of freightand passenger movement. Chapter 2 explains what transportation contributes to the American economy. Chapter 3 examines the costs that households and businesses pay for transportation. Chapter 4 analyzes transportation-related employment. Chapter 5 explains and examines trends in transportation productivity. Chapter 6 analyzes household spending on transportation goods and services. Chapter 7 examines government transportation spending and revenue. Chapter 8 discusses transportation assets and infrastructure.Each chapter uses the latest data available as of June 15, 2017 unless otherwise noted.Improvements to the 2017 EditionTransportation Economic Trends 2017 builds on the 2016 edition with updated data and newcontent, including: An expanded discussion of transportation productivity measures and how thetransportation sector has contributed to economic growth in the United States (chapter5); National data measuring the value of and investment in transportation assets (chapter8); Additional explanations of economic concepts and data sources; A glossary of economic and transportation terms.

ivTABLE OF CONTENTS1 Summary Indicators1Transportation Services Index1TSI and the Economy4TSI and Other Economic Indicators6Gross Domestic Product (GDP)6Industrial Production and Manufacturers’ Shipments7Inventories-to-Sales Ratio8Seasonally Adjusted Transportation Data9Seasonally Adjusted Freight Transportation10Seasonally Adjusted Passenger Transportation11Seasonally Adjusted Highway Vehicle-Miles Traveled132 Transportation’s Contribution to the EconomyTransportation-Related Final Demand1414Transportation-Related Final Demand by GDP Component15Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by Major Social Function18Contribution of Transportation Services Produced: Value Added18For-Hire Transportation Services Produced in the Economy18State Gross Domestic Product from Transportation and Warehousing22Transportation Satellite Accounts23Transportation Satellite Account Results24Use of For-Hire and In-House Transportation by Industry26Transportation Required Per Dollar of Output by Sector283 How Much Does Transportation Cost?29Costs to Use Transportation Services29Producer Price Index30Consumer Price Index for Urban Consumers33Fuel Prices35Sales Price of Transportation Fuel36Average Motor Gasoline Prices by Region37

vCosts to Deliver Transportation ServicesEquipment CostsCosts of For-Hire Travel383839Aviation Fares41Intercity Railroad Fares43Commuter Railroad Fares44Transit Fares454 Transportation Employment46Transportation-Related Employment in the United States46Transportation Employment by Industry and Occupation47Employment in the For-Hire Transportation and Warehousing Sector47Employment in Selected Transportation-Related Industries49Transportation Employment by Occupation50Part-Time and Full-Time Employment54Wages and Compensation55Transportation Employment by State57Transportation Establishments, Employees, and Payroll57Employment by Mode605 Transportation Productivity62What is Productivity?62Productivity Measurements62Labor Productivity64Multifactor Productivity66Sources of Economic Growth68Per-Mile Revenue Measures69Revenue per Passenger-Mile69Domestic Air Carrier Revenues70Freight Revenue per Ton-Mile716 Household Spending on Transportation73Personal Consumption Expenditures73Expenditures on Personal Vehicles75

viExpenditures on Intercity and Local For-Hire TransportationHousehold Transportation Expenditures7576Expenditures on Personal Vehicles78Expenditures on Intercity and Local For-Hire Transportation79Transportation Expenditures and Income80Per-Mile Vehicle Operating Costs7 Government Transportation Revenues and Expenditures8182Government Transportation Revenue82Sources of Government Transportation Revenue84Government Transportation Spending87Federal Transportation Spending by Mode89State and Local Transportation Spending by Mode91Public-Private Partnerships96State and Federal Funding of Public Transit96Government Transportation Revenue and Expenditures988 Value of And Investment in Transportation Infrastructure and Other Assets99Value of Transportation Capital Stock101Investment in Transportation Assets103Public Investment in Transportation105Private Investment in Transportation106Value of Construction Put in Place107Highway Construction Costs109Estimating the Benefits of Transportation Infrastructure110Accessibility Benefits111Glossary112Acronyms and Initialisms115

1Transportation Economic Trends1 SUMMARY INDICATORSTransportation makes economic activity possible by enabling the production of goods andservices—for instance, in carrying the raw materials needed to manufacture goods.Transportation also serves as a major economic activity itself. Households, businesses, andthe government directly consume transportation goods (e.g., vehicles and motor fuel) andservices (e.g., public transit and commercial airline transportation) to meet their travelneeds. This chapter shows transportation’s relationship to the economy, while Chapter 2measures the indirect and direct contribution of transportation to the economy.Transportation Services IndexTransportation activities have a strong relationship to the economy. The Bureau ofTransportation Statistics (BTS) developed the Transportation Services Index (TSI) tomeasure the volume of freight and passenger transportation services provided monthly bythe for-hire transportation sector in the United States (box 1-1). For-hire transportationconsists of the services provided by transportation firms to industries and the public on afee basis. Airlines, railroads, transit agencies, common carrier trucking companies, andpipelines are examples of for-hire transportation. Other types of transportation arediscussed in Chapter 2.Box 1-1: Transportation Services IndexThe Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ (BTS) Transportation Services Index (TSI) measures thevolume of freight and passengers moved. BTS produces three indexes: a freight index, a passengerindex, and a combined index. The indexes incorporate monthly data from multiple for-hiretransportation modes. Each index shows the month-to-month change in for-hire transportationservices. Monthly data on each mode of transportation is seasonally adjusted, then combined intothe three indexes. The passenger index is a weighted average of data for passenger aviation, transit,and passenger rail. The freight index is a weighted average of data for trucking, freight rail,waterborne, pipeline, and air freight. The combined index is a weighted average of all these modes.These indexes serve both as multimodal monthly measures of the state of transportation and asindicators of the U.S. economic future.Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, 2017.Figure 1-1 shows the steps used to create the TSI, from collecting raw data, throughseasonally adjusting and indexing the data, to combining them into summary chainedindexes (box 1-2). The green boxes in figure 1-1 highlight the data input and process for thepassenger TSI, and the blue boxes highlight the data input and process for the freight TSI.The two indexes are then appropriately weighted to create the combined TSI.

Summary Indicators2Figure 1-1: Transportation Services Index (TSI) Production ProcessSource: U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransportationServices Index, available at 1-2 illustrates trends in the TSI from January 2000 to March 2017. Overall, thecombined TSI increased by 21.7 percent, the freight TSI increased by 17.8 percent, and thepassenger TSI increased by 30.2 percent. However, all three measures declined in the wakeof the September 2001 terrorist attacks. The passenger TSI dropped sharply—19.3 percentfrom August 2001 to September 2001 due to significant declines in passenger air travel. Theindexes also decreased sharply during the Great Recession from December 2007 to June2009. The combined TSI decreased by 11.4 percent, the passenger TSI decreased by 6.7percent, and the freight TSI decreased by 13.2 percent. All three indexes have sincerecovered to pre-recession levels.

3Transportation Economic TrendsFigure 1-2: Transportation Services Index (TSI), January 2000 to March 2017130TSI passengerIndex (year 2000 average 100)125120115110105100TSI total95TSI freight9085802000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017Note: Shaded areas indicate economic recessions.Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransportationServices Index, available at 1-2: Chained IndexingMany economic measures use a fixed base year to allow comparisons over time. However, themeasures are highly sensitive to the base year chosen, and choosing a new base year can changethe measure's history dramatically. In the past, when government economists changed the baseyear for calculating GDP, the revised growth calculations sparked many debates about the true stateof the economy. At the same time, these measures become less accurate the further one movesaway from the base year. In other words, keeping the base year fixed introduces a new problem.One method to address these issues is chained indexing, a technique that uses values from thecurrent year and the fixed year to calculate values. For the Transportation Services Index, theBureau of Transportation Statistics uses the Fisher Ideal Index formula to chain the data. Technicaldetails are available at U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, 2017.

Summary Indicators4TSI and the EconomyBTS research shows that changes in the TSI occur before changes in the economy, makingthe TSI a potentially useful economic indicator. 1 Figure 1-3 illustrates the relationshipbetween the freight TSI and the national economy from January 1979 to December 2016.The dashed blue line shows the freight TSI detrended to remove long-term changes. Thered line shows the freight TSI detrended and smoothed to eliminate month-to-monthvolatility as well. The shaded areas represent economic slowdowns, or periods wheneconomic growth slows below normal rates and unemployment tends to rise as a result ofthe slowdown. The peaks and troughs show that the freight TSI usually peaks before agrowth slowdown begins and hits a trough before a growth slowdown ends (box 1-3).Two economic accelerations followed the Great Recession: the first from June 2009 toDecember 2012, and the second from July 2013 to December 2014. BTS research shows thatthe freight TSI led both accelerations; however, the relationship between the freight TSIand growth cycles changed somewhat. 2 The freight TSI reached a peak in December 2011and turned downward. This occurred 12 months before the economic deceleration thatbegan in December 2012. The freight TSI turned a second time before December 2012,hitting a trough in October 2012 and turning upward. Historically, the freight TSI has not hita trough and turned upwards before the onset of an economic deceleration. The economicdeceleration begun in December 2012 ended in July 2013. The freight TSI peaked inDecember 2014 and turned downwards at the same time as the growth cycle.See U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, “TSI and the EconomyRevisited,” December 2014, available at U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, “Long Term Growth inFreight Transportation Services: Methods and Findings,” December 2017, available

5Transportation Economic TrendsFigure 1-3: Freight Transportation Services Index and the Economic Growth Cycle,January 1979 to December 201615Dec 94Detrended and smoothed105Mar 81Dec 99Jan 88Jan 08Nov 04Apr 84Dec 11 Dec 140Nov 06Oct 12-5Nov 82Oct 85Sep 96May 91Dec 01Detrended-10May 09-15Jan 79Jan 82Jan 85Jan 88Jan 91Jan 94Jan 97Jan 00Jan 03Jan 06Jan 09Jan 12Jan 15Notes: Shaded areas indicate decelerations in the economy (growth cycles). Detrending andsmoothing refer to statistical procedures that make it easier to observe changes in upturns anddownturns of the data. Detrending removes the long-term growth trend and smoothing eliminatesmonth-to-month volatility.Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransportationServices Index, available at 1-3: Expansions, Recessions, and Growth CyclesIn an economic expansion, the economy is growing in real terms, as shown by increases in statisticslike employment, industrial production, sales, and personal incomes. In a recession, the economy iscontracting, as shown by decreases in those statistics. In the United States, the National Bureau ofEconomic Research (NBER) determines the official dates for expansions and recessions, whichtogether make up business cycles. A business cycle has four phases: an expansion, a peak, arecession, and a trough. An expansion is measured from the trough (or bottom) of the previousbusiness cycle to the peak of the current cycle, while recession is measured from the peak to thetrough.Growth cycles occur within a business cycle, and represent the cyclical changes in the economy thatare evident once the long-term trend and seasonality have been removed. Growth cycles thereforehighlight accelerations and decelerations in the economy.Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, 2017.

Summary Indicators6TSI and Other Economic IndicatorsTo understand the relationships between transportation and the rest of the economy, onecan compare trends in the TSI with trends in other economic measures. The economicmeasures are presented as indexes for comparability with the TSI.Gross Domestic Product (GDP)Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the broadest measure of the economy. The U.S. GDPincludes the monetary value of all goods and services produced within the United States.Between the first quarters of 2000 and 2017, real GDP increased 36.4 percent, and thefreight TSI increased by 21.1 percent (figure 1-4). This growth hides the extended period ofdecline during the recession. From the fourth quarter of 2007 to the second quarter of2009, GDP decreased 4.2 percent, and the freight TSI decreased 13.9 percent. Bothmeasures have since recovered to pre-recession levels. GDP includes many sectors besidestransportation, so the magnitude of changes in GDP and the TSI cannot be directlycompared.Figure 1-4: Quarterly Gross Domestic Product and Freight Transportation ServicesIndex (seasonally adjusted), Q12000 to Q1 2017Index (year 2000 average 100)140130GDP120110TSI Freight10090802000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017Note: Shaded areas indicate economic recessions.Sources: GDP: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, National Income andProduct Accounts, table 1.1.6, available at nipa.cfm. Freight TSI: U.S.Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Transportation Services Index,available at

7Transportation Economic TrendsIndustrial Production and Manufacturers’ ShipmentsIndustrial production and manufacturers’ shipments are major sources of demand forfreight transportation services (box 1-4). When these shipments declined during the 2007 to2009 recession, the freight TSI declined as well. From December 2007 to June 2009,industrial production declined by 17.3 percent, and manufacturers’ shipments declined by21.6 percent (figure 1-5). After the recession, industrial production increased by 18.3 percentand manufacturers’ shipments increased by 29.9 percent. However, manufacturers’shipments recently declined 10.1 percent from September 2014 to February 2016.Box 1-4: Industrial Production and Manufacturers’ Shipments DataData on industrial production come from the Industrial Production Index, published monthly by theFederal Reserve Board. It measures real output in the U.S. industrial sector, which includesmanufacturing, mining, and electric and gas utilities.Data on manufacturers’ shipments come from the Census Bureau’s Manufacturers’ Shipments,Inventories, and Orders (M3) survey. This survey provides monthly data on economic conditions inthe domestic manufacturing sector, and measures the dollar value of products sold bymanufacturing establishments and is based on net selling values after discounts and allowances areexcluded. Freight charges and excise taxes are excluded.Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, 2017.

Summary Indicators8Figure 1-5: Monthly Industrial Production, Manufacturers’ Shipments, and Freight TSI(seasonally adjusted), January 2000 to March 2017150Manufacturers' ShipmentsIndex (year 2000 average 100)140130TSI Freight120110Industrial Production10090802000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017Note: Shaded areas indicate economic recessions.Sources: Industrial Production: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, IndustrialProduction Index, available at Manufacturers’Shipments: U.S. Bureau of the Census, Value of Manufacturers’ Shipments for All ManufacturingIndustries, available at Freight TSI: U.S. Department ofTransportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Transportation Services Index, available les RatioWhen businesses keep greater amounts of inventory on hand, they use less freighttransportation. One measure of inventory on hand is the inventories-to-sales ratio, or thevalue of goods on shelves and warehouses divided by monthly sales. A ratio of 2.5, forexample, would indicate that a business has enough goods to cover sales for 2.5 months.When the inventories-to-sales ratio increases, the freight TSI tends to decrease at the sametime or soon after. Conversely, when businesses move greater amounts of inventory andinventories to sales ratio falls, the freight TSI tends to increase.


fee basis. Airlines, railroads, transit agencies, common carrier trucking companies, and pipelines are examples of for-hire transportation. Other types of transportation are discussed in Chapter 2. Box 1-1: Transportation Services Index The Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ (BTS) Transportation Services Index (TSI) measures the

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