It won't make you feel better the next time you're caught in traffic, but it turns out there's a lot more freight moving on the nation's transportation system than previously reported. The Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) has revised its estimates sharply upward in a new report, Freight in America.
The new estimates indicate that 25 percent more freight as measured in value and 23 percent more as measured by weight moves on the transportation network than BTS originally estimated. These new totals include previously uncounted sectors like construction, retail, services and municipal solid waste.
In its new report, the BTS estimates that more than 19 billion tons of freight, valued at $13 trillion, were carried over 4.4 trillion ton-miles in 2002. This means that on a typical day that year, about 53 million tons of goods valued at about $36 billion moved on the nation's multimodal transportation network.