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Front Matter

About this Report

Transportation plays a vital role in the American economy: it makes economic activity possible, and serves as a major economic activity itself. Transportation Economic Trends 2018 highlights important trends in transportation and the economy, and explains related economic concepts and data sources for a general audience.


The report has eight chapters:

  • Chapter 1 introduces the Transportation Services Index, a monthly summary of freight and 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.


U.S. Department of Transportation

Elaine L. Chao
Secretary of Transportation

Jeffrey A. Rosen
Deputy Secretary of Transportation

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Patricia Hu

Rolf Schmitt
Deputy Director

Produced Under

Stephanie Lawrence
Director, Office of Statistical and Economic Analysis

Project Manager

Stephen Brumbaugh

Major Contributors

Theresa Firestine

Ken Notis

Simon Randrianarivelo


William H. Moore

Visual Information Specialist

Alpha Wingfield

Quality Assurance Statement

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) provides high quality information to serve government, industry, and the public in a manner that promotes public understanding. Standards and policies are used to ensure and maximize the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of its information. BTS reviews quality issues on a regular basis and adjusts its programs and processes to ensure continuous quality improvement.


This document is disseminated under the sponsorship of the Department of Transportation in the interest of information exchange. The U.S. Government assumes no liability for its contents or use thereof.

Updated: Wednesday, November 28, 2018