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Commodity Flow Survey Overview

The Commodity Flow Survey (CFS), a component of the Economic Census, is conducted every five years by the U.S. Census Bureau in partnership with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics. The 2017 CFS is the sixth survey in the program that began in 1993. The CFS is a shipper survey of approximately 100,000 establishments from the industries of mining, manufacturing, wholesale trade, auxiliaries (i.e. warehouses and distribution centers), and select retail and service trade industries that ship commodities. Data requested by the CFS includes the type of commodities shipped, their origin and destination, their value and weight, and mode(s) of transport. The CFS provides a comprehensive multimodal picture of national freight flows and represents the only publicly available source of data for the highway mode. Results from the CFS are used to analyze trends in the movement of goods, mapping spatial patterns of commodity and vehicle flows, forecasting demands for the movement of goods, and for guiding management and investment decisions on transportation infrastructure.

The interactive dashboards below were created in Tableau and illustrate 2012 CFS data by State and CFS Area.  The last two dashboards highlight shipments that were designated as Temperature Controlled or as a Hazardous Material. The estimates displayed in these visuals are generated from the 2012 CFS Public-Use Microdata (PUM) file (Click Here). This file contains approximately 4.5 million shipments obtained from businesses included in the 2012 CFS.  For the PUM file, disclosure avoidance techniques were applied to protect the confidentiality of the data of the CFS respondents.  While properties in the original data were maintained to the extent possible, estimates generated by these dashboards are not exactly comparable to estimates provided in already published tables.