Transportation Economic Trends

Value of Transportation Infrastructure and Other Assets

Transportation Economic Concepts: Transportation Infrastructure and Other Assets

This page highlights transportation economic concepts related to the value of transportation infrastructure and other assets (transportation vehicles and equipment) and transportation capital stock.

What Does Transportation Infrastructure and Other Assets Include? | What is Transportation Capital Stock?

What is transportation infrastructure?

Transportation infrastructure, also known as transportation structures in national data, consists of the structures that support the movement of goods and people, such as highways and streets, bridges, railroads, airports, and ports. It does not include transportation equipment, like motor vehicles, aircraft, and ships.

What are transportation assets?

Transportation assets are tangible assets that last more than 1 year and can be used to produce goods and services repeatedly or continuously. They include transportation infrastructure along with motor vehicles and other equipment, such as aircraft, ships, and boats used to move people and goods.  

What is transportation capital stock?

Capital stock refers to assets in existence on a certain date. To be classified as capital, an asset must be durable (i.e., storable and have an average life of at least 3 years) and expected to remain in service for at least 1 year. Assets expected to remain in service for less than a year are consumption goods and excluded. Capital stock for transportation includes fixed structures, such as railroad tracks, airports, transit stations, bus shelters, and locks and dams as well as equipment like automobiles, aircraft, and ships.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) measures the value of capital stock by cumulating investment in transportation assets and deducting the cumulated loss in value due to wear and tear, obsolescence, accidental damage, and aging known as depreciation. The resulting value is the net value of transportation capital stock, that is, the value of the stock less depreciation. The depreciation estimates assume that a fixed percentage of the assets loses value each year. BEA bases its depreciation patterns on empirical evidence of used asset prices in resale markets. For most assets, the value of economic depreciation generates a net (of depreciation) value that is a proxy for the value of economic replacement (what must be spent to maintain the volume of capital services at the existing level).

Recommended citation
U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Transportation Economic Trends (Washington, DC: 2020).

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics, part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, is the preeminent source of statistics on commercial aviation, multimodal freight activity, and transportation economics, and provides context to decision makers and the public for understanding statistics on transportation.
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