Freight Transportation System Extent & Use
Miles of infrastructure by transportation mode
Freight travels over an extensive network of highways, railroads, waterways, pipelines, and airways. Road infrastructure increased 6.0 percent while traffic volume increased 17.9 percent, from 2,747 billion to 3,262 billion vehicle-miles traveled, over the 2000 to 2019 period. During that time, the total miles of gas pipeline mileage increased by 22.2 percent while Class I rail miles declined by 23.5 percent.
Freight intermodal connectors on the National Highway System by state
Intermodal connectors provide access between major intermodal facilities, such as ports and truck/pipeline terminals, and the National Highway System (NHS). Although freight intermodal connectors account for less than 1 percent of total NHS mileage (2,593 miles in 2022), they are vital for truck movement. Texas has the highest number of freight intermodal connectors (97), followed by Ohio (65).
National Network for conventional combination trucks
The National Network (NN) was established by Congress in 1982 to facilitate interstate commerce and encourage regional and national economic growth by requiring states to allow conventional combination trucks on the Interstate System and portions of the Federal-aid Primary System of highways. The NN, which has not changed significantly in three decades, differs in extent and purpose from the National Highway System (NHS). Both are about the same length, roughly 200,000 miles, but the NN includes approximately 65,000 miles of highways beyond the NHS, and the NHS includes about 50,000 miles of highways that are not on the NN. The NN supports interstate commerce by regulating the size of trucks, while the NHS supports interstate commerce by focusing federal investments.
Permitted longer combination vehicles on the National Highway System
Longer combination vehicles (LCVs) include truck tractors pulling a long semi-trailer plus a short trailer (often called a Rocky Mountain Double), a long semi-trailer and a long trailer (often called a Turnpike Double), or a short semi-trailer and two trailers (called a Triple). Although all states allow conventional combinations consisting of a 28-foot semi-trailer and a 28-foot trailer, only 14 states and 6 state turnpike authorities allow LCVs on at least some parts of their road networks. Allowable routes for LCVs have been frozen since 1991.
Truck parking facilities by state
The survey also indicated that most states reported an increased shortage of truck parking spaces at public facilities. Public parking facilities are typically located at state rest areas and welcome centers and offer few amenities. Of the 308,920 truck parking spaces available, 88.3 percent were provided by private truck stop operators. The survey noted that 37 states had truck parking shortages at all times throughout the week, and more than 75 percent of truck drivers reported having difficulty finding safe and legal parking during rest periods required by Federal Hours of Service regulations. That number increased to 90 percent at night when drivers often must wait for their drop-off destination to open and accept deliveries. The shortage of truck parking facilities has major highway safety implications for both truck drivers and other highway users.
Number of trucks, locomotives, rail cars, and vessels
Freight flows by highway, railroad, and waterway
Average daily long-haul truck traffic on the National Highway System
Long-haul freight truck traffic in the United States is concentrated on major routes connecting population centers, ports, border crossings, and other major hubs of activity. Except for Route 99 in California and a few toll roads and border connections, most of the heaviest traveled routes are on the Interstate System.
Major truck routes on the National Highway System
Several routes carry a significant concentration of trucks, either as an absolute number or as a percentage of the traffic stream. High-volume truck routes are those that carry 8,500 or more trucks per day or 25 percent of the total traffic. In 2015, 6,229 miles of the 223,303 miles of the National Highway System were considered high-volume truck routes.
Tonnage of trailer-on-flatcar and container-on-flatcar rail intermodal moves
Different modes of transportation are frequently used in combination to move cargo. The classic forms of rail intermodal transportation are trailer-on-flatcar and container-on-flatcar, and these services are spread throughout the United States. The largest concentrations are on routes between Pacific coast ports and Chicago, southern California and Texas, and Chicago and New York.
Annual vehicle miles traveled by highway category and vehicle type
Share of highway vehicle miles traveled by vehicle type
Commercial vehicle weight enforcement activities
Top airports by landed weight of all-cargo operations
Top 25 water ports by tonnage
Top 25 water ports by containerized cargo
Number of container terminals with on-dock rail access by select port
All high-volume ports are directly connected to the rail system or have nearby rail facilities. On-dock rail transfer facilities place containers directly on trains, thereby reducing the number of truck and rail drayage trips. Most container
terminals have either on-dock transfer
facilities within the terminal boundaries or off-dock facilities nearby.
Number of vessel calls by type at U.S. ports
In 2018, there were 922,250 calls at the 49 ports that make up the principal ports by tonnage, dry bulk, and container TEU, which is a 1.5 percent increase over the number of calls in 2015. Container vessel calls increased by nearly 4.4 percent while dry bulk vessel calls declined slightly by 1.3 percent over the 2015 to 2018 period. Dry bulk barges comprised 50.2 percent of all vessel calls.