Contribution of Transportation to the Economy:

Use of Transportation by Industry or Sector

Transportation also indirectly contributes to the economy. This page shows transportation's indirect contribution by highlighting the use of transportation in the production of goods and services. Industries rely on transportation to acquire raw materials to produce goods and services and deliver finished goods to markets. 

2020 Year-in-Review
  • In 2020 the wholesale and retail trade sector used the most transportation ($355 billion) and required the most transportation (9.1 cents) to produce one dollar of output.
  • Utilities ($32 billion), other services ($29 billion), and information ($28 billion) used the least transportation, but utilities required the 2nd largest amount of transportation to produce one dollar of output (6.1 cents) and other services ranked 7th (3.3 cents).

Total Amount of Transportation Used by Industry or Sector| Amount of Transportation Required Per Dollar of Output 
Total Amount of Transportation Used by Industry or Sector  
Producers rely on transportation services to access supplies and customers. Industries or sectors using the largest amount of transportation services are those producing the most output and hence requiring the largest amount of inputs.

Total Amount of Transportation Used by Industry or Sector Amount of Transportation Required Per Dollar of Output 
Amount of Transportation Required per Dollar of Output
Looking at the amount of transportation services required to produce a dollar of output shows how much an industry or sector depends on transportation services. Producers that use a smaller, total dollar amount of transportation do not necessarily require the least amount of transportation to produce output. For example, utilities uses a smaller total dollar amount of transportation, but requires more transportation per dollar of output than most other sectors. 


U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Transportation Economic Trends, available at

Bureau of Transportation Statistics
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.