Transportation Economic Trends
Revenue per Unit of Output
The impact of productivity can be seen through the price charged per unit of output. This page discusses two units of output: (1) freight revenue per ton-mile and (2) passenger revenue per passenger-mile. For modes where users do not typically pay per use, like driving a personal vehicle, data are difficult to obtain and not presented here.
- The average freight revenue per ton-mile for all modes grew faster than the producer price index (PPI) from 2018 to 2019 suggesting an increase in freight transportation costs faced by shippers above inflation. Domestic air carriers' freight revenue per ton-mile decreased faster than PPI at 10.7 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively, from 2019 to 2020, and class 1 rail decreased at a lower rate than PPI at 0.3 percent.
- Intercity rail/Amtrak passenger and commuter rail revenue per passenger-mile grew faster at 19.8 percent and 6.2 percent, respectively, than the consumer price index (CPI) at 1.2 percent, while air passenger revenue per passenger-mile decreased by 18.1 percent from 2019 to 2020. The greater growth in intercity rail/Amtrak passenger and commuter rail revenue per passenger-mile suggests an increase in passenger transportation fares faced by travelers above inflation.