Transportation Economic Trends

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. 

2022 Year-in-Review

  • In 2022 the wholesale and retail trade sector used the most transportation ($529 billion) and required the most transportation (9.9 cents) to produce one dollar of output.
  • Construction used the fifth largest amount of transportation ($113 billion), but required the 2nd largest amount of transportation to produce one dollar of output (5.0 cents). In 2017, construction was only required the fifth largest amount of transportation per dollar of output (4.2 cents). It rose to become the second largest user of transportation in 2022 due to not only an increase in the amount of transportation required per dollar of output but also a decline in the use of transportation by sectors that previously used more transportation than construction. In particular, the natural resources and mining sector fell from being the second largest user of transportation in 2017 (requiring 5.3 cents per dollar of output) to being the 7th (out of 12) largest user in 2022, due primarily to a decline in the use of in-house transportation.

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. 

<<Back                                                       

Recommended citation
U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Transportation Economic Trends, available at www.bts.gov/product/transportation-economic-trends.


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.
Contact us: 
202-366-DATA(3282) | answers@dot.gov