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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Table 2a. Shipment Characteristics by Total Modal Activity for the United States: 2012

Monday, July 13, 2015

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(Estimates are based on data from the 2012 Commodity Flow Survey. Because of rounding, estimates may not be additive)

Mode of transportation (1) Ton-miles (2) Average miles per shipment
2012 (millions) Percent of total
Total 2,969,506 100.0 611
Truck (3) 1,255,146 42.3 223
Rail 1,387,777 46.7 878
Inland water 162,983 5.5 340
Great Lakes 31,931 1.1 414
Deep sea 65,262 2.2 1,277
Air 4,118 0.1 790
Pipeline (4) S S S
Parcel, U.S. Postal Service, or courier 22,490 0.8 910
Other modes 256 Z S

KEY: S = Withheld because estimate did not meet publication standards.

Z = Rounds to zero.

(1) Estimates represent activity for a given mode across single and multiple mode shipments. For example, “Truck” ton-miles includes total ton-miles for shipments moving only by truck plus ton-miles for truck segments of multiple mode shipments.

(2) Ton-miles estimates are based on estimated distances traveled along a modeled transportation network. See “Mileage Calculations” section for additional information.

(3) “Truck” as a single mode includes shipments that were made by only private truck or only for-hire truck.

(4) Estimates for pipeline exclude shipments of crude petroleum (SCTG 16).

NOTES: Appendix B tables provide estimated measures of sampling variability. The Introduction and appendixes give information on confidentiality protection, sampling error, nonsampling error, sample design and definitions. Links to this information on the Internet may be found at <>.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics and U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Census Bureau, 2012 Economic Census: Transportation Commodity Flow Survey, December 2014.