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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 B-2a. Estimated Measures of Reliability for 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)

Mode of transportation (1) Ton-miles (2) Average miles per shipment

coefficient of variation of number
Coefficient of variation of number Standard error of percent of total
Total 3.7 0.0 3.2
Truck (3) 1.6 1.2 4.1
Rail 8.1 2.1 3.6
Inland water 14.6 0.9 15.2
Great Lakes 26.1 0.3 13.7
Deep sea 23.7 0.5 7.5
Air 15.0 Z 13.4
Pipeline (4) S S S
Parcel, U.S. Postal Service, or courier 2.5 Z 2.7
Other modes 22.7 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: 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.