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The Commodity Flow Survey

A rich source of data on the movement of goods in the United States

Ton Miles by Transportation Mode: 1997-2007The Commodity Flow Survey (CFS) is a joint effort by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) and the U.S. Census  Bureau. The CFS produces data on the type, value, weight, origin and destination, and transportation mode of commodity shipments originating from U.S. manufacturing, mining, wholesale, and select retail establishments.

The CFS, as part of the Economic Census, is conducted every 5 years in years ending in 2 and 7.Preliminary data tables for the 2012 CFS are now available, and the detailed final data will be released in December 2014.

CFS data are used by policy makers and transportation planners in Federal, State, and local agencies to assess demand for transportation facilities and services, energy use, safety risk, and environmental concerns.

Additionally, business owners, private researchers, and analysts use the CFS data to analyze trends in the movement of goods, map spatial patterns of commodity and vehicle flows, forecast demands for the movement of goods, and to determine needs for associated infrastructure and equipment.

CFS Based Publications

  • United States: National Data

  • United States: Hazardous Materials

  • United States: Exports

The CFS also provides data for the following web-based sources:

  • State Summaries: Commodity Flow Survey

  • American FactFinder

Commodities by Tons Shipped: 2002 and 2007

Millions of Tons of Commodities

  2002 2007
Total 11,668 12,543
Agriculture products and fish 1,139 1,077
Grains, alcohol, and tobacco products 652 706
Stones, nonmetallic minerals, and metallic ores 2,645 2,877
Coal and petroleum products 3,300 3,595
Basic chemicals, chemical, and pharmaceutical products 882 891
Logs, wood products, and textile and leather 701 757
Base metal and machinery 1,476 1,720
Electronic, motorized vehicles, and precision instruments 219 193
Furniture, mixed freight and misc. manufactured products 629 725

Note: Totals include less than 1 million tons of SCTG 99 (Commodity Unknown) in 2007 and 24 million tons of SCTG 99 in 2002.
Source: Research and Innovative Technology Administration, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, and U.S. Census Bureau, American FactFinder, 2007 Commodity Flow Survey, Table A06, available at http://factfinder2.census.gov/.

Updated: Tuesday, February 13, 2018