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Introduction

City traffic

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) provides information to support understanding and decision-making related to the transportation system, including the size and extent of the system, how it is used, how well it works, and its contributions and consequences for the economy and the environment. Congress recognized the Nation’s evolving requirements for transportation and changes in the transportation system throughout the provisions of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 and created BTS as part of that law to provide more and better information on the changing world. One provision of the law requires the BTS Director to publish an annual report on the state of the transportation system, documentation of the methods used to obtain the statistics presented and ensure the quality of those statistics, and recommendations for improving transportation statistical information [PL 102-240, Dec. 18, 1991, section 6006].

BTS published the first Transportation Statistics Annual Report in 1994.

This 20th anniversary edition of the Transportation Statistics Annual Report departs from the normal review of current transportation statistics to highlight how the world of transportation and the methods to measure that world have changed over the last two decades. Rather than cataloging trends enumerated in other BTS publications, this report focuses on three questions:

  1. Are transportation challenges and opportunities relatively unchanged after 20 years, or have new issues emerged?

  2. Do statistics developed over the last 20 years support effective understanding of transportation challenges and opportunities, or are new statistics needed?

  3. Will new methods of measurement provide new perspectives on transportation?
Updated: Saturday, May 20, 2017