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Description of BTS Freight Data Programs

Freight Analysis Framework (FAF)

The FAF integrates data from a variety of sources to create a comprehensive picture of freight movement among states and major metropolitan areas by all modes of transportation. Starting with data from the Commodity Flow Survey (CFS) and international trade data from the U.S. Census Bureau, FAF incorporates data from all sectors that ship goods. Annual data are available by value, tonnage, and ton-miles for the movement of freight by commodity, origin, destination, and mode. A network assignment that depicts truck flows on the highway network is also produced from the commodity-origin-destination data and available for download. The FAF is produced through a partnership between Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) and the Federal Highway Administration.

FAF version 5 will be available following the release of final 2017 CFS data. Existing FAF information can be found on the BTS FAF webpage.

Commodity Flow Survey (CFS)

The CFS is a shipper survey of approximately 100,000 establishments from the industries of mining, manufacturing, wholesale trade, auxiliaries (i.e. warehouses and distribution centers), and select retail and service trade industries that ship commodities. Data requested by the CFS includes the type of commodities shipped; their origins and destinations; their values, weights and modes of transport; and whether the shipment is temperature control, hazardous materials, or an export. The CFS provides a multimodal picture of national freight flows and represents the only publicly available source of data for the highway mode. The CFS is conducted every five years in a partnership between BTS and the U.S. Census Bureau and is a component of the Economic Census. CFS 2017 is the sixth in the series that began in 1993.

Final CFS data are scheduled to be released in December 2019. CFS data products and information on survey coverage, contents, and methods can be found on the BTS CFS webpage

Border Crossing/Entry Data

The Border Crossing/Entry Data provide monthly and annual summary statistics for the number of incoming crossings at the U.S.-Canada and U.S.-Mexico border at the port level. Data are available for trucks, trains, containers, buses, personal vehicles, passengers, and pedestrians. Border crossing data are collected at ports of entry by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The data reflect the number of vehicles, containers, passengers or pedestrians entering the United States.  Comparable data on outgoing crossings are not collected by CBP.

North American TransBorder Freight

The North American TransBorder Freight Dataset consists of monthly data on freight flows between the U.S. and Canada and the U.S. and Mexico by all modes of transportation (truck, rail, pipeline, air, vessel, multimodal such as mail and other). The data are by mode and for ports of entry/exit as well as origin and destination state. Data are available by value for freight entering and leaving the U.S. and by weight for freight entering the U.S. by mode of transportation, commodity, port of entry/exit, and state of origin/destination. These aggregate data are unique subset of official U.S. export and import statistics released by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Transportation Services Index (TSI) and Seasonally-Adjusted Modal Data

BTS’ Freight TSI measures the month-to-month changes in for-hire freight shipments by mode of transportation, which are combined into one index. The index measures the output of the for-hire freight transportation industry and consists of data from for-hire trucking, rail, inland waterways, pipelines and air freight. The TSI is seasonally-adjusted to remove regular calendar effects and enable month-to-month comparisons.

BTS’ Seasonally-Adjusted Data page presents adjusted and unadjusted monthly data for all freight modes included in the TSI.

Ports Performance Freight Statistics

BTS’ Port Performance Freight Statistics Program provides nationally-consistent performance measures for the Nation’s largest ports by tonnage, container, and dry bulk, and reports annually to Congress on port capacity and throughput.

Port statistics include the volume of cargo or trade that each port handles and the number and size of vessel calls. The throughput metrics pertain to the weight, volume, and value of cargo handled: cargo weight measured in short tons, containerized cargo volume measured in twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU), cargo value measured in dollars, cargo vessel counts, vessel sizes measured in deadweight tons for all vessels, and TEU capacity for container ships.

Updated: Tuesday, February 12, 2019