Businesses and passengers are shipping more goods and traveling more as the U.S. economy continues to recover, according to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics. The monthly transportation services index tracks demand for both freight and passenger travel, which is closely tied to the overall U.S. economy. The index includes all modes of transportation, including highway, transit, air, rail and water.
The demand for freight services has been showing a steady recovery since the 2008 recession, despite a drop in the January and February 2014 index. Businesses shipped fewer goods in early 2014 because of bad weather throughout much of the country. Freight transportation demand was particularly strong in the trucking and rail markets in March 2014.
Use of passenger transportation services, including local and intercity transit as well as passenger flights, also increased in March. Passengers used these services 1.2 percent more than they did in March 2013, and 0.3 percent more compared with February. Use of passenger transportation services is also fully recovered from the recession.
The index shows demand for transportation services continues to grow across all modes. However, underinvestment in the nation’s infrastructure and continued uncertainty over the federal Highway Trust Fund situation threatens the network’s ability to meet this growing demand.