Transportation in the United States is facilitated by road, air, rail, and waterways (via boats). The vast majority of passenger travel occurs by automobile for shorter distances, and airplane (or railroad, in some regions) for longer distances. In descending order, most cargoes travel by railroad, truck, pipeline, or boat; air shipping is typically used only for perishables and premium express shipments.
The overwhelming majority of roads in the United States are owned and maintained by state and local governments. Federally maintained roads are generally found only on federal lands (such as national parks) and at federal facilities (like military bases). The Interstate Highway System is partly funded by the federal government but owned and maintained by individual state governments. There are a few private highways in the United States, which use tolls to pay for construction and maintenance. There are many local private roads, generally serving remote or insular residences.
Passenger and freight rail systems, bus systems, water ferries, and dams may be under either public or private ownership and operation. Civilian airlines are all privately owned and financed. Most airports are owned and operated by local government authorities, but there are also some private airports. The Transportation Security Administration has provided security at most major airports since 2001.
The United States Department of Transportation and its divisions provide regulation, supervision, and funding for all aspects of transportation, except for customs, immigration, and security, which are the responsibility of the United States Department of Homeland Security. Each state has its own Department of Transportation, which builds and maintains state highways, and depending upon the state, may either directly operate or supervise other modes of transportation.
Aviation law is almost entirely a federal matter, while automobile traffic laws are enacted and enforced by state and local authorities (except on federal property and in unorganized territory). Economic jurisdiction over tidelands is shared between the state and federal governments, while the United States Coast Guard is the primary enforcer of law and security on U.S. waterways.
|Mode of passenger transport||Passenger-miles|
|Highway — total||4,273,876||86.93%|
|Passenger vehicles, motorcycles||3,692,760||75.11%|
|Rail — total||37,757||0.77%|
|All other modes (e.g., ferryboats)||4,156||0.08%|
|Source: 2012 estimates by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics|
Passenger transportation is dominated by a network of over 3.9 million miles of highwayswhich is pervasive and highly developed by global standards. Passenger transportation is dominated by passenger vehicles (including cars, trucks, vans, and motorcycles), which account for 86% of passenger-miles traveled. The remaining 14% was handled by planes, trains, and buses. Public transit use is highly concentrated in large older cities, with only six above 25% and only New York City above 50% of trips on transit. Airlines carry almost all non-commuter intercity traffic, except the Northeast Corridor where Amtrak carries more than all airlines combined.
The world's second largest automobile market,the United States has the highest rate of per-capita vehicle ownership in the world, with 865 vehicles per 1,000 Americans.
Bicycle usage is minimal with the American Community Survey reporting that bicycle commuting had a 0.61% mode share in 2012 (representing 856,000 American workers nationwide).
|Mode of Freight Shipments||2011 Ton miles (in billions)||Percent of Total|
|Air & Air/Truck||11||0.19%|
|Other & Unknown||93||1.60%|
|Source: 2011 estimates by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics|
Freight transportation is carried by a variety of networks. The largest percentage of US freight is carried by trucks (60%), followed by pipelines (18%), rail (10%), ship (8%), and air (0.01%).Other modes of transportation, such as parcels and intermodal freight accounted for about 3% of the remainder. Air freight is commonly used only for perishables and premium express shipments. The difference in percentage of rail's share by ton-miles and by weight (10% vs 38%) is accounted for by the extreme efficiency of trains. A single railroad locomotive may pull fifty boxcars full of freight while a truck only pulls one. Trucks surpass trains in the weight category due their greater numbers, while trains surpass trucks in the ton-miles category due to the vast distances they travel carrying large amounts of freight.
Usually cargo, apart from petroleum and other bulk commodities, is imported in containers through seaports, then distributed by road and rail. The quasi-governmental United States Postal Service has a monopoly on letter delivery (except for express services) but several large private companies such as FedEx and UPS compete in the package and cargo delivery market.
|Passenger car||127,124||15,958,620 M||7.97|
|Light rail||79||9,980 M||7.92|
|Motor bus||399||117,982 M||3.38|
|Commuter rail||105||59,736 M||1.76|
|Heavy rail (subway)||106||86,900 M||1.22|
|Railroad (intercity)||36||33,234 M||1.08|
|Road fatalities, comparison with Europe|
Speed to destination is an important factor in choosing a mode of transportation. In the late 18th century overland transportation was by horse, while water and river transportation was primarily by sailing vessel. The United States population was centered on its Atlantic coast, with all major population centers located on a natural harbor or navigable waterway. Low population density between these centers resulted in a heavy reliance on coastwise and riverboat shipping. The first government expenditures on highway transportation were funded to speed the delivery of overland mail, such as the Boston Post Road between New York City and Boston. Due to the distances between these population centers and the cost to maintain the roads, many highways in the late 18th century and early 19th century were private turnpikes. Other highways were mainly unimproved and impassable by wagon at least some of the year. Economic expansion in the late 18th century to early 19th century spurred the building of canals to speed goods to market, of which the most prominently successful example was the Erie Canal.In the transportation revolution, 1815-1860, there were numerous competing forms of transportation, and indeed each new improved mode quickly challenged and usually replaced the last favorite. For example, turnpikes stagecoaches and wagon roads quickly gave way to Canals, on which mules are horses hauled passengers and freight. The canals were soon replaced by site-Wheeler riverboats, and then finally by railway locomotives.
Access to water transportation shaped the geography of early settlements and boundaries. For example, the Erie Canal escalated the boundary dispute called the Toledo War between Ohio and Michigan in the 1830s. The disputed Erie Triangle was awarded to Pennsylvania, giving that state access to Lake Erie. Most of West Florida was given to Mississippi and Alabama to guarantee their access to the Gulf of Mexico.
Development of the mid-western and southern states drained by the Mississippi River system (Mississippi, Ohio and Missouri Rivers) was accelerated by the introduction of steamboats on these rivers in the early 19th Century. These three rivers (among others) also form the borders of several states. Prior to the introduction of steamboats, transit upstream was impractical because of strong currents on parts of these waterways. Steamboats provided both passenger and freight transportation until the development of railroads later in the 19th Century gradually reduced their presence.
The rapid expansion of Railroads brought the canal boom to a sudden end, providing a quick, scheduled and year round mode of transportation that quickly spread to interconnect the states by the mid-19th century. During the industrialization of the United States after the Civil War, railroads, led by the transcontinental rail system in the 1860s, expanded quickly across the United States to serve industries and the growing cities. During the late 19th century, railroads often had built redundant routes to a competitor's road or built through sparsely populated regions that generated little traffic. These marginal rail routes survived the pricing pressures of competition, or the lack of revenue generated by low traffic, as long as railroads provided the only efficient economical way to move goods and people across the United States. In addition to the intercity passenger network running on Class I and II railroads, a large network of interurban (trolley or "street running") rail lines extended out from the cities and interchanged passenger and freight traffic with the railroads and also provided competition.
The advent of the automobile signaled the end of railroads as the predominant transportation for people and began an era of mobility in the United States that added greatly to its economic output. The early 20th century Lincoln Highway and other auto trails gave way in the 1920s to an early national highway system making the automobile the preferred mode of travel for most Americans. Interurban rail service declined, followed by trolley cars due in part to the advent of motorized buses and the lack of dedicated rights-of-way but also by deliberate efforts to dismantle urban rail infrastructure (see Great American streetcar scandal). The scarcity of industrial materials during World War II slowed the growth of the automobile, briefly reemphasizing much of the nation's declining rail network. In the 1950s, the United States renewed building a network of high-capacity, high-speed highways to link its vast territory. The most important element is the Interstate Highway system, first commissioned in the 1950s by President Dwight D. Eisenhower and modeled after the Italian autostrada and the German Autobahn system.
By 1945, nearly every city in America had at least one electric tram company providing intra-city transportation. There were an estimated 36,377 light rail vehicles in operation. Improved automobile ownership cut this number by 1/3 by 1965.
The airline industry began to successfully compete with intercity rail, which suffered a loss of ridership. As the civil air transportation network of airports and other infrastructure expanded, air travel became more accessible to the general population. Technological advances ushered in the jet age, which increased airline capacity, while decreasing travel times and the cost of flights. The costs of flying rapidly decreased intercity rail ridership by the late 1960s to a point where railroads could no longer profitably operate networks of passenger trains.[ clarification needed ] By the early 1970s almost all passenger rail operation and ownership had been transferred to various federal, municipal and state agencies. Passenger rail came to be heavily subsidized, as it is today.
Freight railroads continued to decline as motor freight captured a significant portion of the less-than-carload business. This loss of business, when combined the highly regulated operating environment and constrained pricing power, forced many railroads into receivership and the nationalization of several critical eastern carriers into the Consolidated Rail Corporation (Conrail). Deregulation of the railroads by the Staggers Act in 1980 created a regulatory environment more favorable to the economics of the railroad industry. In the 1990s, the increase in foreign trade and intermodal container shipping led to a revival of the freight railroads, which have effectively consolidated into two eastern and two western private transportation networks: Union Pacific and BNSF in the west, and CSX and Norfolk Southern in the east. Canadian National Railway took over the Illinois Central route down the Mississippi River valley.
Wartime expediency encouraged long distance pipeline transport of petroleum and natural gas, which was greatly expanded in the middle 20th century to take over most of the domestic long-haul market.
In comparison to some parts of the Western world, both the United States and Canada rely more heavily on motorized transit over walking and bicyclingwith 86% of American workers commuting to work via private vehicle, costing an estimated additional $1500 per year commuting compared to Western European counterparts. Car ownership is on the decline but still 91% nationally. Car ownership is universal, except in the largest cities where extensive mass transit and railroad systems have been built, with lowest car ownership rates in New York City (44%), Washington, D.C. (62%), Boston (63%), Philadelphia (67%), San Francisco (69%), and Baltimore (69%).
With the development of the extensive Eisenhower Interstate Highway System in the 1950s, both long-distance trips and daily the commute were mostly by private automobile. This network was designed to exacting federal standards in order to receive federal funding. The system, as of 2010 [update] , has a total length of 47,182 miles (75,932 km), making it the world's second longest after China's, and the largest public works project in US history.
The Interstate system joined an existing National Highway System (a designation created for the legacy highway network in 1995), comprising 160,000 miles (256,000 kilometers) of roadway, a fraction of the total mileage of roads. The Interstate system serves nearly all major U.S. cities, often through the downtown areas (a point which triggered freeway and expressway revolts in the 1960s and 1970s). The distribution of virtually all goods and services involves Interstate highways at some point.Residents of American cities commonly use urban Interstates to travel to their places of work. The vast majority of long-distance travel, whether for vacation or business, is by the national road network; of these trips, about one-third (by the total number of miles driven in the country in 2003) utilize the Interstate system.
In addition to the routes of the Interstate system, there are those of the U.S. highway system, not to be confused with the above-mentioned National Highway System. These networks are further supplemented by State Highways, and the local roads of counties, municipal streets, and federal agencies, such as the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The five inhabited U.S. territories also have their own road networks. There are approximately 4,071,000 miles (6,552,000 km) of roads in the United States, 2,678,000 miles (4,310,000 km) paved and 1,394,000 miles (2,243,000 km) unpaved. State highways are constructed by each state, but frequently maintained by county governments aided by funding from the state, where such counties exist as governing entities (mostly every state except the Northeastern). Counties construct and maintain all remaining roads outside cities, except in private communities. Local, unnumbered roads are often constructed by private contractors to local standards, then maintenance is assumed by the local government.
All federal highways are maintained by state governments, although they receive federal aid to build and maintain freeways signed as part of the 46,000 mile (75,000 km) nationwide Interstate highway network. Changes by state initiative may be made with federal approval. A large number of expressways are actually government or privately operated toll roads in many East Coast and Midwestern states. West Coast freeways are generally free to users ("freeways", no toll charged per use), although since the 1990s there have been some small experiments with toll roads operated by private companies.
After the collapse of the I-35W Mississippi River bridge in Minnesota in August 2007, the backlog of road and bridge maintenance across the country became an issue in transportation funding.The collapse prompted a tax increase in Minnesota to speed up bridge repairs, and action in other states, such as the Accelerated Bridge Program in Massachusetts, but after some debate no increase in federal funding. The 2013 I-5 Skagit River Bridge collapse, caused by a collision with an over-height truck, highlighted "fracture critical" bridges in which the failure of only one structural member will lead to complete collapse. According to the National Bridge Inventory, there are at least 600,000 bridges of 20 feet or more in length in the United States, all subject to deterioration in the absence of preventative maintenance. In December 2008, 72,868 bridges in the United States (12.1%) were categorized as "structurally deficient", representing an estimated $48 billion in repairs. President Barack Obama proposed $50 billion of spending on road and bridge repair, plus a national infrastructure bank, but as of 2013 Congress has not acted on these proposals.
As of 2010, seat belt use is mandatory in all states except New Hampshire.Seat belt use is also mandatory in the District of Columbia and the five inhabited U.S. territories. (See also: Seat belt laws in the United States)
Greyhound Lines is the largest intercity bus company [ citation needed ] way to travel long distances in the United States.in the United States, with routes in all parts of the contiguous U.S. There are also many smaller regional bus companies, many of which use the terminal and booking facilities provided by Greyhound. Intercity bus is, in most cases, the least expensive
Traffic congestion, especially at rush hour, is a problem in many of the country's larger cities. A 2009 study found that traffic congestion costs the United States almost $87.2 billion. The economic costs of traffic congestion have increased 63% over the past decade, and despite the declining traffic volumes caused by the economic downturn, Americans still waste more than 2.8 billion US gallons (11,000,000 m3) of fuel each year as a result of traffic congestion. Motorists also waste 4.2 billion hours annually, or one full workweek per traveler. Moreover, it is estimated that drivers are wasting 6.9 billion hours per year or about 42 hours per driver in traffic congestion as a result of aging infrastructure and poor road conditions.
The trucking industry (also referred to as the transportation or logistics industry) involves the transport and distribution of commercial and industrial goods using commercial motor vehicles (CMV). In this case, CMVs are most often trucks; usually semi trucks, box trucks, or dump trucks. A truck driver (commonly referred to as a "trucker") is a person who earns a living as the driver of a CMV.
The trucking industry provides an essential service to the American economy by transporting large quantities of raw materials, works in process, and finished goods over land—typically from manufacturing plants to retail distribution centers. Trucks are also important to the construction industry, as dump trucks and portable concrete mixers are necessary to move the large amounts of rocks, dirt, concrete, and other construction material. Trucks in America are responsible for the majority of freight movement over land, and are vital tools in the manufacturing, transportation, and warehousing industries.
Large trucks and buses require a commercial driver's license (CDL) to operate. Obtaining a CDL requires extra education and training dealing with the special knowledge requirements and handling characteristics of such a large vehicle. Drivers of CMVs must adhere to the hours of service, which are regulations governing the driving hours of commercial drivers. These, and all other rules regarding the safety of interstate commercial driving, are issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The FMCSA is also a division of the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT), which governs all transportation-related industries such as trucking, shipping, railroads, and airlines. Some other issues are handled by another branch of the USDOT, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).
Developments in technology, such as computers, satellite communication, and the internet, have contributed to many improvements within the industry. These developments have increased the productivity of company operations, saved the time and effort of drivers, and provided new, more accessible forms of entertainment to men and women who often spend long periods of time away from home. In 2006, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency implemented revised emission standards for diesel trucks (reducing airborne pollutants emitted by diesel engines) which promises to improve air quality and public health.
Within in the United States:
With adjacent countries:
The United States has advanced air transportation infrastructure which utilizes approximately 5,000 paved runways. In terms of passengers, seventeen of the world's thirty busiest airports in 2004 were in the United States, including the world's busiest, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. In terms of cargo, in the same year, twelve of the world's thirty busiest airports were in the United States, including the world's busiest, Memphis International Airport.Private aircraft are also used for medical emergencies, government agencies, large businesses, and individuals, see general aviation.
There is no single national flag airline; passenger airlines in the United States have always been privately owned. There are over 200 domestic passenger and cargo airlines and a number of international carriers. The major international carriers of the United States are Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, and United Airlines. Low-cost carrier Southwest Airlines operates few international routes, but has grown its domestic operations to a size comparable to the major international carriers. There is currently no government regulation of ticket pricing, although the federal government retains jurisdiction over aircraft safety, pilot training, and accident investigations (through the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board). The Transportation Security Administration provides security at airports.
Passenger trains were the dominant mode of transportation until the mid-twentieth century. The introduction of jet airplanes on major U.S. routes and the completion of the Interstate Highway system accelerated a decline in intercity rail passenger demand during the 1960s, resulting in the sharp curtailment of passenger service by private railroads. This led to the creation of National Railroad Passenger Corporation (branded as Amtrak) by the federal government in 1971 to maintain limited intercity rail passenger service in most parts of the country. Amtrak serves most major cities but, outside of the Northeast, California, and Illinois, often by only few trains per day. Amtrak does not serve several major destinations, including Las Vegas, Nevada, and Phoenix, Arizona. Frequent service is available in regional corridors between certain major cities, particularly the Northeast Corridor between Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, New York City and Boston, between New York City and Albany, around Chicago, and in parts of California and the Pacific Northwest.
Private intercity rail ended in the United States in 1983 with the discontinuation of the Rio Grande Zephyr, until Brightline (now Virgin Trains USA) started in South Florida in 2018. The state-owned Alaska Railroad is the only other intercity passenger railroad still operating. It has only rail ferry connections with other railroads.
The United States makes extensive use of its rail system for freight. According to the Association of American Railroads: "U.S. freight railroads are the world's busiest, moving more freight than any rail system in any other country. In fact, U.S. railroads move more than four times as much freight as do all of Western Europe's freight railroads combined."
Nearly all railroad corridors (not including local transit rail systems) are owned by private companies that provide freight service. Amtrak pays these companies for the right to use the tracks for passenger service. There are approximately 150,000 mi (240,000 km) of mainline track in the United States—the world's longest national railroad network. See List of United States railroads
Rail freight has a major national bottleneck in Chicago and the Midwest (about one-third of the nation's freight trains pass through the region),which is the subject of a $1.5 billion infrastructure improvement project.
With few exceptions, the rail gauge is standard gauge 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm). The White Pass and Yukon Route from Skagway, Alaska to Whitehorse, Yukon by way of Bennett, British Columbia is 3 ft (914 mm) gauge.
The miles traveled by passenger vehicles in the United States fell by 3.6% in 2008, while the number of trips taken on mass transit increased by 4.0%. At least part of the drop in urban driving can be explained by the 4% increase in the use of public transportation.
Most medium-sized cities have some sort of local public transportation, usually a network of fixed bus routes. Among larger cities many of the older cities also have metro rail systems (also known as heavy rail in the United States) and/or extensive light rail systems, while the newer cities found in the Sun Belt either have modest light rail systems or have no intracity rail at all.
On June 26, 2008, the House passed the Saving Energy Through Public Transportation Act (H.R. 6052),which gives grants to mass transit authorities to lower fares for commuters pinched at the pump and expand transit services. The bill also:
Water transport is largely used for freight. Fishing and pleasure boats are numerous, and passenger service connects many of the nation's islands and remote coastal areas, crosses lakes, rivers, and harbors, and provides alternative access to Alaska which bypasses Canada. Several major seaports in the United States include New York City on the east coast, New Orleans and Houston on the gulf coast, and Los Angeles on the west coast.The interior of the U.S. also has major shipping channels, via the Great Lakes Waterway, St. Lawrence Seaway and the Mississippi River System. Freight on the Mississippi River system is carried on barges pushed by approximately 8000 "towboats" and largely consists of bulk goods, such as petrochemicals, grain and cement.
Many U.S. ports are served by cruise ships. Popular destinations include the Caribbean, the Mexican Riviera, Hawaii and the Inside Passage to Alaska.Automobile ferries operate in many locations where bridges are impractical and in congested metropolitan areas, including New York City and San Francisco Bay.
The United States has 25,482 miles (41,009 km) of navigable inland channels (rivers and canals), exclusive of the Great Lakes. Out of this 12,006 miles (19,322 km) is used in commerce. About 15,000 miles (24,000 km) of the Mississippi River System are presently navigable, although not all is used for commerce. The Saint Lawrence Seaway of 2,342 miles (3,769 km), including the Saint Lawrence River of 1,900 miles (3,100 km), is shared with Canada.
United States ports and harbors include:
Most U.S. exports and imports are on foreign ships. The 1920 Jones Act bars foreign ships from trade within the United States, thus creating a domestic "Jones Act fleet". Deck officers and ship's engineers of U.S.-flagged ships are usually trained at one of the established maritime academies.
The federal military has a dedicated system of bases with runways, aircraft, watercraft, conventional cars and trucks, and armored and special-purpose vehicles. During times of war, it may commandeer private infrastructure and vehicles as authorized by Congress and the President.[ citation needed ]
As the population of the world increases, cities grow in size and population - according to the United Nations, 55% of the world’s population live in cities, and by 2050 this number is expected to rise to 68%.Public transportation policy must evolve to meet the changing priorities of the urban world. The institution of policy enforces order in transportation, which is by nature chaotic as people attempt to travel from one place to another as fast as possible. This policy helps to reduce accidents and save lives.
A key component of a suitable urban environment is support for pedestrian traffic, including people on foot as well as human propelled vehicles like bikes, skateboards, and scooters. Pedestrian policy is implemented at the state level, but consistent across states is the fact that the pedestrian has the right-of-way. If someone on foot is crossing the street, legally or illegally, any vehicular traffic is required to stop—under no circumstance does a driver have a right to hit a pedestrian. The exact details with respect to when a vehicle has to stop differ between the states, some requiring that all vehicles at an intersection yield to a pedestrian, while others requiring only those vehicles perpendicular to the motion of the crossing to stop.California requires all vehicles at an intersection to yield to a pedestrian walking in any direction.
There are also rules for pedestrian conduct. Though they have the right-of-way, pedestrians are not permitted to leave a curb into a crosswalk close enough to a vehicle to “constitute hazard.”Pedestrians must also yield to mass transit like light-rail cars and trains, as these forms of transportation operate on a schedule and are often moving too quickly to yield to a pedestrian. Pedestrians are also not permitted to delay traffic more than necessary while in a crosswalk. When not using a crosswalk, pedestrians must yield their right-of-way to vehicles who are close enough to constitute hazard. One of the issues with this kind of policy is how vague it is. A pedestrian is expected to determine on the fly what “constitutes hazard,” which can create dangerous situations leading to pedestrian injury or even death. As technology continues to advance, embedded technology like sensors and computer chips in vehicles should be able to process data very quickly and thus prevent collisions, as discussed in the Internet section found below.
A complete street is a roadway that is safe for people of any ability or age utilizing any form of transportation.The concept revolves around the fact that streets are communal spaces, so anyone has a right to access them. In order to ensure universal safety, however, policy exists to ensure that these complete streets are maintained and utilized properly.
Other supporting policies indirectly related to complete streets include parking policies and vehicle restrictions. Complete streets are an important development for urban transportation because they equally support all forms of transportation, enforce safety, and ensure that everyone can navigate the busy city streets to arrive at their destination as fast as possible.
In order to ensure that traffic flow is uniformly dispersed across roadways and does not interfere with existing pedestrian and public transportation infrastructure, traffic flow policy is put in place in order to get everyone to their destination in the most efficient way possible. Traffic flow policy includes everything from how spaced out two cars should be on a highway to which cars have priority at stop signs and street lights to the proper use of bus, taxi, and carpool lanes.
Parts of this article (those related to reauthorization) need to be updated.May 2010)(
Federal, state, and local tax revenues support upkeep of most roads, which are generally free to drivers. There are also some toll roads and toll bridges. Most other forms of transportation charge a fee for use as they are not given much, if any, tax support by Congress.
Government funding of transportation exists at many levels. Federal funding for highway, rail, bus, water, air, and other forms of transportation is allocated by Congress for several years at a time. The current authorization bill is the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), which runs from 2005 to 2009. A Congressionally chartered committee is considering future funding issues. [ needs update ]
Though earmarks are often made for specific projects, the allocation of most federal dollars is controlled by metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) and state governments. Usually "matching" funds are required from local sources. All projects have a sponsoring agency that will receive the funding from the various federal and local sources, and be responsible for implementing the project directly or through contracts. Large projects require a Major Investment Study and both a Draft and a Final Environmental Impact Review . A patchwork of federal laws and accounts govern the allocation of federal transportation dollars, most of which is reserved for capital projects, not operating expenses. Some roads are federally designated as part of the National Highway System and get preferential funding as a result, but there are few federally maintained roads outside of Washington, D.C., and national parks.
State governments are sovereign entities which use their powers of taxation both to match federal grants, and provide for local transportation needs. Different states have different systems for dividing responsibility for funding and maintaining road and transit networks between the state department of transportation, counties, municipalities, and other entities. Typically cities or counties are responsible for local roads, financed with block grants and local property taxes, and the state is responsible for major roads that receive state and federal designations. Many mass transit agencies are quasi-independent and subsidized branches of a state, county, or city government.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT): "Transportation's vital importance to the U.S. economy is underscored by the fact that more than $1 out of every $10 produced in the U.S. gross domestic product is related to transportation activity. This includes all aspects of transportation, including the movement of goods and the purchase of all transportation-related products and services as well as the movement of people".Employment in the transportation and material moving industry accounted for 7.4% of all employment, and was the 5th largest employment group in the United States.
The United States invests 0.6% of its GDP on transportation annually.
Two-thirds of U.S. oil consumption is due to the transportation sector.The " Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 " has a significant impact on U.S. Energy Policy. The United States—an important export country for food stocks—will convert 18% of its grain output to ethanol in 2008. Across the United States, 25% of the whole corn crop went to ethanol in 2007. The percentage of corn going to biofuel is expected to go up. In 2006, U.S. Senators introduced the BioFuels Security Act, which would mandate the production of dual-fuel vehicles and the sale of E85 ethanol fuel. In 2016 transportation became the leading source of greenhouse gas emissions (28.5%), exceeding electricity generation (28.4%).
The Boston transportation system includes roadway, subway, regional rail, air, and sea options for passenger and freight transit in Boston, Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) operates the Port of Boston, which includes a container shipping facility in South Boston, and Logan International Airport, in East Boston. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) operates bus, subway, short distance rail, and water ferry passenger services throughout the city and region. Amtrak operates passenger rail service to and from major northeastern cities. A major bus terminal at South Station is served by varied intercity bus companies. The city is bisected by major highways I-90 and I-93, the intersection of which has undergone a major renovation, nicknamed the Big Dig.
Light rail, light rail transit(LRT), tram or fast tram is a form of tramway or urban rail transit, using rolling stock, that constitutes a form of tram. They operate at a higher capacity than most historical tramways, and often on an exclusive right-of-way.
The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) is the organization in charge of developing and maintaining all state and federal roadways in the U.S. state of Georgia. In addition to highways, the department also has a limited role in developing public transportation and general aviation programs. GDOT is headquartered in downtown Atlanta and is part of the executive branch of state government.
Los Angeles has a complex multimodal transportation infrastructure, which serves as a regional, national and international hub for passenger and freight traffic. The system includes the United States' largest port complex; an extensive freight and passenger rail infrastructure, including light rail lines and subway lines; numerous airports and bus lines; Transportation Network Companies; and an extensive freeway and road system. People in Los Angeles rely on cars as the dominant mode of transportation, but starting in 1990 Los Angeles Metro Rail has built over one hundred miles (160 km) of light and heavy rail serving more and more parts of Los Angeles.
The New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) is the agency responsible for transportation issues and policy in New Jersey, such as maintaining and operating the State's highway and public road system, planning and developing transportation policy and assisting with rail, freight and intermodal transportation issues. It is headed by the Commissioner of Transportation. The present Commissioner is Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) oversees transportation issues in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The administrator of PennDOT is the Pennsylvania Secretary of Transportation, currently Leslie Richards. Presently, PennDOT supports over 40,500 miles (65,200 km) of state roads and highways, about 25,000 bridges, as well as new roadway construction, the exception being the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, although they currently follow PennDOT policies and procedures. In addition, other modes of transportation are supervised or supported by PennDOT. These include aviation, rail traffic, mass transit, intrastate highway shipping traffic, motor vehicle safety & licensing, and driver licensing. PennDOT also supports the Ports of Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Erie. The current budget is approximately $3.8 billion in federal and state funds. The state budget is supported by the motor vehicle fuels tax which is dedicated solely to transportation issues.
The National Highway System (NHS) is a network of strategic highways within the United States, including the Interstate Highway System and other roads serving major airports, ports, rail or truck terminals, railway stations, pipeline terminals and other strategic transport facilities. Altogether, it constitutes the largest highway system in the world.
Transportation in the Commonwealth of Virginia is by land, sea and air. Virginia's extensive network of highways and railroads were developed and built over a period almost 400 years, beginning almost immediately after the founding of Jamestown in 1607, and often incorporating old established trails of the Native Americans.
Transportation in St. Louis, Missouri includes road, rail, ship, and air transportation modes connecting the city of St. Louis with surrounding communities in Greater St. Louis, national transportation networks, and international locations. The city of St. Louis also supports a public transportation network that includes bus and light rail service.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) is responsible for building, repairing, and operating highways, bridges, and other modes of transportation, including ferries in the U.S. state of North Carolina.
Transportation in New York is made up of some of the most extensive and one of the oldest transportation infrastructures in the country. Engineering difficulties because of the terrain of New York State and the unique issues of New York City brought on by urban crowding have had to be overcome since the state was young. Population expansion of the state generally followed the path of the early waterways, first the Hudson River and then the Erie Canal. Today, railroad lines and the New York State Thruway follow the same general route.
California's transportation system is complex and dynamic. Although known for its car culture and extensive network of freeways and roads, the state also has a vast array of rail, sea, and air transport. Several subway, light rail, and commuter rail networks are found in many of the state's largest population centers. In addition, with the state's location on the West Coast of the United States, several important ports in California handle freight shipments from the Pacific Rim and beyond. A number of airports are also spread out across the state, ranging from small general aviation airports to large international hubs like Los Angeles International Airport and San Francisco International Airport.
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is a governmental agency and its purpose is to "provide safe, effective, and efficient movement of people and goods" throughout the state. Though the public face of the agency is generally associated with maintenance of the state's immense highway system, the agency is also responsible for aviation in the state and overseeing public transportation systems.
Memphis, Tennessee has developed into a major Mid-American commercial and transportation hub because of its location on the Mississippi River and a convergence of numerous rail and highway links. Four rail and highway bridges cross the Mississippi River at Memphis. In addition, Memphis International Airport has become the world's largest airfreight terminal.
Transportation in New Jersey utilizes a combination of road, rail, air, and water modes. New Jersey is situated between Philadelphia and New York City, two major metropolitan centers of the Boston-Washington megalopolis, making it a regional corridor for transportation. As a result, New Jersey's freeways carry high volumes of interstate traffic and products. The main thoroughfare for long distance travel is the New Jersey Turnpike, the nation's fifth-busiest toll road. The Garden State Parkway connects the state's densely populated north to its southern shore region. New Jersey has the 4th smallest area of U.S. states, but its population density of 1,196 persons per sq. mi causes congestion to be a major issue for motorists.
This article describes transportation in the U.S. state of South Dakota.
In the United States, road signs are, for the most part, standardized by federal regulations, most notably in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) and its companion volume the Standard Highway Signs (SHS). There are no plans for adopting the Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals standards.
Urban freight distribution is the system and process by which goods are collected, transported, and distributed within urban environments. The urban freight system can include seaports, airports, manufacturing facilities, and warehouse/distribution centers that are connected by a network of railroads, rail yards, pipelines, highways, and roadways that enable goods to get to their destinations.
Transportation in Montana comprises many different forms of travel. Montana shares a long border with Canada, hence international crossings are prevalent in the northern section of the state; there are 13 road crossings and one rail crossing.
The Northern Virginia region is served by numerous mediums of transit. Transportation in the region is overseen by the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission and the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority.