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Transportation Services

Transportation Services

The contribution of for-hire transportation industries to the U.S economy, as measured by their value-added (or net output), increased (in 1996 chained dollars1) from $181 billion in 1990 to $270 billion in 2001 (figure 102). In the same time period, this segment’s share in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) fluctuated slightly, increasing from 2.7 percent in 1990 to 3.0 percent in 1999 before declining to 2.9 percent in 2001. The decreased share of for-hire transportation services in 2001 can largely be attributed to the decrease in output of air transportation, reflecting significant reductions in personal and business air travel after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Among for-hire transportation industries, trucking and air contribute the largest amount to GDP (figure 103). In 2001, they contributed $99 billion and $78 billion, respectively [1]. Together, they accounted for more than two-thirds of the total for-hire transportation industries’ net output. Between 1990 and 2001, local and inter-urban transit grew significantly, followed by trucking and transportation supporting services. Railroad and pipeline transportation showed the least growth during this period.

There are two major components of transportation services—for-hire transportation, as detailed above, and in-house transportation services. For-hire transportation services are provided by firms for a fee. In-house transportation services are provided by nontransportation establishments for their own use. For instance, when a retail store uses its own trucks to move goods from one place to another it is providing an in-house service.

Time-series data on in-house transportation services are not readily available. The Bureau of Transportation Statistics last analyzed in-house transportation services in early 2000 using 1996 data. At that time, in-house transportation contributed $142 billion (in 1996 dollars) to the economy, while for-hire transportation contributed $243 billion.2


1. U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, “Gross Domestic Product by Industry and the Components of Gross Domestic Income,” available at http://www.bea.doc.gov/bea/dn2.htm, as of February 2003.

1 All dollar amounts are expressed in chained 1996 dollars, unless otherwise specified. Current dollar amounts (which are available in appendix B of this report) were adjusted to eliminate the effects of inflation over time.

2 The full results of that study appear in Transportation Statistics Annual Report 2000, available at http://www.bts.gov/.

Updated: Saturday, May 20, 2017