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Box 5-A Transportation Satellite Accounts (TSAs)

Satellite industry accounts expand on and supplement the national income and product accounts and input-output (I-0) accounts by focusing on a particular aspect of economic activity. The Transportation Satellite Accounts (TSAs) capture the full role of transportation in the economy by expanding on the U.S. I-O accounts. The I-O accounts capture the role of for-hire transportation. For-hire transportation consists of the air, rail, truck, passenger and ground transportation, pipeline, and other support services (e.g., air traffic control) provided by transportation firms, such as railroads, transit agencies, common carrier trucking companies, and pipelines to industries and the public on a fee-basis. For-hire transportation includes ticketed air passenger travel.

The TSAs reorganize the I-O accounts to show transportation activities carried out by households through the use of an automobile and transportation activities carried out by nontransportation industries for their own purposes, known as in-house transportation. In- house transportation consists of air, rail, water, and truck services provided by businesses for their own use. Business in-house transportation includes privately owned and operated vehicles of all body types, used primarily on public rights of way, and the supportive services to store, maintain, and operate those vehicles. A baker’s delivery truck is an example of business in- house transportation.

The TSAs use the same structure as the I-O accounts and quantify transportation’s role and impact on the economy from four perspectives:

  • the value of transportation services each transportation industry makes (e.g., trucking services made by the for-hire trucking industry),
  • the amount of transportation used by each industry in the economy and the contribution of each industry to the economy,
  • the amount of transportation required to produce one dollar of each product, and
  • the inputs required to produce one dollar of transportation [USDOT BTS 2016b].
Updated: Saturday, May 20, 2017