Trucks are the most-used mode to move freight especially for distances less than 500 miles and even though there were declines in 2008 and 2009, new figures from the US Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) indicate a return to growth in 2010.
The new data, released in the FHWA Freight Analysis Framework, shows that tonnage will continue increasing 1.6 percent per year, reaching 27.1 billion tons by 2040 that's a 61 percent increase in tons between 2010 and 2040.
In 2007, nearly 18.6 billion tons of goods worth about $16.5 trillion were moved on the transportation network, which equates to 51 million tons of goods valued at more than $45 billion a day moved throughout the country on all transportation modes.
"The data confirms how critical our highways are to moving freight and to our nation's economy," Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez said in a statement. "Overall increasing and improved intermodal freight movement will lead to less energy consumption and more environmentally sustainable options."
Unfortunately, though, it doesn't appear that we are going to see much of anything new with regard to a new Highway Bill anytime soon. Federal election results from earlier this month shifted key leadership in the House transportation and infrastructure committee, and now most aren't expecting a new Highway Bill until at least 2012. (See other ways the 2010 election affected key supply chain issues in this excellent article from Dan Gilmore, Editor-in-Chief at Supply Chain Digest.)
More detail on the Freight Analysis Framework is available at: http://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/freight/freight_analysis/faf/index.htm