The Value of Freight

Freight Modes

Land Use Conflicts


"...if you wear it, eat it, drink it, drive it, or talk or text on it, it came by freight..."

—Les Findeisen, Legislative Affairs Director for the Texas Trucking Association

The Value of Freight

Efficient freight transportation is a very important part of producing products and services and getting them to consumers. Freight transportation services are combined with other logistics inputs such as warehouses, inventories, and information technology in order to provide goods and services to final consumers in a timely fashion.

According to the most recent information from the U.S. Commodity Flow Survey, on average, 42 tons of freight worth $39,000 was delivered to every person in the United States in 2007. When considering the distance involved in transporting this freight, an average of 11,000 ton-miles was delivered to every person in the country. This is equal to carrying almost one ton of freight between the North Pole and the South Pole for every man, woman, and child in the United States or almost two tons between New York and Tokyo for each person.

Quite simply, the system of producing and distributing products to consumers could not exist without the freight transportation network. Freight is hauled by various transportation modes—truck, rail, air, water—and combinations of these modes. The choice of transportation modes or combinations of modes depends on a number of factors including type and value of commodity, distance, and desired speed and reliability of transportation.

In this section of EnvisionFreight.com, we provide:

Examples of the role of transportation in the supply chains of various commodities can be found in a series of case studies performed for the NCFRP 24 project: