BTS Indicators Report Air Travel Decline

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) today released its monthly Transportation Indicators report showing that New York-Toronto remains the most heavily traveled air route connecting the United States to the western hemisphere, although passenger traffic remains down from previous years.

Almost 102,000 passengers flew between New York and Toronto in May, the fewest travelers of any May since 1995 and down almost 20 per cent from May 2001. U.S. air carriers operated only half the number of flights between New York and Toronto in May as they did a year earlier - 26 compared to 52.

Other top international air routes in the Americas also showed declines from May 2001.  Chicago-Toronto, with 76,000 passengers, was down almost 9 per cent and Los Angeles-Vancouver, with 60,000 passengers, was down 20 per cent.

The BTS Transportation Indicators report is a monthly update of critical transportation information that details the impact of transportation on the nation’s economy and society.

Transportation Indicators provides information on more than 300 trends in the areas of safety, mobility, economic growth, the human and natural environment, and national security.  The monthly report, which is available at, provides information to address specific transportation issues and to assist in the effort led by BTS to make transportation information more accurate, reliable and timely.  Updated reports will be available on the BTS website at the end of every month.


Other trends highlighted in this month’s report are:

á Motorcycle fatalities increased in 2001 for the fourth year in a row, to 3,181 -  the highest number since 3,244 deaths in 1990.  Total highway fatalities rose slightly - by less than half of 1 percent - from 2000 á Fatalities in crashes involving large trucks were down 4 percent in 2001 from 2000 to 5,082 - the lowest level in the last five years á Motor gasoline imports declined 32 percent during the first full week of August from the previous week.  Consumption remained basically the same at 9.3 million barrels per day—the second highest weekly level in the 10 years tracked by this report á Admissions of people at U.S. borders declined 7 per cent by land and 11 per cent by air in June from June 2001.  Admissions by sea increased 10 percent.  Total inspections declined 7 percent and the number of people considered inadmissable increased 8 percent.

á In June 2002, 79 percent of the flights of major U.S. air carriers arrived on time compared to 75 percent a year earlier. There were, however, 13 percent fewer scheduled flights á Consumer prices for public transportation declined 2 percent in July from June, and declined nearly 3 percent from July 2001 á Private expenditures on construction of air transportation infrastructure declined 6 percent from May to June - continuing a general decline since early 2001 á Large air carriers’ operating revenues declined more than 18 percent, while operating expenses declined less than 12 percent, from the first quarter of 2001 to the first quarter of 2002.  The decline in operating revenues was led by a 20 percent decline in passenger revenues.

á Railroad labor productivity in train-miles per employee hour was up almost 12 percent in May compared to May 2001 to reach the highest level in the 12 years tracked by this report á Industrial production of commercial motor vehicles rose 6 percent from June to July to reach the highest level since September 2000 á Private investment in transportation equipment declined 11 percent (in current dollars) in the second quarter of 2002 compared to the same quarter last year, dropping to the lowest second quarter level in the last four years á The trade deficit in transportation goods and services increased 8 percent in the second quarter of 2002.  The 15 percent increase in the trade balance for civilian aircraft and parts was offset by the nearly 9 percent growth in the deficit in automotive vehicles, engines, and parts.

Continual updating of information on trends will help in developing forecasts for the future, both within the department and outside.  The monthly report will also help transportation decision-makers spot changes that might require rapid action.

New Indicators beginning this month are:  á Public Expenditures on Nonroadway Transportation Construction á Public Expenditures for Air and Land Transportation Construction: Selected Items á Public Expenditures on Water Transportation Development Construction á Private Expenditures on Transportation and Related Construction

Special Features this month are:  á Waterborne Foreign Trade ø Containerized Cargo á A Time Series Analysis of International Piracy