Fun Facts from the Latest Trove of Transpo Data Released

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The United States has more than 4 million miles of public roads. Alabama has more than Alaska, Delaware beats out Hawaii. There are 130 million registered automobiles on U.S. roads. Florida has the highest rate of pedestrian fatalities per capita, Kansas and Wyoming tie for the lowest. Texas ships the most freight by weight (1.3 billion tons) but not value. California eeks out oil country in dollars shipped ($1.3 billion to Texas' $1.1 billion).

These scattered facts meant to offer a teaser of what we can learn from data, come from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

Late on Friday when summer web readers are skipping town for the beach or an early BBQ, the BTS dropped two separate one paragraph press releases. They pointed to massive treasure troves of data. We saved the news for you until this morning so that more people could ponder what to do with all the new stats, and be at a computer to click through them.

You can peruse through a list of just about every source of funding in 2011 for transportation and infrastructure, from the highway trust fund to Aviation User Fees. You can see transit ridership by metro area. It could take you all day to go through just the indexes.

Some of the data comes from 2010 and from the latest census, other numbers are updated to 2011.

I took on the commuting numbers by state for a sampling:

The average commute takes 25 minutes in America. Would you believe North Dakota has the shortest average commute of any state? It does, at just over 16 minutes. Transit heavy New York has the longest average ride to work at 31 minutes when you factor in drivers. But dive a tad deeper into the data and we find even more surprises: Washington D.C. is the only place where the average commute time by transit (38 minutes) takes longer than driving (35 minutes). At the bottom of the list, Alabama drivers who don't carpool have an average ride to work of 84 minutes. Average!

What do you want us to investigate? Have any ideas for infographics we should make?

If you dive in and want to make a chart out of some of this please send it to us at transponation at gmail.

The Data: 

Transportation statistics by state, 2011

Financial statistics, 2011. Financial stats by state.


And here are the full press releases from Friday:

BTS Releases State Transportation Statistics 2011. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA), today released its annual State Transportation Statistics 2011 (STS) – a web-only reference guide to transportation data for the 50 states and the District of Columbia. STS 2011 includes a wide range of state-by-state information, such as the calculations showing which states had the highest and lowest number of highway traffic fatalities per 100,000 population in 2010. The ninth annual STS consists of 115 tables of state data on infrastructure, safety, freight transportation, passenger travel, registered vehicles and vehicle-miles traveled, economy and finance, and energy and environment, plus a U.S. Fast Facts page. STS 2011 can be viewed on the BTS website.


Friday, August 24, 2012 - Federal and state government expenditures on transportation were almost $243 billion in 2009, according to data released today by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS). Government Transportation Financial Statistics (GTFS) shows that $200 billion of the expenditures were by state governments, with $43 billion from the federal government (Table 15A). More than 50 percent of the funds were used for highways, with 22 percent for transit and 20 percent for aviation (Table 12). Total revenue allocated for transportation in 2009 was almost $245 billion (Table 2A). GTFS consists of 43 tables showing federal, state and local transportation expenditures and revenue in current and inflation-adjusted dollars from 1995 through 2009. For 2009, GTFS does not include local government outlays for highways. Today’s release is the fourth GTFS issued by BTS.