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Highway Statistics 1999

Section VI



This section contains transportation and related data for selected countries. Basic socioeconomic data is provided to establish a framework for the transportation indicators that follow. These include information about each country's network of roadways, ownership and use of roadway vehicles, including the fatalities attributable to those vehicles, and fuel prices. Topics were chosen to correspond with major topics presented elsewhere in this volume. Except as noted, data is for the calendar year 1998, which is the most recent year in which it is available for many countries.

The availability of reliable information was a major consideration in selecting topics; therefore, some useful areas were not covered because of the unavailability of complete and comparable data from an array of countries that could readily be converted to meaningful indicators. Countries were selected, as other developed countries and/or major U.S. trading partners, for comparisons with the U.S. system. Japan, four European countries and our North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) trading partners were chosen as examples of these. Most U.S. data came from Highway Statistics 1998 or directly from other Federal Highway Administration sources.

Table IN-1 sets forth indicators of social and demographic status for each country, including population, land area, population density, gross domestic product (GDP) and the amount of total transport by roadway. These are shown for 1998 in order to correspond with the transportation data. The GDP and GDP per capita dollar amount estimates for each country are stated in terms of purchasing power equivalents. This method involves the use of dollar price weights applied to the quantities of goods and services produced by the economy. With this method of conversion, a given sum of dollars in the U.S. will buy the same amount of goods as that same amount, converted to the local currency, will buy in the other country. While population, land area, population density, and GDP vary greatly among the countries, GDP per capita varies only slightly among seven of the eight countries. Mexico is less economically developed than the others and varies from them in all important indicators. The percent of passenger travel and freight transportation on highway modes show very different patterns between the North American and European countries. In the U.S. and Canada, passenger transportation is almost exclusively by highway modes while only a small percentage of freight moves that way. The pattern in Europe is somewhat different as passengers are less and the use of highway transport more likely for the movement of freight.

Table IN-2 provides information on roadway systems. Expressways and other main roadways are grouped together under "major roads" while all others are considered "secondary roads." These are only general categories, as the definitions and data collection processes vary from country to country. The tables and accompanying charts show the inverse relationship between the previously displayed population density and miles per population unit for all roads. The correlation with major roads is somewhat less pronounced.

Table IN-3 shows the numbers of several types of vehicles and vehicles per capita. Some countries count only selected populations of trucks, and possibly use varying methods for counting other vehicle types as well. Although all known variations between data are noted in footnotes, it is possible that some were not apparent from the original data sources and so are not noted. The data on automobiles per population unit clearly show the disparity between Mexico and the more developed countries.

Table IN-4 presents a display of the intensity of vehicle usage. While the U.S. While the U.S., as a large populous country, is far ahead in total kilometers, the differences in kilometers per vehicle and kilometers per person are much less. The data on average amounts of travel by the various vehicle types most likely reflects the types of uses of these vehicles as well as the geography and preferences of the country.

Table IN-5 shows fuel costs among the selected countries. Fuel prices vary widely between countries and reflect full costs including applicable taxes. More than 50 percent of gasoline prices in the European countries can be attributed to taxes. While diesel fuel taxes are less than those on gasoline they are substantial by comparison with those imposed in the United States.

Table IN-6 provides fatalities and fatality rates for each country.


The data in this section came from reliable published sources which are noted with the individual tables.

Data collection methods, definitions of terms, and basically political and economic infrastructures vary from country to country. These differences will manifest themselves in many ways within the data items and may not always be apparent. All data in this section should, then, be used with great care and only for general comparisons.

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