U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
Status of the Nation's Highways, Bridges, and Transit:
2002 Conditions and Performance Report
Part I: Description of Current System
Part II: Investment Performance Analyses
Part III: Bridges
Part IV: Special Topics
Part V: Supplemental Analyses of System Components
The Federal government has played a key role throughout the country’s history in shaping the transportation system, both in regulating interstate commerce and in funding and facilitating transportation improvements.
The Role of Highway TransportationAmerica’s highways connect all regions and States to one another. They are striking in their versatility, having been engineered to allow for a wide array of users and vehicles simultaneously. Highway transportation depends on both public and private inputs and investment.
Highway transportation in the United States plays a significant role in two major areas:
Personal Mobility. The use of private automobiles on the Nation’s large highway network provides Americans with a high degree of personal mobility. Automobile transportation allows people to travel where, when, and with whom they want.
Freight Movement. Highways are a key conduit for freight movement in the United States, accounting for 54 percent of total freight transport by weight (and 83 percent by value) in 1998. Highways can be used for hauls of virtually any length, from coast-to-coast shipments to short mail and parcel deliveries.
The Role of Public TransportationTransit provides the following benefits to passengers, communities, and the Nation:
Access, Choice and Opportunity. More Americans are choosing to ride transit, whether to reduce travel time, ease the stress of a daily commute, or contribute to a healthier environment. For those with no access to personal forms of transportation, public transportation provides access to community resources and job opportunities.
Economic Growth and Development. Transit spurs economic activity, creates jobs, boosts property values and tax earnings, and connects employers and workers.
Safe and Healthy Communities. Public transportation helps to protect the environment, conserve energy, and ensure the safety and security of our citizens.
The Complementary Roles of Highways and TransitHighways and transit serve distinct but overlapping markets. Highway and transit investments expand the choices available to people by increasing their travel options. While highways provide the highest degree of mobility, transit is essential for those that do not have access to a private vehicle. Highway investments can also encourage transit usage by improving access to transit stations and facilities, and improve operating efficiency for transit modes that use highways. Alternatively, transit can help mitigate highway congestion by offering faster and more reliable transportation than private vehicles on some highways during peak travel times.