Chamber of Commerce indexes show transportation infrastructure decline

Oct. 5, 2010
The US Chamber of Commerce has released the first nationwide and state-by-state “Transportation Performance Indexes” which show a significant decline over the past five years in how America’s transportation infrastructure is serving the needs of domestic commerce, international trade and the overall US economy.

The annual Transportation Performance Index combines indicators of supply (availability), quality of service (reliability, predictability, safety), and utilization (potential for future growth) across all modes of passenger and freight transportation—highway, public transportation, freight railroad, aviation, marine, and intermodal—to show how well the US transportation system is serving the needs of businesses and the overall US economy.

The national index is 51.24 in 2008, which is a slight improvement from 50.74 in 2007. However, the moving average, which smoothes the annual variations, reveals a clear downward trend from 2003 to 2008, demonstrating that the performance of the US transportation system is not keeping pace with the demands on that system. The current release covers the time period from 1990 to 2008, the last year for which national-level date is available. Over this period the index—or the performance of the transportation system—increased only about 6% while US population during that time period grew 22%, passenger travel grew 39%, and freight traffic 27%.

State-by-State Index

The 2007 state results range from 85.12 for North Dakota to 35.08 for the District of Columbia. While the District of Columbia is somewhat of an anomaly, New Jersey has the next-lowest index with a value of 46.71. Higher population growth rates and higher population densities are generally associated with lower index value based on an analysis of state results versus population data. While this warrants more rigorous analysis, a closer examination of the states with an index value of less than 60 reveals that these states experience significant pressure in terms of population growth, high levels of development, and limited access to or aging infrastructure.

A highly ranked state like North Dakota cannot afford to ignore the importance of pressures on the transportation system in states like New Jersey. For example, to double US exports by 2015, the nation’s transportation system as a whole must work efficiently to get US products to the world’s markets

. For additional information on the Transportation Performance Index, including state-by-state results, graphs, the accompanying technical report, and the Chamber’s policy recommendations for getting US transportation performance back on track, visit

The indexes are available at

Sponsored Recommendations

Way Beyond Weight: 5 Ways Truck Weights Affect Fleet Operations

Truck weights affect everything from highway safety and operational costs to back-office efficiency. Here’s how.

Heavy-Duty Maintenance Checklist

A maintenance checklist can help ensure you hit everything necessary during an inspection. Check out our free downloadable checklist to help streamline your repairs.

Five Ways a Little Data Can Save Your Company Millions

While most trucking and logistics companies rely on cellular to keep their work fleet connected, satellite has the ability to connect anywhere and through small data transmission...

Fleet Case Study: 15% YOY Growth for ITDS

Learn how this small trucking company scaled significantly and maintained outstanding customer service without adding additional people. Sylectus TMS can automate operations and...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of FleetOwner, create an account today!