Operations, Design and Policy
Edited by Rob Konings, Hugo Priemus and Peter Nijkamp
Chapter 15: The Role of Government in Fostering Intermodal Transport Innovations Perceived Lessons Obstacles in the United States
15. The role of government in fostering intermodal transport innovations: perceived lessons and obstacles in the United States José Holguín-Veras, Robert Paaswell and Anthony Perl 15.1 INTRODUCTION Freight transportation systems all over the world make signiﬁcant contributions to the world, regional and local economies. The importance of these contributions is clearly evident in the American case, which provides a good example of the economic importance of freight. In 1997, business and industry transported cargo worth $6.9 trillion and weighing 11 billion tons. This caused 2.7 trillion ton-miles of goods to be transported across the continental United States (USDOT 1999a). Truck transportation accounts for 71.7 per cent of the value of cargo transported and 69.4 per cent of its tonnage (ibid.). At the personal level, Americans spend more on transportation, freight movement and commuting, than they do on clothing, operating the household, recreation and intercity travel put together. Transportation costs account for 11 per cent of disposable income, the fourth largest item in family budgets (USDOT 1999b). Using 1994 gross national product numbers, freight transportation made up 6.3 per cent of total expenditure, which could go up to 10–11 per cent of total expenditure if revenues spent on inventory, warehousing, and logistics services are included (ENO 1998). As a percentage of total expenditure, freight transportation represents 38.52 per cent of the total, while passenger transportation accounts for the rest (USDOT 1999b). The impact of freight on the US economy is considerable. Overall, it is estimated that one out...
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