Source: Source: RITA/BTS. Table 1-38: Average Length of Haul, Domestic Freight and Passenger Modes.
Average Length of Haul, Domestic Freight in the United States, 1960-2014
Modal and intermodal competition have provided substantial changes in the average domestic freight haul length. The development of the Interstate highway system is linked with the doubling of truck haul length from 272 miles in 1960 to 485 miles in 2001. Trucking was able to carve itself a dominant market share for movements of less than 750 miles. The growth of the average haul length for rail transportation is linked with increased competition from trucking as well as the establishment of transcontinental landbridges between the East and the West coasts. Still, with the development of intermodal services, trucking is becoming increasingly complementary to rail The decline in the average haul length for air transport from the mid 1990s is mainly the outcome of the setting of hub-and-spoke networks by major parcel distributors such as UPS and Fedex. The decline in the length for coastal shipping is jointly the outcome of competition from rail and cabotage regulations (Jones Act) preventing the setting of effective short sea shipping networks. For instance, foreign maritime shipping companies cannot transport containers between American ports.