Type Measure Relevance
Transportation prices Aggregate price of transportation services by mode or commodity. Input costs by economic sector. Market competitiveness.
Transportation productivity Labor productivity and total-factor productivity (labor and assets). Level of return on investment. Economic impacts by sector.
Logistics costs Supply-chain distribution cost relative to GDP or total costs. Efficiency by logistics function.
Transportation capacity utilization Share of modal (vehicles and links) and intermodal (terminals) capacity. Assessment of investment needs for maintenance, upgrade and expansion.

Adapted from: Norwood, J. and J. Casey (eds) (2002) Key Transportation Indicators: Summary of a Workshop, Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
Transport Economic Indicators
To measure the complex economic aspects and expected benefits of transportation, a series of indicators can be used.
  • Transportation prices. The cost that users pay for transportation services is indicative of the input costs that transportation conveys for economic sectors. Comparative prices are reflective of the competitiveness of each transportation option. Subsidies can be a factor of distortion since it conveys policy preferences for specific modes.
  • Transportation productivity. The capacity to carry specific quantities of people or freight per unit of input (e.g. labor and capital costs); how much output is derived per any given unit of input. Productivity measures are useful to assess the level of return on investment.
  • Logistics costs. The burden that each segment of supply chain impose on the economy indicates how efficient are logistics.
  • Transportation capacity utilization. The closer a transport system is to its design capacity, the more it is congested, but the more it is profitable as well. As capacity utilization rises, there is a need to provide additional capital for maintenance and eventually the expansion of transport infrastructure.