TD 12-1: Number of Transportation Vehicles/Equipment


Air: Aircraft data in this table are based on regulatory definitions established by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada. Commercial aircraft include the following types of Canadian registered aircraft used by Canadian air operators that offer a “for-hire” service to transport people or goods, or to undertake specific tasks such as aerial photography, flight training and crop spraying: (1) airliner (2) commuter aircraft and (3) air taxi or specialty aircraft. For specific definitions of all of these commercial aircraft types, refer to the technical notes for Table 3-1. General aviation aircraft, as defined by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, includes Canadian registered aircraft that are used by private operators, which include individuals flying for pleasure and companies flying for business reasons, or state operators, which include the federal and provincial governments.

Commercial aircraft: In Table 12-1, commercial aircraft data include jets and nonjets. Jets include all commercial turbo-jet aircraft. Nonjets include all commercial propeller driven (turbine and piston) fixed wing type aircraft and all commercial rotary wing (turbine and piston) aircraft. Jet and nonjet Canadian commercial aircraft include Canadian registered aircraft that are used by Canadian air operators whose air operations are grouped by air carrier reporting levels I to VI (which includes a rating associated with the amount of revenue generated by their commercial air carrier operations).

General aviation: General aviation data include all noncommercial turbo-jet aircraft; all noncommercial propeller driven (turbine and piston) nonjet fixed wing type aircraft; and all noncommercial rotary wing (turbine and piston) aircraft.

Road, total—1990 and 1995 through 1998: Under road data, overall totals include Canadian vehicle registrations recorded in the vehicle registration files of Canada’s ten provinces and two territorial regions and compiled by Statistics Canada for its annual publication Road Motor Vehicles—Registrations. Vehicle type categories in Canada’s registration files include: passenger automobiles (including taxis and for-hire cars); trucks and truck tractors; buses (separated between school buses and other); motorcycles; registered mopeds; and, “other road motor vehicles” (including vehicles such as ambulances, fire trucks etc.). These categories do not correspond directly with the vehicle type categories used in Table 12-1.

Road, personal vehicles (passenger cars, motorcycles and light trucks) —1990 and 1995 through 1998: The total for personal vehicles represents only passenger automobiles and motorcycles. Passenger car data include registered passenger cars, taxis and for-hire cars. Motorcycle data include registered motorcycles and mopeds. Light trucks (such as mini-vans and pick-ups) are not a distinct category in Canada’s vehicle registration files, but are included in the category of “trucks and truck tractors.” Light trucks cannot be separated from the total number of “trucks and truck tractors” in Canada’s vehicle registration files. Therefore, separate data for light trucks are nonexistent and no light trucks have been included in the total for personal vehicles.

Road, commercial freight vehicles—1990 and 1995 through 1998: The data in this category are based on two sources; provincial motor vehicle registration files and Statistics Canada’s Motor Carriers of Freight Survey. In Canada’s motor vehicle registration files, “commercial freight vehicles” is not a unique category. As a result, the total number of commercial freight vehicles, as well as the totals for the subcategories of single-unit trucks and tractors, are primarily derived from Statistics Canada’s Motor Carriers of Freight Survey, supplemented with some data from vehicle registration files, as described below.

Data for 1990 and 1995 through 1998 for the total number of commercial freight vehicles are based on the data from the Motor Carriers of Freight Survey and on the supplementary vehicle registration data.

The supplementary data from Canada’s motor vehicle registration files represent “other motor vehicles,” such as ambulances, fire trucks and specialized commercial motor vehicles. It should also be noted that the commercial freight vehicle data in Table 12-1 do not correspond to the “trucks and truck tractors” category in Canada’s vehicle registration files. The “trucks and truck tractors” category in Canada’s vehicle registration files includes smaller trucks, smaller truck tractors and light trucks (such as mini-vans and sports utility vehicles) and also includes trucks that are privately operated. These types of vehicles have been included only in the overall total for the number of road motor vehicles Table 12-1.

Road, buses—1990 and 1995 through 1998: Buses include charter, intercity, local motor (or transit) and school buses. The overall bus total, as well as the number of school buses, is based on provincial and territorial vehicle registration files and reported in Statistics Canada’s annual publication, Road Motor Vehicles-Registrations. Bus data for charter, intercity and local motor buses are based on a sample of Canadian companies engaged in scheduled intercity bus, urban transit, school bus and charter and other types of bus service (Statistics Canada’s annual Survey of the Passenger Bus and Urban Transit Industry). Statistics Canada conducts this survey on a quarterly basis with an annual supplement. Prior to 1994, the survey program was restricted to those companies earning $500,000 Canadian dollars or more. Beginning in 1994, the survey was expanded to included companies earning $200,000 or more.

All Categories of Road Motor Vehicles—1999 – 2009: Data for 1999 – 2009 in Table 12-1 for all categories of road motor vehicles is from the Canadian Vehicle Survey (CVS). The Canadian Vehicle Survey (CVS) is a voluntary vehicle-based survey that provides annual and quarterly estimates of road vehicle activity (vehicle-kilometers and passenger-kilometers) of vehicles registered in Canada. These estimates are derived from quarterly samples of vehicles drawn from vehicle registration lists provided by Canada’s provincial and territorial governments. These estimates of road vehicle activity are provided by type of vehice and other variables, such as driver and vehicle characteristics, time of day and season. The Survey was developed by Statistics Canada at the request of Transport Canada and responds to a need to fill data gaps in Canadian transport activity statistics for road vehicle activity. While road vehicles dominate passenger travel and freight traffic, until the CVS, there was no available measure of total vehicle-kilometers or passenger-kilometers. Data collection for the first year of CVS (2000) began in February 1, 1999 and includes all vehicles in Canada that were contained in the vehicle registration files of Canada’s provinces and territories.

Data for 1999 for all categories of road motor vehicles are estimates, based upon fourth-quarter data from the Canadian Vehicle Survey—the first quarter of the Canadian Vehicle Survey with results for all of the provinces. The increase in commercial freight vehicles from 1998 to 2000 are largely due to this break in the time series.

CVS data tabulations of road motor vehicles in Table 12-1 for 2000 – 2009 are not comparable to those indicated for 1990 and 1995 through 1998. The Canadian Vehicle Survey (CVS) and data sources for the road motor vehicle tabulations for 1990 and 1995 through 1998 are unique instruments, each having their own survey sampling methodology and system of classification for Canada’s road motor vehicles. While sampling procedure of the CVS allow for estimation of the number of light trucks in the vehicle registration lists of Canada’s provincial and territorial governments for 2000 – 2009, vehicle classification systems of Canada’s provincial and territorial vehicle registration files (that group light truck and vehicle-types with passenger cars) do not allow for such a determination. As a result, tabulations for numbers of passenger cars in Table 12-1 for 1990 and 1995 through 1998 are overstated in comparison to that estimate determined by the CVS in 2000 – 2009 for this type of vehicle.

Rail: Rail data for freight cars include Canadian Class I and Class II railways. Freight locomotives include Class I and Class II railways and both freight and yard-type locomotives. Rail data for intercity passenger, train cars and locomotives include Class I (VIA Rail) and Class II railways.

Transit: Transit data are estimates of numbers of vehicles (revenue equipment operated), including rail transit vehicles and buses owned and leased, and are derived from a sample of Canadian companies engaged in urban transit bus service and used in Statistics Canada’s annual Survey of the Passenger Bus and Urban Transit Industry for years 1990 and 1995 – 1999. The total number of transit vehicles includes light rail transit vehicles, heavy rail transit vehicles, commuter rail vehicles and both “owned” and “leased” revenue motor bus vehicles operated for urban transit passenger service (i.e., standard motor bus, low floor motor bus, trolley coach, articulated bus and other buses). Data for transit railcars include light rail vehicles, heavy rail vehicles and commuter rail vehicles.

Water transport: Lloyd’s Register of Shipping has granted permission for use of their data on Canadian flag vessels for years 1990, 1995 – 2010. These data are published in Table 2 of Lloyd’s Register, Statistical Tables 1990 and in Tables 2A – 2N of Lloyd’s Register, World Fleet Statistics (1995 – 2010 editions). The data on Canadian flag vessels that are published in the Lloyd’s Registry are Canadian flag vessels, registered in Canada, in accordance with conditions identified in Sections 6, 7 and 8 of Part 1, Canada Shipping Act (Chapter S-9).

Other passenger vessels include passenger/ro-ro cargo and other passenger. Tanker vessels include liquefied gas, chemical, oil, oil/chemical tankers and other liquid carriers. Dry bulk vessels include dry bulk, ore/bulk/oil carriers, ore/bulk carriers, self-discharging dry bulk, bulk and other dry bulk carriers. Specialized carrier vessels includes specialized and refrigerated cargo carriers. General cargo includes general cargo, ro-ro cargo and other dry cargo vessels. Dry cargo/barge vessels include general cargo vessels and barges. Fishing vessels include fish catching, fishing (including factory ships) and other fishing vessels. However there is a considerable undercount of fishing vessels due to the exclusion of vessels under 15 gross registered tons. Offshore vessels include offshore supply and other offshore vessels. Other vessels include research, dredging and all other types of vessels.


Air: Commercial aircraft includes aircraft from scheduled, charter and freight airlines and air taxis. General aviation includes private and official aircraft.

Road: Road data come from the statistics of the Motor Vehicles Registered Under Circulation. The subcategory of personal vehicles is comprised of private cars, some light trucks, cabs and official vehicles. The subcategory of commercial freight vehicles represents medium and heavy trucks and also may include some light trucks. Data for intercity buses and commercial freight vehicles represent only vehicles that are permitted, by regulation, to use the federal highway system.

Rail: Only a total for locomotives can be reported because they are used interchangeably, and not specifically dedicated to passenger or to freight trains.

  United States

Commercial aircraft: Data for commercial aircraft in Table 12-1 include all aircraft that are reported as being in operation by U.S. air carriers and that carry passengers or cargo for hire, both scheduled and nonscheduled service. On-demand air taxis are included with commercial aircraft in Table 12-1, as reported in the FAA Administrator’s Fact Book. (Excluding on-demand air taxis, the commercial aircraft number is 7,368 for 2000. See Chapter 5 of the FAA Statistical Handbook of Aviation for more information on the U.S. air carrier fleet (including the jet/non-jet breakdown) when on-demand air taxis are excluded.) The commercial aircraft data in Table 12-1 were developed from reports collected by the FAA from the carriers; that is, the data are a total count of the aircraft reported to the FAA as being used in air carrier service. (Note that this is different from an inventory of aircraft owned by the air carriers.) The FAA keeps this data in its Vital Information System (VIS).

General aviation: General aviation data are based on a FAA mail survey, the General Aviation and Air Taxi Activity and Avionics Survey (hereafter referred to as the Survey). The Survey uses a scientifically designed random sample that represents all general aviation aircraft and on-demand air taxis registered in the United States. The Survey data include only aircraft in active use. The general aviation data in Table 12-1 exclude on-demand air-taxis because they have been included with commercial aircraft, as explained above. Because the general aviation data are derived from a sample, there is sampling error. Thus, in some of its tables, the FAA rounds the totals to the nearest 100. The standard deviation on the Survey’s totals for general aviation aircraft plus on-demand air taxis is, however, considerably larger than 100. Standard deviations are given explicitly in the 1996 edition of FAA Statistical Handbook of Aviation, chapter 8, and in the Survey itself.

As stated above, Table 12-1 combines on-demand air taxis and air carrier aircraft into the category commercial aircraft. Thus, to derive the numbers for general aviation in Table 12-1, the Survey’s data for on-demand air taxis have been subtracted from the Survey’s totals for general aviation aircraft plus on-demand air taxis. (It is important to note that the Survey underestimates on-demand air taxis, and the Survey’s numbers for on-demand air taxis do not agree with the on-demand air taxi data in the FAA’s Vital Information System.)

Road: Road data are based on statistics compiled by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) at the U.S. Department of Transportation from reports submitted by the states. In 1995, FHWA revised the data series for the number of U.S. road vehicles. The new categories include passenger car, light trucks (“other 2-axle, 4-tire vehicles”), “single-unit 2-axle 6-tire or more truck” and combination truck tractors. Pre-1993 data were assigned to the closest available category. Data for light trucks or “other 2-axle, 4-tire vehicles” include vans, pick-up trucks and sport utility vehicles. “Single-unit 2-axle 6-tire or more trucks” are on a single frame with at least two axles and six tires, and correspond to the category of single-unit trucks in Table 12-1. Combination truck tractors correspond to the category of tractors in Table 12-1. Passenger cars include taxis. The total for buses is based on FHWA estimates and includes intercity, charter, school and local motor bus. The estimate of local motor buses is based on data from the American Public Transit Association (APTA) (see transit section for a description). All road data represent registered vehicles in the U.S., except local motor buses that are active passenger vehicles.

Rail: Rail data for rail freight include in-service freight cars and locomotives belonging to Class I railroads and car companies and freight shippers. Class I railroads have approximate annual gross operating revenues in excess of $250 million (based on 1991 dollars) and comprise less than 2 percent of the railroads in the U.S., but account for about 70 percent of the industry’s distance operated, 90 percent of its employees and 90 percent of its freight revenues. Data for intercity passenger rail only include in-service intercity cars and locomotives.

Transit: Transit data are from the American Public Transit Association (APTA) and are based on information in the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) National Transit Database. APTA conservatively adjusts the FTA data to include transit operators that do not report to this database. These non-reporting operators typically include private, very small and/or rural operators. There are about 6,000 transit operators in the U.S., according to APTA. Only about 1,000 of these operators report to FTA. However, these 1,000 operators account for approximately 90 to 95 percent of the total transit passenger-kilometers. Reliability of the U.S. transit data varies by mode. The numbers for rail are the most comprehensive; those for bus are less so because there are so many more operators. Transit total includes other U.S. transit categories not individually specified here, including local motor bus, ferries, and transit for the disabled. Transit railcars include light railcars, heavy railcars and commuter rail cars and locomotives.

Water transport: Water data are based on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) data. USACE data are derived from an annual survey of vessels available for operation in domestic waterborne trade as of December 31 of the respective year. USACE vessel data have been organized in this table according to the International Classification of Ship Type (ICST) system. The ICST category for “miscellaneous types, other” includes research vessels or dredges. Because the USACE data represent vessels engaged in waterborne commerce, research vessels and dredges are excluded from USACE data. Therefore, the United States cannot provide data for this ICST category. USACE data also represent U.S.-flagged vessels. A U.S.-flagged vessel is one that is U.S.-operated, but not necessarily U.S.-owned. Data on the number of U.S.-registered cruise vessels was unavailable from the United States Department of Transportation Maritime Administration. However, the number of U.S.-flagged cruise vessels is known to be very low (1-2 vessels) at any given time as the majority of cruise ship lines are international companies, with individual vessels owned by various international entities. Fishing vessel data are derived from the vessel certificate of documentation as captured within the United States Coast Guard (USCG) Marine Information for Safety and Law Enforcement (MISLE) database. Registration is done by the STATE of principal use with the exception of New Hampshire, Alaska, Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa. Vessels primarily used in these states must register with the USCG. The USCG has a high percentage of confidence the statistics of Federal Documented vessels. However, the USCG does have concerns regarding the accuracy of vessel registration numbers completed by individual states and reported to the USCG. The Coast Guard does not regulate the state registration of fishing vessels, making it hard to know the exact methodology used in capturing these vessels, and it is believed that there is little uniformity when capturing these statistics. Some state vessel databases may have the capability to extract the commercial fishing vessels from the general population of vessels registered while other states may not. Additionally, many ‘fishing’ vessels serve multiple purposes, meaning a vessel that is registered as a recreational vessel can at times participate in fishing activities or vice versa. There is also the possibility that a vessel may be registered as a fishing vessel but is not being used to fish. When the Coast Guard extracts fishing vessel numbers from the MISLE database it only accounts for those vessels that are State Registered as Commercial Fishing Vessel. Additionally, if a vessel is less than 5 net tons and equipped within propulsion machinery, it must be numbered but does not require federal documentation. Due to these factors it is believed that the data reported here as U.S. fishing vessels is undercounted.