TD 8-1: Domestic Passenger Travel by Mode (Billions [or thousand millions] of passenger-kilometers)


Passenger-kilometers, total: The total is approximate because it is dominated by an estimated number for road, and because data for general aviation do not exist. (Transit also is estimated, and placed under Local Motor Bus, under Road.)

Air: Air data reflect Canadian Level I through Level III air carriers that, in each of the two calendar years immediately preceding the report year, transported 5,000 or more revenue passengers, or 1,000 or more tonnes of revenue goods, between airports located within Canada. Data for general aviation/non-commercial passenger travel do not exist because this type of information is not collected. As a result, a total for domestic passengers transported by the air mode of transport in Canada is also nonexistent.

Road: Road passenger-kilometer data are based on a Transport Canada estimate for 1995 of the number of vehicle-kilometers traveled by personal motor vehicles (includes passenger cars, motorcycles and light trucks) and buses. Estimates of vehicle-kilometers are calculated based on: (1) road motor vehicle fuel sales (net sales on which taxes were paid at road-use rates); and (2) estimates of fuel efficiency by class of vehicle. Estimates of average occupancy are then applied to the estimates of vehicle-kilometers to arrive at passenger kilometers. Buses include intercity, charter, school and local transit buses. The passenger-kilometer data concerning the Road Motor Vehicles for 2000 – 2008 in Table 8-1 is from the Canadian Vehicle Survey (CVS). Refer to notes for Table 12-1 for a description of this survey.

Rail: Rail passenger data include Class I (VIA Rail) and Class II (other carriers involved in Canadian rail passenger transportation) railways.



For all data included in Table 8-1, the distances used to estimate indicators; i.e., passenger-kilometers, were based on routes and traffic intensities.

Air: Data include only domestic airlines with scheduled service. General aviation activity is not included.

Bus, total and intercity: Data for all types of buses are nonexistent, because these data are not collected. In Table 8-1 only data for intercity buses are reported. These buses use Mexico’s federal highway system, and do not include local transit buses. Intercity bus data for passenger-kilometers are estimates based on the size of the vehicle fleet and the following formula:

Passengers-kilometers = passengers transported x distance traveled.

Passengers transported = vehicle fleet x used capacity x trips per week x weeks per year

The vehicle fleet is the number of vehicles that move passengers on the federal road system. Used capacity is the average number of used seats per vehicle. Trips per week are the average number of trips per vehicle per week. Weeks per year are the average number of weeks, an intercity bus is in service during the year. Distance traveled is the distance between the origin and destination of the bus.

Air and water: Air carrier is an estimate data made by Instituto Mexicano del Transporte based on data provided from Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Transportes. Dirección General de Aeronáutica Civil. Water data represent port pairs.

   United States

Air: Air data comprise air carrier and general aviation passenger-kilometers. Air carrier data in the United States are based on 100 percent reporting of passengers and trip length by the large certificated air carriers (including the medium regional carriers). There are some 90 air carriers that operate aircraft with a passenger seating capacity of more than 60, or have a payload capacity of more than 8,165 kilograms, or operate internationally. (See the technical notes under Table 4-1 for more information on large certificated air carriers.) Large certificated carriers have reported data for the entire period above. There are some 50 non-large certificated carriers that began reporting under a consistent set of rules in October 2002. Data for on-demand air taxis are excluded for the entire period above and non-large certificated carriers are excluded for 1990-2001. If added in the years of exclusion, these might raise the totals by less than 5 percent. Air carrier passenger-kilometers are computed by summing the aircraft kilometers flown on each inter-airport segment multiplied by the number of passengers carried on that segment.

Road: Road data are based on statistics compiled by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) at the U.S. Department of Transportation from data reported by each state. Road passenger-kilometers are calculated by multiplying the vehicle kilometers of travel by the average number of occupants for each vehicle type (as estimate by FHWA, using various sources, especially, the Nationwide Personal Transportation Survey). The quality of the data varies by the level of the functional road system and by each state’s effort and adherence to FHWA methods. FHWA edits reports that are unreasonable because of obvious errors or large changes. In July 1997, FHWA published revised passenger-kilometers data for the road mode for several years. The major change reflected the reassignment of some vehicles from the passenger car category to the FHWA category “other 2-axle, 4-tire vehicles” (called “light truck” in this table). Light trucks include vans, pick-up trucks, minivans and sport utility vehicles. Passenger cars include taxis. Bus totals are based on data from the FHWA and include charter, intercity, local motor bus and school bus. Local motor bus is based on data from a private association, and is described under transit. Road data do not include passenger travel by commercial freight vehicles.

Transit: Transit data are from the American Public Transportation 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; 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 passenger-kilometers are the cumulative sum of the distances ridden by each passenger. Transit total includes other U.S. transit categories not individually specified here, including local motor bus, trolley bus, ferries and transit for the disabled. Transit rail includes commuter rail, heavy rail and light rail. Local motor bus included here is not included in the total to avoid double counting with the estimate of bus passenger vehicle-kilometers in the road data.

Intercity rail: Intercity rail data are based on an almost 100 percent count of tickets from the service provider in the United States (Amtrak) and, therefore, are considered to be very accurate.