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National Transportation Week: Transportation Trivia

National Transportation Week is a time to reflect on the incredible role the transportation infrastructure has made on our country’s history, economic growth, national defense, social health and much more. Keep reading to learn some interesting trivia about transportation in the United States:


  • While President Eisenhower is often mistakenly credited for conceiving the idea of the Interstate Highway system, his strong support lead to the passing of the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 and earning him the title “Father of the Interstate System”. The following year Eisenhower signed into law the observance of National Defense Transportation Day which Congress later expanded to an entire week a few years later.

  • The Interstate System is referred to as the Greatest Public Works Project in history. From the passing of the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 to present, the Interstate Highway System has become the most expensive United States public works megaprojects at over $539 billion.

  • Do you know where the least traveled road in America is? The James W. Dalton Highway (State Route 11), often called "The Loneliest Road", runs 414 miles from Fairbanks, AK to Deadhorse, AK. Check out some more of America’s Quietest Routes here.

  • Public transportation is a $77 billion industry that employs more than 421,000 people. According to the American Public Transportation Association, “For every $1 communities invest in public transportation, approximately $5 is generated in economic returns”.

  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is the busiest airport in the United States serving over 53.4 million passengers per year with over 1,000 flights per day! Interestingly, Tulsa International Airport was very briefly the busiest airport in the world during 1920’s oil boom.

  • The United States has 12,000 miles of commercially active inland and intercostal waterways. Transporting cargo by barge is the most fuel efficient and environmentally beneficial form of cargo transit. The US Army Corps of Engineers found, “On average, a gallon of fuel allows one ton of cargo to be shipped 59 miles by truck, 202 miles by rail, and 514 miles by barge”.

  • North Dakota has been ranked the best state in overall highway performance. It is good to note that North Dakota is also one of the states with the least amount of interstate routes with a total of only three. The state with the title of “Worst Performing Highways” belongs to New Jersey. Interested in knowing where your state falls on the report card? Check it out here.

  • The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) in New York City is the largest and busiest public transportation organizations in the country. Did you know the commonly used term “bus” comes from the Latin word “omnibus” which means “for all”? The first use of this term to define a, “long-bodies, four-wheeled public vehicle with seats for passengers” was in Paris, France in 1819 to describe the first public bus system in the world.

  • Since President Eisenhower enacted National Defense Transportation day, each preceding president has signed a proclamation about the vital impact transportation makes on every American. This year President Biden stated, This month we recognize the dedicated men and women who kept this Nation moving during the depths of a global pandemic: the truckers who delivered groceries to empty store shelves; the airline crews who flew medical workers to COVID-19 hotspots; the United States military members who remained on the front lines to distribute and administer vaccines in record time; and the transportation workers who kept our systems running as economies shut down. We thank you for serving the American people and the traveling public." Keep reading here what President Biden has to say about transportation and be sure the thank a transportation worker this week!

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