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Transport and infrastructure in the United States

Our listing of the primary kinds of transport compares the infrastructure of the United States with the average of all countries in America. Overall, the traffic routes are above average and in good condition.

In terms of the length of its rail network, United States ranks 10th in the world with 0.89 meters per inhabitant. In total, the rail network is 293,564 kilometers long. Freight traffic on the rails most recently totaled 2,364.14 billion tons and kilometers traveled. Passenger traffic reached 31.96 billion passenger-kilometers in 2018.

The waterways listed refer to inland traffic on rivers and canals. The number of ports includes those located on the total 19,924 km of coastline. In 2019, about 55.52 million freight containers were transported.

Airports in the United States


Back to overview: United States

Road traffic

The network of roads and highways has a total length of 6.59 million km. For each of the country's 329.48 million inhabitants, this corresponds to 19.99 meters. This puts United States in 24th place in the global ranking. However, it is also important to note the country's population density, which is very low at around 34 inhabitants per km². Like this, disproportionately long distances generally have to be covered to reach the more remote parts of the country.

With an average of 39377 traffic fatalities per year (2012 - 2019), road traffic in the United States is considered reasonably safe. This corresponds to around 4.3 accident fatalities per 12.2 inhabitants per year. By comparison, this figure is 5.9 in the European Union as a whole and 17.0 worldwide.

In the United States, traffic drives on the right-hand side of the road, i.e. people drive in the right-hand lane and overtake on the left. Oncoming traffic comes toward you on the left side. Here you can also find an overview of all countries with left-hand traffic.


 

United States

 totalper 1 mio
inhabitants
per km²
Roadways6,586,600 km19,990.67 km669.95 m
Railroads293,600 km890.98 km29.86 m
Waterways41,009 km124.46 km4.17 m
Commercial harbors3,65211.080.000
Airports13,51341.011.374
 

North America

 total per 1 mio
inhabitants
per km²
Roadways7,629,500 km20,753.98 km347.07 m
Railroads371,500 km1,010.56 km16.90 m
Waterways41,600 km113.28 km1.89 m
Commercial harbors4,48912.210.000
Airports14,99840.800.001


Data sources used

Global Health Observatory Data Repository (World Health Organization)
UNCTAD
Internation Union of Railways (UIC)
CIA Factbook
OECD Statistics
Wikipedia (german)
United States: AirportsLargest airports and airlines in the United StatesThe 30 biggest airports and 30 airlines in the United States with further information and data
United States: ClimateClimate and temperature development in the United StatesA climate analysis for the United States incl. temperatures, humidity, rain days per month, hours of sunshine, Water temperature, Rainfalls
Ranking: MegacitiesMega cities - the biggest cities all over the worldRanking of the biggest cities worldwide. On top: Shanghai, Chongqing and Beijing