Transport and infrastructure in the United States of America

Our listing of the primary types of transport compares the infrastructure of United States of America 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 11th in the world with 0.88 meters per inhabitant. In total, the rail network is 293,564 kilometers long. Freight traffic on the rails most recently totaled 2.239 trillion tons and kilometers traveled. Passenger traffic reached 12.46 billion passenger-kilometers in 2020.

The waterways listed refer to inland traffic on rivers and canals. The number of ports includes those located on the 19,924 km of coastline. In 2020, about 54.96 million freight containers were transported.

Airports in the United States of America

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 331.89 million inhabitants, this corresponds to 19.85 meters. This puts United States in 24th place in the global ranking. However, it is also important to note that the country's population density is very low at around 34 inhabitants per km². In this case, disproportionately long distances generally have to be covered to reach the more remote parts of the country.

With an average of 39794 traffic fatalities per year (2013 - 2019), road traffic in the United States of America is considered reasonably safe. This corresponds to 12.3 accident fatalities per 100,000 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
per km²
Roadways6,586,600 km19,845.54 km669.95 m
Railroads293,600 km884.51 km29.86 m
Waterways41,009 km123.56 km4.17 m
Commercial harbors3,62710.930.000

North America

 total per 1 mio
per km²
Roadways7,629,500 km20,605.41 km347.07 m
Railroads371,500 km1,003.32 km16.90 m
Waterways41,600 km112.47 km1.89 m
Commercial harbors4,46112.050.000

Data sources used

Global Health Observatory Data Repository (World Health Organization)
Internation Union of Railways (UIC)
CIA Factbook
OECD Statistics
Wikipedia (german)
United States of America: AirportsLargest airports and airlines in the United States of AmericaThe 30 biggest airports and 15 airlines in the United States of America with further information and data with further information on airlines and destinations
United States of America: ClimateClimate and temperature development in the United States of AmericaA climate analysis for the United States of America 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