Statistics, Transport

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Statistics, Transport


in the USSR, the branch of economic statistics that studies the transportation system, including various types of general-purpose transport (rail, sea, river, motor vehicle, air, and pipeline) and nongeneral-use transport (rail sidings, ships, and motor vehicles operated by industrial enterprises).

In the USSR the primary sources of data for transport statistics are comprehensive current records, periodic reports submitted by transportation enterprises that are based on the records, and special statistical surveys, both comprehensive and limited, for example, the annual census of rolling stock and the surveys of the speed of delivery of freight. Transport statistics is subdivided into statistics on shipments, operations, fixed capital and equipment, labor, material and technical supply, and finances.

Statistics on shipments studies the transport output, or movement of freight and passengers. Freight shipments are described by the following indexes: amount of outgoing, incoming, and transported cargo (tons), freight turnover (ton-km), average shipment distance (km), average density of shipments (tons), average length (days) and speed (km/days) of freight delivery, and the interregional (for rail transport also interrailroad) exchange and transportation balance of the country’s regions for various types of freight. With certain exceptions, similar indexes are determined for passenger conveyance. These indexes are uniform for the entire transportation system. The aggregate (calculated) output for all types of transportation, excluding air transport, is determined by adding the freight turnover to the passenger turnover.

Statistics on transport operations deals with the total number of available vehicles and their operation and use. The work volume of rolling stock is expressed in terms of the operating freight turnover (ton-km, net and gross) and the distance of hauls. By comparing the volume indexes and time expenditures of rolling stock, indexes of the use of vehicles are determined: the average daily productivity of a unit of shipping equipment (standard two-axle railroad car, locomotive, ton of load capacity, or horsepower), the average daily run, and the average technical and sectional (commercial) speed of vehicles. Moreover, certain types of transportation have their own indexes. Railroad indexes include the proportion of empty runs by railroad cars, the average turnaround time and indexes for the loading of freight cars, and the average weight and composition of a train. For river transport, there are such indexes as the net productivity of a river vessel (for time of travel with a load) and the average turn-around time for a barge per trip.

Transport statistics studies the material and technical base of transportation using physical and cost expressions for fixed capital in order to evaluate the use of production fixed assets in transportation, to study the proportionality of development of various elements of the transportation system, and to show the correlation between the level of the technical base of transportation and national economic development. Records of the quantity, specification, and operation of equipment and a uniform classification of fixed capital in the national economy are especially important for solving these problems. The leading indexes are the length of routes and the inventory fleets of vehicles.

Labor statistics in transportation studies the number, composition, and movement of the labor force; the use of work time and labor productivity; and the wages fund and average wages. Furthermore, the labor expenditures of workers directly involved in shipping are measured, and the labor productivity of operations personnel is evaluated.

Indexes of the absolute and specific consumption of energy resources in shipping are especially important for statistics on material and technical supply because fuel and electrical energy are the primary types of material expenditures in transportation.

Financial statistics deals with revenues, expenditures, the earning power and prime cost of shipping, and the overall profitability of various types of transportation. Revenues are generally recorded at the moment and place they are received. The only exception to this is railroad transportation, where the revenues of individual railroads from direct shipment are determined by calculation when processing information on shipments. Bookkeeping data are used to analyze expenditures and profit.

In the current phase of building the material and technical basis for communism, transport statistics faces the tasks of investigating the patterns and proportions in the development of the transportation system as a sector of material production, establishing the extent to which the shipping needs of the national economy and population are being met, and creating a uniform system of transport statistics.

The organization of transport statistics in the other socialist countries is for the most part identical to that in the USSR. Problems of methodology in computing the indexes of such statistics have been discussed at numerous meetings of statisticians sponsored by COMECON (Council for Mutual Economic Assistance) and the UN during the 1960’s and 1970’s.

In the capitalist countries transport statistics deals chiefly with shipments, the length of routes, and the revenues of various types of transport.


Istorcheskii ocherk razvitiia uchrezhdenii i rabot vedomstva putei soobshcheniia po statistike i karte putei soobshcheniia v 1798–1898 gg. St. Petersburg, 1898.
Kochetov, I. V. Zheleznodorozhnaia statistika, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1953.
Lebedev, E. P. Transportnaia statistika, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1964.
Transport i sviaz’ SSSR: Statistich. sb. Moscow, 1972.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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