The mental math references for transportation are below. At the bottom of the page you’ll find a list of sources for each figure, with the precise data point from that source.
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General transportation stats
U.S. highway miles
Global road traffic deaths
Fuel consumption in U.S.
Container ships globally
Airports in the U.S.
Air traffic incidents
Speed of commercial airplane
Speed of high-speed train
Average car speed
Speed of cargo ship
Number of airlines globally
Parking spaces in U.S.
Bridges in U.S.
Tunnels in U.S.
Average vehicle lifetime
Average airplane lifetime
130 billion gallons/year
Global air travel passengers
U.S. air travel passengers
Avg. daily commute in U.S.
Electric vehicles globally
Public transit users in U.S.
Taxi cabs in New York City
Uber rides per day
Cruise ship passengers annually
Global bike sales
Trucking companies in U.S.
Global air cargo
50 million tons/year
Cost of gallon of gasoline in U.S.
Cost of a subway ticket in New York
Cost of new car
Cost of electric vehicle
Cost of bicycle
Average price of airline ticket
Shipping freight rates
Note: All dollar figures are in USD.
Global car sales
U.S. car sales
EU car sales
China car sales
Global shipping market size
Global rail market size
General transportation stats
U.S. highway miles: 4.09 million — FHWA
Global road traffic deaths: 1.35 million/year — CDC
Fuel consumption in U.S.: 134.55 billion gallons/year — EIA
Container ships globally: 5,600 — Statista
Airports in the U.S.: 5,211 — Statista
Air traffic incidents: 1,622/year — Hive Law
Speed of commercial airplane: 600 mph — Aerotime
Speed of high-speed train: 155 mph — Wikipedia
Average car speed: 18.6 mph — Movotiv
Speed of cargo ship: 14.95 knots — Statista
Number of airlines globally: 5,000 — Wikipedia
Parking spaces in U.S.: 2 billion — CNN
Bridges in U.S.: 617,000 — Infrastructure Report Card
Tunnels in U.S.: 522 — FHWA
Average vehicle lifetime: 12 years — BTS
Average airplane lifetime: 20-30 years — Aviation File
Global air travel passengers: 2.2 billion/year — Statista
U.S. air travel passengers: 853 million/year — BTS
Avg. daily commute in U.S.: 27.6 minutes — Zippia
Electric vehicles globally: 20 million — Statista
Public transit users in U.S.: 34 million/day — APTA
Taxi cabs in New York City: 13,587 — NYC.gov
Uber rides per day: 14 million — Ridester
Cruise ship passengers annually: 20.4 million — Statista
Global bike sales: 257 million/year — Statista
Number of trucking companies in U.S.: 1.86 million — Truck Info
Global air cargo: 65.6 million tons/year — Statista
Cost of gallon of gasoline in U.S.: $3.93 — Y Charts
Cost of a subway ticket in New York: $2.90 — MTA
Cost of new car: $32,179 — Clark
Cost of electric vehicle: $53,438 — Clark
Cost of bicycle: $800— Ridepace
Average price of airline ticket: $253.75 — Bankrate
Shipping freight rates: $1,500/container— Statista