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Revista Interamericana de Bibliografía (RIB)
Número: 1-4
Título: 1997
Sección: Artículos / Articles

Trade and Transportation Data

Numerous records in the National Archives, transferred from the Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, concern aspects of trade between the United States and foreign countries, including Latin American nations. These include U.S. Import (IA 245) and Export (EA 622) Annual Data, 1964-1992; Export Non Con Data Bank, 1981-1992 (EA 694 & 695) [Annual Trade Summaries Between the U.S. and U.S. Possessions]; and Domestic and International Transportation of U.S. Foreign Trade, 1970; a special study conducted by Census for the Department of Transportation and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

In general, annual import and export trade data are reported by commodity, country of origin or destination, and the weight and value of items imported or exported by vessel and air transportation. Export data also includes the district of exportation and quantity and value of exports by all methods of transportation. Import data include the districts of entry and unlading and the quantity and value of general imports and imports for immediate consumption. The Export Non Con Data Bank contains statistics similar to those reported in the export annual data, reporting shipments of merchandise between the U.S. and Puerto Rico and shipments from the U.S. to the Virgin Islands.

The special study, Domestic and International Transportation of U.S. Foreign Trade, 1970, include data from a 1 percent sample of shipments of commodities through ports within the 48 contiguous states that were transported on the international leg by vessel or air. The commodities sampled are those that can be defined as general cargo, non-bulk, or merchandise traffic. They include all items in U.S. foreign trade, with some notable exceptions (bulk grains and crude oil). Since the means of transportation on the international leg specifically includes only waterborne and airborne commerce, the survey excludes land transport by rail and highway between the U.S. and Canada and Mexico. However, air and water transport to and from these countries is included. Another study was conducted in 1976, but these data have not been transferred to the National Archives.

The National Archives is also the repository for records from the Department of Transportation, Research and Special Programs Administration (formerly collected by the Civil Aeronautics Board), on international airline passenger and cargo shipments. Specific series of records include the Origin and Destination Surveys, Passenger, Ticket Origin and Destination, (Data Bank 1 and Data Bank 1A), 1968-1992; Origin and Destination Surveys, Directional, International and Territorial, (Data Bank 2A), 1968-1992; Service Segment Data, (Data Bank 23), 1970-1989; and the Combined Service Segment and T-9, Domestic and International, (Data Bank 27T), 1984-1989. Release of some of these data files is restricted. Researchers interested in obtaining copies of these data files should first contact the Center for Electronic Records of the National Archives.

In general, these records provide a rich source of data for transportation geographers interested in international air transportation. For example, Data Bank 2A is created from a 10 percent sample of revenue passengers between all city pairs in the world served by all U.S. airlines. These annual data files contain quarterly totals of inbound and outbound passengers (current quarter and three preceding quarters), for international routings that have been classified as unidirectional by applying “trip breaking criteria” to all ticketed routings. Passenger statistics are reported based on city pairs and the file includes information on the carrier, coupon type, distance, and world area code.

Trade and transportation data in the National Archives represents an important resource for economists, geographers, and other social scientists researching international trade and transportation. In general, annual data files are available, covering periods of over 20 years, allowing for long-term comparative studies of trade and travel relationships between the U.S. and other countries. In particular, air passenger travel data allows for the study of the effects of deregulation, and other policy changes, on the use of air transportation, both domestically and internationally.