To help get you in the mood for this year’s Thanksgiving travel crunch, here are eight facts about plane, train and automobile transportation in the United States.
1. If you’re traveling for Thanksgiving, you aren’t alone. More than 55 million Americans are expected to travel 50 miles or more away from home this holiday, according to the American Automobile Association.
2. Most Thanksgiving travelers will go by automobile. According to the AAA, 49.3 million will travel by automobile, while 4.45 million will fly and 1.49 million will go by train or bus.
3. The United States has an extensive system of roads and highways. There are 4.08 million miles of public roads, including 46,960 miles of interstate highways, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. There are also 125.7 million automobiles, 118.5 million trucks, 8.4 million motorcycles and 700,000 buses registered to drive on those roads and highways.
4. Americans do a lot of air travel, too. The Federal Aviation Administration handles 16.1 million flights a year, averaging 44,000 flights a day, through 528 airport traffic control towers. The nation has 5,092 public and 14,530 private airports. There are 167,100 planes and 10,500 helicopters using the skyways.
5. Americans do less travel by train. Amtrak, the national rail operator, oversees 21,000 route miles in 46 states, the District of Columbia and three Canadian provinces. It operates more than 300 trains a day to more than 500 destinations. In 2018, Amtrak served 31.7 million passengers, averaging 87,000 passengers daily.
6. The first stamp featuring an automobile was issued in 1901. The 4-cent stamp was part of the six-stamp commemorative series publicizing the 1901 Pan-American Exposition, which was held in Buffalo, NY. The stamp displays an electric-powered car. The most recent stamp to feature an automobile is the 10-stamp Hot Wheels pane in 2018, which marked the 50th anniversary of pocket-size racing cars.
7. The first stamp featuring an airplane appeared in 1913. The 20-cent stamp, which is part of a series depicting mail transportation, displays a biplane that was used to carry mail. The most recent stamp to feature an airplane is a 2018 United States Air Mail stamp commemorating an August 1918 flight from College Park, MD, to New York City that became the first step in establishing transcontinental routes for airmail service.
8. The first stamp featuring a train was printed in 1869. The 3-cent stamp displays a wood-burning train engine. The most recent stamp to feature a train is this year’s three-stamp Transcontinental Railroad issue, marking the 150th anniversary of the first cross-country railroad.