National Defense Transportation Day

National Defense Transportation Day is an observance that was first signed into law in 1957 and is observed on the third Friday in May. It’s a day when all Americans can recognize the various forms of transportation that serve them daily. Although people tend to forget about transportation infrastructure until it’s not working, they should take this holiday to realize that infrastructure is extremely important to national security and for all of us to continue doing our jobs daily.

The History of National Defense Transportation Day

National Defense Transportation Day was initially enacted by an act of the U.S. Congress on May 16, 1957. They designated the third Friday in May for this holiday, and President Eisenhower signed it into law shortly thereafter. A few years later, in 1962, National Defense Transportation Week was established.

Interesting Facts About Transportation

Most people don’t realize the importance of transportation and give it very little thought during their day. So, we decided to do some research and dig up some eye-opening facts that we think most people will want to know about. The following facts should illustrate the importance of transportation not only to our defense but also to our day-to-day activities.

  • In 2019 alone, people took almost a trillion trips on public transportation.
  • Almost half a million people are employed by public transportation.
  • Approximately 45% of Americans have no access to public transportation.
  • Every dollar invested in transportation returns five dollars in economic returns.
  • Studies have shown that capital investment in public transportation yields a 300% increase in business sales.
  • The average household spends 16 cents of every dollar on transportation.
  • Of everyone riding public transportation, approximately 70% are employed, and 7% are students.
  • Almost 7,000 different organizations provide public transportation in the U.S.
  • Americans owned only 8,000 cars in 1900. By 1920, they owned 8 million.
  • In the year 2000, there were more than 220 million cars owned by Americans.
  • In the U.S., almost 16 million trucks are currently in use.
  • The trucking industry moves 70% of all freight in the United States.
  • Americans will lose over $3,000 per household per year from 2015 to 2025 due to infrastructure shortfalls.
  • Approximately 6% of all full-time jobs in the U.S. are in the trucking industry.
  • The U.S. has 4 million miles of public roads, 46,960 miles of interstate, and 605,103 bridges.
  • The U.S. also has over 5,000 public-use airports and 29,620 miles of inland waterways.
  • Traveling by public transportation is 10 times safer than traveling by automobile.

Observing National Defense Transportation Day

On this day, Americans are encouraged to take the time to think about the infrastructure that serves them every day. It’s also a day to celebrate the people who keep things running, including safety officers, pilots, train conductors, and engineers. All across the U.S., communities take time to celebrate the people that make transportation possible with speeches, parades, and special events. While observing this holiday, be sure to use the hashtag #NationalDefenseTransportationDay to spread the word and encourage fellow citizens to take part in this holiday.

Where is it celebrated?
United States (Observance)
When is it?
This year (2024)
May 17 Friday
Next year (2025)
May 16 Friday
Last year (2023)
May 19 Friday
Products & Technology , Work & Occupation