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The transportation industry is responsible for moving people, animals, and goods from one location to another, whether by land, air, or sea. This large industry includes a wide variety of organizations, such as travel airlines, railways, and cruise lines, municipal transportation companies, freight railways, cargo trucking, and air and express delivery services. These companies may ship within certain regions of the United States or both nationally and internationally. According to SelectUSA, the U.S. transportation and logistics industry accounted for 8 percent of the annual gross domestic product, with spending in this industry totaling $1.6 trillion in 2018.

Over the centuries, developments in transportation have changed how we live and work. In the early days, man used horses, mules, and other animals to travel to different locations and to transport goods. Man-made boats and ships were used to travel along coastal waterways and across oceans for exploration and trade. Most people settled in areas nearest to the coasts because road travel was difficult and often dangerous at the time. As far back as the 1600s, water transportation was used to ship agricultural products to different ports. In the 1800s, railroads were built throughout the United States, resulting in more areas of the country being developed and populated, and even more goods from around the country delivered to these areas. The transportation industry evolved further in the 1900s, with the introduction of the automobile and the airplane.

There are many different types of bus companies that employ bus drivers, whether for schools, inner- or inter-city transportation, or charter buses for sightseeing trips of different cities and regions. Taxi drivers and chauffeurs work for taxi and limousine services and transit and ground transport companies; many are also self-employed. Railroad workers may work for passenger or freight railways; jobs in this industry include locomotive engineers, conductors, yardmasters, rail yard engineers, and railroad operators. Airline workers such as airline and commercial pilots and flight attendants may work for passenger or cargo airline companies. There are also air traffic controllers who monitor the movement of all airplanes to ensure they are at safe distances from each other while in the air and on the ground.

The trucking industry employs heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers to transport goods regionally or across multiple states. Truck drivers work for general freight trucking, specialized freight trucking, and wholesale trade companies. There are also delivery truck drivers who pick up and deliver small shipments and packages within urban areas and certain regions. They drive smaller trucks than those of the heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers, because they transport merchandise from distribution centers to business offices and homes. Other jobs in trucking companies include hand laborers and material movers, and material recording clerks.

Water transportation workers, also known as merchant mariners, are employed on cruise ships, ferry boats, tugboats and barges, merchant ships, and deep-sea vessels. They work for water transportation companies, scenic and sightseeing transportation companies, and government agencies. Jobs in water transportation include captains of boats, mates or deck officers, pilots, sailors or deckhands, ship engineers, marine oilers, and motorboat operators.