To measure the complex economic aspects and expected benefits of transportation, a series of indicators can be used.
- Transportation prices. The cost that users pay for transportation services is indicative of the input costs that transportation conveys for economic sectors. Comparative prices are reflective of the competitiveness of each transportation option. Subsidies can be a factor of distortion since it conveys policy preferences for specific modes.
- Transportation productivity. The capacity to carry specific quantities of people or freight per unit of input (e.g. labor and capital costs); how much output is derived per any given unit of input. Productivity measures are useful to assess the level of return on investment.
- Logistics costs. The burden that each segment of the supply chain imposes on the economy indicates how efficient logistics are. High logistics costs are usually associated with resource-intensive economies.
- Transportation capacity utilization. The closer a transport system is to its design capacity, the more congested it is, but the more profitable it is. As capacity utilization rises, there is a need to provide additional capital for maintenance and, eventually, transport infrastructure expansion.