PLoS One. 2023 Oct 27;18(10):e0287983. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0287983. eCollection 2023.
Currently, there is a large deviation between official road freight data and real road freight performance at a subnational level in China. In order to deal with this deviation, the new concept of local freight tonnage and ton-kilometers is presented in this paper based on the territoriality principle, where either the origin or the destination of goods transported is local. Also, the statistic procedures and estimation models of the local freight tonnage and ton-kilometers are proposed based on five accessible basic datasets. Finally, an empirical study in Sichuan province of China is conducted. The statistical results show that there is a large amount of local freight transported by local non-commercial trucks and non-local trucks, which is ignored in the existing road freight statistics. Especially, the higher the level of local economic development, the greater the deviation between the official road freight data and the real road freight performance at a subnational level.