. "C Letter Report on the Commodity Flow Survey." Measuring Personal Travel and Goods Movement: A Review of the Bureau of Transportation Statistics' Surveys -- Special Report 277. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2003.
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Measuring Personal Travel and Goods Movement: A Review of the Bureau of Transportation Statistics' Surveys- Special Report 277
sector users of CFS data. A list of the presentations at the meeting is provided in Enclosure B. Following the data-gathering sessions, the committee met in closed session to deliberate on its findings and recommendations and begin preparation of this report, which was completed through correspondence among members. In developing these findings and recommendations, the committee drew on the information gathered at its third meeting, articles in the technical literature,1 examples of CFS products, and the experience and expertise of individual members. The committee would like to thank all those who contributed to this review through their participation in the third committee meeting and their responses to follow-up questions.
In summary, the committee found that the CFS plays a unique rolein providing data on domestic freight movements to inform a widerange of economic and policy analyses and related investment decisions. However, gaps in shipment and industry coverage and a lack ofgeographic and commodity detail limit the usefulness of the CFS datafor a growing number of applications. Moreover, limitations due tothe lack of detail are being compounded by the shrinking sample size.A national freight data architecture could eventually result in a morecomprehensive national picture of freight flows. In the meantime, thecommittee recommends that the CFS be continued at least until animproved alternative has been established. In an effort to make futureeditions of the CFS more useful and more cost-effective in providingdata for a range of users, BTS and the Census Bureau should (a) investigate opportunities to update the survey methodology, with emphasis on the use of new technologies to support increases in samplesize through more cost-effective data collection; (b) establish improvedmechanisms for soliciting suggestions and feedback from users to inform design decisions and prioritize survey modifications; and (c) reevaluate their roles and responsibilities within the CFS partnership toensure adequate and timely funding for future surveys.
The remainder of this report commences with a brief overview of the CFS. The committee’s findings on (a) data use and data users and (b) the
A list of all nonproprietary materials considered by the committee is available from the Public Records Office of the National Academies (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).