The committee held its first meeting on February 25–26, 2002, at the National Research Council facilities in Washington, D.C. The purpose of this meeting was for the committee to review the NHTS. To this end, the committee heard presentations from representatives of BTS, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and Westat;3 users of personal travel data; and researchers investigating various aspects of survey methodology, including the use of new technologies for data collection. A list of the presentations and panel discussions at the meeting is provided in Attachment B. Following the data-gathering sessions, the committee met in closed session to deliberate on its findings and recommendations and begin the preparation of this report, which was completed through correspondence among the members. In developing its findings and recommendations, the committee drew on information gathered at its first meeting, articles in the technical literature,4 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 February meeting and their responses to follow-up questions. The assistance of Joy Sharp of BTS and Susan Liss of FHWA is particularly appreciated.

In summary, the committee found that data from the Nationwide Personal Transportation Survey (NPTS) and the American Travel Survey (ATS) have proved useful to a variety of entities for the purposes of analyzing policy issues, setting funding priorities, and monitoring trends in travel behavior. The committee believes that data from the NHTS, which has superseded the NPTS and ATS, will prove similarly useful. Therefore, the committee recommends that BTS continue to collect, analyze, and disseminate data on personal travel within the United States. Nevertheless, the committee identified opportunities for the agency to improve its personal travel surveys in terms of both their value to a wide range of users and the quality of the data provided. In particular, the committee recommends that BTS consider developing a family of personal travel surveys aimed at meeting the needs of a variety of users. These surveys are likely to differ in content, coverage, methodology, and frequency.

3

Westat conducted the pretest of the NHTS and has a major role in the conduct of the 2001 survey.

4

A list of all nonproprietary materials considered by the committee is available from the Public Records Office of the National Academies (e-mail: publicac@nas.edu).



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