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 these findings and recommendations, the committee drew on information gathered at its June meeting, examples of Omnibus surveys and products, articles in the technical literature,1 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 June meeting and their responses to follow-up questions. The assistance of Lori Putman of BTS is particularly appreciated.

In summary, the committee found that the Omnibus Survey Program has value as a source of timely data to inform decision making on a range of transportation issues. These data capture public opinion about a wide range of topics broadly related to transportation and provide a means of monitoring the public’s use of and satisfaction with the transportation system. However, the committee is concerned that a BTS survey of public opinion on topical items has the potential to compromise the agency’s credibility as an independent provider of statistical data and services. Therefore, the committee suggests that BTS take steps to safeguard the integrity of the Omnibus program as an independent source of high-quality data. In particular, the committee recommends that the agency (a) establish an appropriate review mechanism for all proposed Omnibus surveys, (b) implement measures aimed at improving and ensuring survey quality, and (c) take steps to improve the quality of data analysis products and reports.

This report presents the committee’s findings and recommendations in four areas: the value of the Omnibus program, and three areas of action to safeguard the integrity of the program—review of proposed surveys, implementation of measures to improve and ensure survey quality, and steps to improve the quality of data analysis products and reports. Enclosure C provides an overview of the Omnibus Survey Program.


A list of all nonproprietary materials considered by the committee is available from the Public Records Office of the National Academies (e-mail:

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