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Appendix E Current Data Programs for Monitoring Passenger Travel and Freight Movement T his appendix describes the major sources of travel data in the United States today. It covers programs addressing passenger travel, those addressing freight movement, and those addressing both. Issues and gaps associated with each program are highlighted. Data Programs for Monitoring Passenger Travel A comprehensive picture of passenger travel requires measurements of both local and long-distance travel. Local travel is frequent and often repetitive, dominated by journeys to work, shopping, schools, and services. For most people, long-distance travel is less frequent, is dominated by tourism and business trips, and involves a different set of mode choices than local travel. A comprehensive picture of local and long- distance travel across all modes at the national scale has yet to be developed, though some initial work to this end is under way at the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Building blocks for a national picture of local travel include the National Household Travel Survey (NHTS), the Census Transportation Planning Package, and the National Transit Database, supplemented by a half-century of surveys by local agencies and metro- politan planning organizations (MPOs). Building blocks for national measures of long-distance travel include the American Travel Survey 137
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138 How We Travel: A Sustainable National Program for Travel Data (ATS), the survey of international air travelers conducted by the Department of Commerce’s Office of Travel and Tourism Industries (OTTI), tourism surveys conducted by the private sector, and air carrier traffic statistics (discussed in the section on data programs for monitoring both passenger travel and freight movement). National Household Travel Survey The NHTS is the only source of national data on personal travel by all modes in the United States. Data on travel characteristics—trip frequency, length, and time; travel mode (including nonmotorized modes); and purpose—are linked with household and personal data (e.g., household composition, income, age, work characteristics, general location type) and vehicle ownership and use data to provide a snapshot of personal travel (Contrino 2009). Limited data are available for states and some large metropolitan areas, but not below this geographic level. The 2009 NHTS focused on short trips (within 50 miles). Although respondents recorded their trips of all distances for one day, long-distance trips were so infrequent that these data could not be used for any substantive analysis. The NHTS started in 1969 as the Nationwide Personal Transportation Survey (NPTS), a home-interview survey conducted in roughly 5-year cycles. The NPTS was merged with the ATS (described below) and renamed the NHTS in 2001 to capture both local and long-distance travel in one survey. The long-distance portion of the NHTS was not successful and has since been dropped. Historically, the NHTS has been funded primarily by FHWA, with modest contributions by other administrations at the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT). States and MPOs can purchase larger local samples through add-ons to the national sample. With the creation of the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) in 1991, that agency became a cosponsor of the 1995 survey; the cost was split equally in 2001 in the effort to replace the ATS for measuring long-distance travel. The most recent survey (2009) was delayed when BTS announced it could no longer support the effort. FHWA reassumed full responsibility for its funding and administration and, largely with the support of the depart- ments of transportation (DOTs) of 14 states and six MPOs that provided the bulk of the funding—$21 million of the $24 million cost—the survey
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Current Data Programs for Monitoring Passenger Travel 139 moved forward.1 Currently the program is staffed with only 1 full-time equivalent (FTE) from FHWA and 2.5 FTE on-site contractors. In addition to issues of funding stability, the NHTS faces the increasing challenge of low response rates. Data collection conducted primarily through landline telephone surveys yielded only a 23 percent response rate to the initial recruitment for the 2009 survey, a sharp decline from the 56 percent response rate for the 2001 NHTS.2,3 U.S. DOT staff acknowledge that the growing share of cellular telephone–only households will require abandoning complete reliance on landline telephone communication in future surveys. In addition, greater use of web surveys, Global Positioning System (GPS) data recorders, and other approaches may be needed. In fact, a small pilot test of surveying cellular telephone users was conducted as part of the 2009 survey (Contrino 2010). Subsequent analysis showed that cellular telephone–only respondents have different travel patterns from those of other respondents, an issue that must be revisited as the next survey plan is developed. As a step in this direction, FHWA, together with the Office of the Secretary of Transportation, is funding a $1.6 million study to explore a wide range of methods for conducting the next NHTS. BTS is part of the study team but has not contributed funding.4 Response rate issues are not limited to the NHTS and are not new, having been identified in a letter report from the Transportation Research Board (TRB) to BTS in 2002 and in a TRB Special Report the following year (TRB 2003).5 Another critical issue is the timeliness of the data. Although many data products are provided within 6 months to 1 year after survey completion, the length of time between surveys and the one-snapshot, cross-sectional approach are problematic. When the 2009 survey was conducted, for 1. The 14 states were California, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin. The six MPOs were Chittenden County MPO (Vermont), Linn County Regional Planning Commission (Cedar Rapids, Iowa), Maricopa Association of Governments and Pima Association of Governments (Arizona), Piedmont Regional Transportation (North Carolina), and Omaha–Council Bluffs Metro Area Planning Agency (Nebraska) (Contrino 2010). The state and MPO contributions were handled as a pooled-fund project of FHWA, an arrangement that enables agencies to pool resources for a common purpose. In the case of the NHTS, the matching fund requirement was waived (Contrino 2009). 2. These are the response rates submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The retention rate for those initially recruited was much higher—80 percent—even higher than the 2001 rate of 70 percent, reflecting a greater effort to obtain responses and the use of incentives. 3. T. Tang, FHWA, personal communication, June 11, 2010. 4. T. Tang, FHWA, personal communication, June 11, 2010. 5. The letter report appears in Special Report 277 as Appendix A.
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140 How We Travel: A Sustainable National Program for Travel Data example, the nation was in a deep recession, so that travel, particularly discretionary travel, was suppressed. Census Transportation Planning Products The CTPP provides nationwide passenger work trip data, anchored on home and work locations. Through 2000, these data were drawn from the long form of the decennial census of population and housing; more recently, they have been drawn from the continuous American Community Survey. Initially collected in the 1960 census to support the definition of metropolitan areas by the Office of Management and Budget, Journey to Work data provided through the CTPP support regional and local transportation planning with geographically detailed information on where people live and work, how they get to work, and when they depart for work (Pisarski 2006). These data are available at a fine-grained geographic level—typically by traffic analysis zones used by planning agencies or census block groups—to provide inputs for regional travel demand models for larger MPOs and to serve as primary source data for smaller agencies with limited modeling capabilities (Pisarski 2006). Although work trips now account for only slightly more than 20 percent of all household vehicle trips (Hu and Reuscher 2004, 16) and just 15 percent of all person trips (Pisarski 2006, 3), these data are vital for understanding peak demand loads on the transportation system and overall levels of and options for addressing congestion. The Census Bureau collects Journey to Work data through its regular programs, and the transportation community funds the special tabulations to support transportation planning through the CTPP (Pisarski 2006; Christopher 2009). FHWA supported initial development of the CTPP, and worked with the American Association of State Highway and Trans- portation Officials (AASHTO) and the National Association of Regional Councils to encourage states to use their federal State Planning and Research (SP&R) funds and MPOs to use their federal planning funds through a pooled-fund project to support the CTPP.6 In 2000, a budget of $3 million supported dedicated staff within AASHTO for continued development and deployment of the CTPP. The budget has grown to $5.9 million for 2007 through 2011. 6. SP&R funds and planning funds are authorized from the Highway Trust Fund for specific purposes enumerated in Sections 104(f ), 134, 135, and 505 of Title 23 and Sections 5303, 5304, and 5305 of Title 49, U.S. Code.
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Current Data Programs for Monitoring Passenger Travel 141 The effectiveness of the CTPP is now dependent on the American Community Survey.7 That survey ensures much more timely data relative to the decennial census and smoothes out data collection costs over time, but continuous data collection has its own problems. Not the least of these are smaller (timely) sample sizes, which have not only increased the variability of the data but also entailed disclosure restrictions, particularly for the modal and small-area data routinely used by transportation modelers. Establishing methods for properly interpreting continuously collected data for trend analysis and accumulating sufficient data for reliable small- area analyses are works in progress. Resolution of these issues will have important implications for other surveys, such as the NHTS, for which moving to a continuous data collection approach is an option. National Transit Database Starting in 1978, Congress required all recipients of federal urbanized area formula grants for transit to participate in a uniform reporting system, then known as Section 15 for the section of the legislation establishing the requirement. Today, the NTD, for which the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is responsible, is the primary national database of statistics on the finances, operations, and service characteristics of more than 700 transit providers in urbanized areas across the United States and more than 1,300 transit providers in nonurbanized areas (FTA 2009). The NTD is funded by an annual $3.5 million designation from FTA’s grant programs, and all grantees from the Urbanized Area Formula Program (Section 5307) and Other-Than-Urbanized Area Formula Program (Section 5311) are required to report (Giorgis 2009).8 Not surprisingly, compliance is high, particularly for urban transit systems, because the data are used, among other purposes, for grant apportionments for transit properties located in urbanized areas. The data are also used to support the transit section of the biennial Condition and Performance Report required by Congress and to measure transit agency performance and serve other benchmarking purposes. The data on passenger travel by transit are limited. Passenger trips, or boardings, are unlinked trips aggregated for each urban and rural transit 7. The decennial census and the American Community Survey were performed in parallel in 2000 to test comparability and ensure continuity. However, the long form was dropped in the 2010 census. 8. The burden on local transit properties reported to OMB some 3 years ago was 229,634 hours at an esti- mated cost of about $3.4 million.
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142 How We Travel: A Sustainable National Program for Travel Data property. If, for example, a passenger travels by rail and then transfers to a bus, each boarding is counted as a separate unlinked trip.9 Providers in urbanized areas also report passenger-miles, derived mainly by sampling, with larger systems sampling annually and smaller systems every 3 years (Giorgis 2009). Transit properties in urban areas report passenger data by mode (e.g., heavy, light, and commuter rail; buses of various types) and by type of service (direct and contracted out) annually and monthly for unlinked passenger trips only. (The American Public Transportation Association [APTA] also gathers monthly data on unlinked passenger trips from its membership.)10 States report annually on behalf of all rural transit prop- erties by mode only (Giorgis 2009). The NTD has no data on the charac- teristics of transit riders or the purpose or time of their trips. It is necessary to rely on the NHTS for some of these data, but the two data sets are not linked or linkable. The NTD has no data on passenger trip costs, travel times, crowding, or service levels and schedule adherence. Local Travel Surveys Since the metropolitan transportation studies of the 1950s and 1960s, regional and local agencies have conducted surveys of local travel to support transportation planning. Originally funded by programs of FHWA and Section 701 grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Devel- opment (HUD), household travel surveys and other data collection activities of MPOs are eligible for funding from both federal highway and federal transit programs. Surveys are conducted to support travel demand models used for regional transportation plans, corridor studies, and the develop- ment of major projects. While these surveys provide a wealth of local information, the lack of standardized methods and data definitions inhibits comparisons among areas or aggregation into a national picture of local travel. Local travel surveys became less common as costs increased, and 9. According to BTS, which uses monthly unlinked passenger trip data gathered by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) as source data for the Transportation Services Index (described in Chapter 1), all ridership data reported relate to trips, not to people. The use of passes, transfers, joint tickets, and cash by people transferring from one vehicle to another, one transit mode to another, and one public transit agency to another makes it difficult to count people. Boardings (unlinked passenger trips) can be counted more accurately. At the largest public transit agencies, even boardings may be estimated for portions of the ridership. 10. APTA is a nonprofit association of transit systems and commuter rail operators, transit associations, state DOTs, and other organizations. APTA collects these data on a voluntary basis from its member- ship, which includes virtually all of the larger and many medium-sized transit properties as well as some small transit properties that are not included in the NTD database.
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Current Data Programs for Monitoring Passenger Travel 143 MPOs became dependent on the CTPP for small-area data and the NHTS for model calibration factors. American Travel Survey The ATS was conducted in 1995 to capture travel by all modes for trips to destinations more distant than 50 miles. Telephone interviews of 67,000 households conducted four times during the year provided data on passenger flows among states and major metropolitan areas. The $18 million survey was conducted by the Census Bureau and funded entirely by BTS. The ATS was the successor to the smaller National Travel Survey, conducted by the Census Bureau in the 1970s to measure travel among states. As described earlier, the ATS was combined with the NPTS to create the 2001 NHTS in the hopes of reducing costs and establishing a com- prehensive, internally consistent picture of local and long-distance travel. However, the NHTS failed to produce reliable passenger flow data among states and major metropolitan areas. While sample sizes and response rates were higher for the ATS than for the NHTS, the ATS shared many of the same challenges of respondent burden and cost.11 Recent interest in high-speed intercity rail investments underscores the continuing importance of data on intercity passenger flows by origin and destination. The ATS data are more than 15 years old but are the only national source of publicly available information on passenger travel by surface transportation modes to support analyses of intercity transportation. Survey of International Air Travelers OTTI has conducted a survey of international air travelers since the early 1980s. The survey is an important source of data on expenditures of foreign visitors to the United States and corresponding expenditures of U.S. residents while traveling abroad, and it has been used as a measure of foreign travel by Americans and domestic travel by foreigners. In the past, these data were a primary input to balance-of-payments information for the U.S. national accounts, but they have largely been supplanted by credit card company data on inbound visitor spending.12 11. See, for example, the discussion in TRB Special Report 277 (TRB 2003). 12. Credit card companies doing business in the United States are now required by regulation to transmit data quarterly to the Department of Commerce on the expenditures made by foreigners visiting the United States.
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144 How We Travel: A Sustainable National Program for Travel Data Data are obtained from survey instruments administered to outbound travelers either on board flights or in the departure gate area at 30 U.S. gate- way airports (24 of which are major international gateways) for a sample of aircraft flying between the United States and foreign destinations.13 To adjust for over- and undersampling, survey observations are weighted to census data from Immigration and Customs forms that regulate inbound and outbound visitors.14 The surveys seek to obtain representative data on all international air travel.15 Given the complex combinations of carriers, origin–destination pairs, airports, and flights, however, this coverage is not always feasible; thus, the focus is on the top 20 origin countries. Survey data on travel within the United States are most important from a transportation perspective. Survey data are collected on travel to states and major U.S. destinations by nationality of visitor, use of transportation facilities, mode of transport within the United States, group size, and length of stay. The 2008 survey cost about $1.7 million, and the data were released for 20 states and Guam in April 2009.16 The manual form I-94 for inbound travelers to the United States by sea and air is being phased out for those countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program, which will affect more than two-thirds of overseas travelers (OTTI 2010).17 The same informa- tion will be collected from automated sources related to the passenger’s itinerary, which should improve the accuracy and timeliness of reporting. Data from the Private Sector: Tourism Surveys Tourism is a major economic activity for a number of states and large companies. The result has been the development of private sources of data to guide market decisions. Timely data are of the essence for the tourism industry, which is focused on “this season,” while public-sector surveys typically measure long-distance travel activities over a minimum of 13. The program targets two separate populations: (a) non-U.S. residents who have traveled to the United States and who are returning home, and (b) U.S. residents departing the United States on the originating leg of their flight. Foreign visitors are being asked to account for their activities and expenditures retrospectively, while U.S. outbound travelers are asked to estimate their activities and expenditures prospectively. 14. The I-92 form is required of all domestic and foreign air carriers to report total passengers by flight, and the I-94 form is required of foreign visitors to provide information on their prospective visit to the United States. 15. Mexican air travel is included, but through an arrangement with Statistics Canada, that agency provides its survey to the United States, thus avoiding duplication. 16. Data provided by OTTI staff and reported by D. Frechtling, George Washington University, June 29, 2010. 17. The manual I-94W form will continue to be required at land borders and for non–Visa Waiver Program countries.
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Current Data Programs for Monitoring Passenger Travel 145 1 year, thus lagging behind industry needs. One source of current tourism- oriented travel data is the D. K. Shifflet & Associates (DKSA) Survey System. Founded in 1982, DKSA is a private firm serving an array of clients, typically destination attractions, cities, theme parks, and travel associations, but also public entities, such as state offices of economic development and tourism promotion. DKSA retains data sets dating from 1995, derived from a family of monthly surveys, including mail surveys and Internet-based panel interviews, which yield data on more than 75,000 U.S. resident traveling households and their travel each year, measured over a 3-month recall period.18 The historical data permit clients to track long-term trends pertaining to their interests. Coupled with modeling capabilities, the company provides estimates of traveler volume by such metrics as trips; number of travelers; length of stay; purpose of stay and travel activities; visitor spending; and other attributes, such as demographic data, that serve the market research and service planning needs of clients.19,20 Transportation-related data include mode of transportation, trip destina- tion, and traveler transportation expenditures. Because of the expense of this ongoing activity, great care is taken to ensure that proprietary information is not divulged by clients or others. Data are typically licensed to clients for use, but DKSA retains ownership. The proprietary nature of the data can be a particular concern with regard to services to public entities, which may have problems with observing market protection agreements because of Freedom of Information Act requests. This is a good example of the need to establish a realistic sense of appropriate and effective boundaries between private data providers and data users at the federal, state, and local levels. Other National Surveys Containing Personal Travel Data Several other surveys are conducted in which transportation data are gathered for the purpose of comprehensiveness, not to meet a specific transportation need. Three such surveys are reviewed here: the Consumer Expenditure Survey (CEX) and the American Time Use Survey (ATUS), 18. DKSA uses a panel company to recruit nationally representative panels of households that have agreed in advance to participate in periodic surveys. Extensive information about the household is gathered at the time of recruitment, and panel response is typically two to three times higher than that obtained by contacting households randomly. 19. Using DKSA’s visitor volume and spending database as input, IHS Global Insight is able to generate estimated revenues as well as direct, indirect, and induced spending. 20. J. Caldwell, DKSA, personal communication, June 30, 2010.
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146 How We Travel: A Sustainable National Program for Travel Data which measure how people spend their money and their time, respectively, and the American Housing Survey (AHS), which contains questions on work travel and availability of transportation services. The Bureau of Labor Statistics sponsors the annual CEX and ATUS, and HUD sponsors the AHS. The Census Bureau conducts all three. These and other similar surveys provide opportunities for expanded transportation applications. Consumer Expenditure Survey Data for the CEX are collected through a direct interview and a detailed diary kept by selected households to facilitate recall of those expenditures easily overlooked. The number of observations is sufficient for national summaries, but detailed area statistics are available for only 18 metropolitan areas, down from 24 to 28 areas in past years. The surveys include a comprehensive set of descriptive variables, such as persons, workers, and vehicles in the household; type of housing; income and age; and gender and racial characteristics. Expenditures on about 10 transportation items are collected, but more detail is available on a selective basis to researchers where the sample size permits.21 The survey does not address individual trips but rather records aggregate expenditures for the reporting period, which are then accumulated to an annual total.22 One of the strengths of the survey is that it differentiates purchases in the home community (restaurant food and transit) from spending away from home or during out-of-town travel. A weakness from a transportation perspective, but not according to the survey’s intent, is that the expenditures tallied include only those paid for by the consumer and not those reimbursed by others. This means that business travel, or even event travel for which a school or church reimburses users, is not included. This represents a substantial gap in the understanding of transportation spending. American Time Use Survey The first survey of time usage was conducted in 2003 and reported in late 2004. Respondents are selected from among households that have 21. For example, the item “public transportation” is reported as a single value in standard reporting, but unlike its use in transportation parlance, this item includes all modes of transportation for which one might purchase a ticket, including airlines, buses, rail lines, cruise lines, taxis, and of course urban mass transportation. 22. It is possible, however, to calculate actual trip costs from the data. Thus, the average expenditure per household may be small (e.g., the average amount spent on cruise trips per year), but when the total number of households making such trips is recorded (e.g., say, 2 percent of all households), the average per trip expenditure can be calculated (e.g., $40/.02 = $2,000 per cruise).
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Current Data Programs for Monitoring Passenger Travel 147 nearly completed their participation in the Current Population Survey. One person in the selected household is interviewed regarding his or her previous day’s activities. As in the CEX, a diary is employed to support recall. Seventeen main categories of time use with multiple subelements are reported. The variables that describe the respondents parallel those of the CEX, so that distinctions made on the basis of age, gender, race, and income are possible. More broadly, the survey parallels the CEX in that the ways people spend time and money can be quite similar, particularly for out-of-home activities. Recognizing this link, the Bureau of Labor Statistics joins the two surveys in its website presentation. The ways in which people spend time are important to transportation analysts and modelers not just because they constitute travel time information such as the time spent in traveling to recreation, but also because transportation modeling is increasingly focused on activity-based models that tie travel to the actual activities in which people engage.23 The use of this survey is in its infancy, and it could become increasingly significant to transportation analysts. American Housing Survey The AHS has been conducted since 1973 (then called the Annual Housing Survey). Its main focus is on the condition and characteristics of the U.S. housing stock, with associated demographic statistics for the related households. The housing unit is the main sampling reference, and the surveyors return to that unit repeatedly, interviewing whoever resides there. New housing units are added to represent new construction. The survey consists of a representative national sample and a series of metropolitan samples that are rotated among more than 40 of the larger metropolitan areas. Both are conducted in every odd-numbered year rather than, as previously, in alternating years. The survey covers a set of work travel questions paralleling those of the ACS, including the number of vehicles owned, mode of travel to work, time of departure, and travel time. In addition, it includes questions on distance to work and time spent working at home. From a metropolitan planning viewpoint, the AHS is probably the only survey that asks questions about the quality of housing and the immediate neighborhood, such as noise, smoke odors, and reasons for moving away from a neighborhood, as well as the availability of nearby services, such as transit and shopping. It is also the sole source of 23. The smallest geographic unit for which the data are available, however, is the states.
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150 How We Travel: A Sustainable National Program for Travel Data by sample size and disclosure issues, which are more severe than in pas- senger surveys given the heterogeneous and uneven nature of business transactions. The sample size was cut to 50,000 establishments in 2002 but restored to 100,000 in 2007, which allowed better representation of international gateways. CFS and FAF regions are states and selected large metropolitan areas within states.29 County-level detail, requested by many users, cannot be derived without the collection of local data to supple- ment the CFS and FAF.30 Concern about supply chains is twofold. The CFS and FAF track flows among regions rather than among business establishments and do not capture many of the variables of mode and route choice that can be affected by public policy. The CFS also depends on shippers’ knowing where and how shipments were sent, yet many supply chains often involve third-party logistics firms that manage the freight shipments (Schofer 2006; TRB 2003). Thus shippers often do not know by what mode a shipment is made or through what intermediate facility, which results in inaccurate or incom- plete responses to the CFS. Transborder Freight Data Program and Foreign Trade Statistics The North American Transborder Freight Database was developed in response to the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) by the United States, Canada, and Mexico in late 1992 to help monitor trade flows among these countries. BTS contracted with the Census Bureau to provide previously unpublished data from the census foreign trade statistics (BTS undated, a). Data on freight flows are reported by commodity type, mode of transportation (all surface modes, air, and water), and U.S. port of entry or exit for imports from and exports to Canada and Mexico (BTS 2010a).31 Commodity detail by port is not available because of disclosure limitations (BTS undated, a). State of origin and state of destination for exports and imports, respectively, are also reported for 29. Boundaries of metropolitan areas are either Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) or Consolidated Statistical Areas (CSAs) as defined by OMB. When a CSA or MSA spans a state line and both state portions are large enough to support CFS tabulations, each state portion becomes a separate CFS region. When only one state portion is large enough to support CFS tabulations, only the larger portion becomes a separate CFS region; the smaller portion is included in the state totals. The FAF uses the same geographic boundaries as the CFS. 30. Methods of local freight data collection are being developed through the National Cooperative Freight Research Program. 31. BTS also provides incoming border-crossing data for vehicles and passengers, containers, and pedestrians for land ports on the U.S. border with Canada and Mexico (BTS 2010a).
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Current Data Programs for Monitoring Passenger Travel 151 surface transportation modes, but these data may not reflect the physical point of origin.32 No data are available at the metropolitan-area level. In addition to monitoring North American trade flows, the North Amer- ican Transborder Freight Database is used by FHWA, which reimburses BTS for the purchase of the data from the Census Bureau,33 to implement the Coordinated Border Infrastructure Program and to provide one of the data sources for the FAF.34 Finally, the database is used by states, MPOs and local governments, and the private sector for trade corridor studies, transportation infrastructure planning, and marketing and logistics planning (BTS 2010a). Monthly and annual data are available online on the BTS website, where users can access the data through an interactive search- able interface or download the data in raw table formats (BTS undated, a). The transborder data are part of the larger collection of foreign trade statistics and suffer the same limitations associated with using trade as a surrogate for transportation. Data on inland destinations of imports and origins of exports are frequently inaccurate, data on domestic modes used between international gateways and inland locations are generally lack- ing, and in-transit flows (moves between foreign countries through the United States) can be identified only by joint efforts of all three NAFTA partners. Some of these limitations were addressed in a survey of domestic transportation of U.S. foreign trade in 1970 and 1975; more recent efforts to deal with these limitations depend heavily on models (CNSTAT 2005). Finally, by definition the data are restricted to North American trade flows. Rail Carload Waybill Sample The railroad industry reports data on rail freight shipments to the Surface Transportation Board (STB), which replaced the Interstate Commerce Commission in 1995 (the industry was partially deregulated in 1980). All railroads terminating 4,500 or more revenue carloads per year for 3 years in a row are required to file a stratified sample with the STB, averaging 32. In general, import data are more accurate than export data because U.S. Customs uses the former data for enforcement purposes (BTS undated, a). Although the original intent of collecting data on state of origin was to capture the state where the goods were grown, manufactured, or produced, in practice the state of origin may represent the mailing address of the U.S. exporter or an intermediary or (mainly for agricul- tural and bulk shipments) the consolidation point or port of exit, rather than the physical state of origin. 33. In 2010, it cost $52,575 to purchase the transborder freight data from the Census Bureau, which was reimbursed by FHWA. BTS provides programming support consisting of 0.4 BTS staff plus 1 FTE contractor, and the Census Bureau provides support consisting of 0.2 FTE. 34. BTS prepares custom tables of the transborder and border crossing data for FHWA to use in calculating the apportionment of funds to states under the Coordinated Border Infrastructure Program (BTS 2010a).
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152 How We Travel: A Sustainable National Program for Travel Data about 3 percent of their waybills. Virtually all of the data are filed elec- tronically. A contractor (RAILINC) collects, compiles, and edits a stratified sample of carload waybills in a confidential version. STB and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) share equally the annual cost of collecting and processing the data, which totaled $322,000 for the 2010 Carload Waybill Sample.35 Access to the data is restricted because the sample con- tains competitive shipping and pricing information. The contractor also creates a public-use file—the Public Use Waybill Sample—available for download on the STB website at no cost.36 The data include origin and destination points, types of commodities shipped (aggregated to the five-digit Standard Transportation Commodity Code [STCC] level),37 number of cars, tons, revenue, length of haul, participating railroads, and interchange locations (CTRE undated). Origin and destina- tion points are reported by Economic Areas (as defined by the Bureau of Economic Analysis [BEA]), and junction points are reported by state or province, rather than by freight station or city name, to avoid disclosure of data from individual rail carriers.38 As a result of these restrictions, only about 45 to 50 percent of the total waybill records in the public-use file contain full geographic data (STB undated). Waterborne Commerce Statistics The Rivers and Harbors Appropriations Act of 1922 granted the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) the legal authority to collect, process, distribute, and archive data on all foreign and domestic waterborne com- merce on U.S. waters (BTS 2010a).39 For domestic commerce, all vessel operators of record must report to USACE waterborne traffic at the ports and harbors and on the waterways and canals of the United States and its territories (NDC undated). For movements with cargo, the point of loading and unloading of each commodity must be delineated. To protect confidentiality, commodities are grouped into general categories, and if three or more vessel operating companies do not carry a particular com- modity from a region of origin to a region of destination, that commodity 35. J. Palley, FRA, personal communication, May 27, 2010. 36. P. Aguiar, STB, personal communication, May 28, 2010. 37. An STCC code is a seven-digit numeric code representing 38 commodity groupings, developed on the basis of commodity descriptions used by freight rail and motor carriers. 38. The origin and destination BEA areas for a commodity shipment are included only if there are at least three freight stations and at least two more freight stations than railroads in the BEA. 39. Amended and codified in 33 U.S.C. 555.
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Current Data Programs for Monitoring Passenger Travel 153 is reclassified as “unknown and not elsewhere classified.” The Waterborne Commerce Statistics Center of USACE compiles and publishes state-to- state and region-to-region origin–destination movements by tons and commodity by code in a series of annual publications entitled Waterborne Commerce of the United States.40 The fiscal year 2010 appropriations for these activities totaled $4,488,660, and a staff of 28 FTEs supports data collection and processing.41,42 Foreign waterborne commerce includes imports, exports, and in-transit traffic among the United States, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands and any foreign country. Since calendar year 2000, foreign waterborne statistics have been derived primarily from data purchased from the Port Import Export Reporting Service (PIERS). Data from U.S. Customs and the Census Bureau also are used. Prior to 2000, data on foreign waterborne commerce were supplied solely by the Census Bureau. USACE uses the Waterborne Commerce Statistics to analyze the feasi- bility of new water transportation projects and activities, to set priorities for new investment and rehabilitation, and to manage the operation and maintenance of existing projects. The data are also used by other federal agencies, for example, as input for the U.S. national accounts and for emergency management and homeland defense. Summary statistics that do not disclose movements of individual companies are released to the public. Private Sources of Freight Data Shippers and carriers maintain significant amounts of data on freight movements for their own uses and sometimes share that data with con- sultants and trade associations. Two private sources with long histories include TRANSEARCH and PIERS. TRANSEARCH This database was initially developed by Reebie Associates to meet freight industry needs for market data, and it has since been acquired by IHS Global Insight. After passage of the Intermodal Surface Transportation 40. Parts 1–4 summarize data on the movements of vessels (trips) and commodities (in short tons) at ports and harbors and on waterways and canals in the United States and its territories (NDC undated). Part 5 provides summary national statistics on foreign and domestic waterborne commerce on U.S. and territorial waters by tonnage and ton-miles of commodities (USACE 2009). 41. Data provided by S. Hassett, USACE, July 20, 2010. 42. The staffing numbers do not include the director, two administrators, and one supervisor.
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154 How We Travel: A Sustainable National Program for Travel Data Efficiency Act of 1991, the product was adapted under a competitively awarded federal contract to develop and then privately maintain annual freight flow data organized by county. To this end, the database uses public, commercial, and proprietary data sources, among them a variety of federal data sources including the CFS and an ongoing, long-term private shipment sample from many of the nation’s largest motor and rail carriers.43 As a result, TRANSEARCH supplies information on U.S. freight flows by county origin and destination, four-digit commodity, and mode and submode of transportation, and offers such additional geographic units as zip codes, Economic Areas, states, and the nation (IHS Global Insight 2010). The data are based in part on IHS Global Insight’s economic data, issued annually for the previous year, and can be paired with short- and long-term freight forecasts at consistent levels of data detail. The database is sold to a wide range of customers, including railroads, trucking companies, and port authorities for market and network assessment; states and MPOs for freight planning; and financial groups for public infrastructure investment analyses. One drawback of the database is that its private shipment sample depends on voluntary participation and thus is not a random sample, although the vendor attempts to attract a diversity of carrier types. A second drawback is the proprietary nature of the database, and hence its lack of transparency. Users can obtain a reasonably complete account of the construction of the database, and its elements are subject to a degree of market testing in that industry clients can and do provide feedback to the vendor. Nevertheless, users must accept on faith the validity of the results, particularly at the county level. Port Import Export Reporting Service Launched more than 30 years ago by the Journal of Commerce, now a division of UBM Global Trade, PIERS collects data on imports and exports.44 Import information is gathered from vessel manifests and from U.S. Customs Automated Manifest Systems data from all U.S. ports. The PIERS quality control staff verifies the data monthly by comparing them against a list of all vessels arriving at U.S. ports, provided by U.S. Customs, to 43. The incentives for carriers to provide the data include assured confidentiality in the treatment of the collected data, free analyzed data in return, and no attempt to collect sensitive data (e.g., pricing) (Ciannavei 2010). 44. PIERS is the oldest data set on private waterborne trade data and most established in the U.S. federal government market. Other companies, however, such as Zepol and Datamyne, also sell such data and are competitors to PIERS.
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Current Data Programs for Monitoring Passenger Travel 155 identify any discrepancies (PIERS 2010). Export information is gathered by dedicated PIERS staff from bills of lading at all U.S. ports, again verified by PIERS quality control staff monthly against a list of all vessels exiting U.S. ports supplied by U.S. Customs (PIERS 2010).45 UBM Global Trade sells these trade data, enhanced with detail on commodity type and value and available monthly, primarily to private companies (e.g., large container companies) for determining market share and analyzing the competition. Data Programs for Monitoring Both Passenger Travel and Freight Movement Some data programs measure both passenger travel and freight movement, in cases in which people and goods are generally carried in the same conveyances or on common infrastructure. These programs include the air carrier traffic statistics, the Highway Performance Monitoring System (HPMS), and the Vehicle Inventory and Use Survey (VIUS). Such data are also collected by several private sources. Air Carrier Traffic Statistics Data on air passenger travel are some of the best in the transportation industry. The data are both detailed and timely (released monthly). The Office of Airline Information in BTS makes available a public version of what is known as the Origin & Destination (O&D) Survey—a database of a continuous 10 percent sample of airline tickets sold by certificated air car- riers in scheduled domestic passenger service. The data for each passenger include point of origin, destination, airline, class of service, and fare (BTS undated, b). BTS spends $300,000 annually for data collection by a contractor, which is supported by 0.5 FTE at BTS.46 BTS also collects airline traffic data from all U.S. carriers, which include the number of passengers and the weight of cargo (mail and freight) by nonstop flight segment and by market or in-flight segment (BTS 2010a).47 45. There are 48 of these ports throughout the United States, including Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. 46. S. Smith, Research and Innovative Technology Administration, personal communication, April 29, 2010. 47. The data on air cargo from carriers are limited, partly because of the structure of the air cargo industry where the carriers are often wholesalers not knowing much more than the weight of what they are carrying, at least domestically. As a result, these data are of limited use to analysts and decision makers because they reveal so little of the “what and why” of the use of air cargo and almost nothing about where the air cargo leg fits into the supply chain of the shipment being flown.
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156 How We Travel: A Sustainable National Program for Travel Data Domestic data, that is, for traffic between airports located within the boundaries of the United States and its territories, are unrestricted; inter- national data, that is, between the United States and a foreign point, are restricted for 6 months after the report date (BTS undated). These data as well as other nontravel airline statistics gathered by BTS are widely used by customers within U.S. DOT as well as Congress, the Department of Homeland Security, state and local governments, the air transportation industry, researchers, academia, and the public (BTS 2010a). Highway Performance Monitoring System Development of the HPMS was initiated in 1978 to meet congressional requirements to report on the nation’s highway needs, among other purposes, and is widely used by FHWA and other federal agencies, states, MPOs, local governments, and other customers. National-level data on highway inventory, condition, performance, and operating characteristics are collected annually for all public roads, with the greatest detail being on major highways.48 Data on vehicle miles traveled (VMT) are based on short- term as well as continuous traffic counters. State DOTs collect and report the data to FHWA in a bottom-up approach. FHWA provides guidelines on data collection in the HPMS Field Manual (FHWA 2010) and provides technical support and software to facilitate reporting and assist with data quality checks. Nevertheless, the quality of the data continues to reflect state- to-state variability. SP&R funds are available to fund data collection by the states, which also use their own funds. FHWA provides about $400,000 annually for system development and support, performed by about five FTEs.49,50 FHWA uses HPMS data in its biennial Condition and Performance Report to Congress, in the calculation of apportionment formulas for federal highway funds (a strong incentive for states to provide the data), in support of analytic models,51 and for other reports such as the annual 48. Data are collected on the distribution of travel by six vehicle classes for all public roads except for non-federal-aid local roads and rural minor collectors. Areawide summary information is provided for urbanized, small urban, and rural areas and for air quality nonattainment and maintenance areas (FHWA 2008). Major data items, such as average annual daily traffic, are counted in full, not sampled (R. Gillmann, FHWA, personal communication, April 16, 2010). 49. No dollar amount for the cost of state data collection was available. In a burden estimate reported to OMB, however, FHWA estimated that the 52 responses would take approximately 93,600 hours. 50. R. Gillmann, FHWA, personal communication, April 16, 2010. 51. The HPMS is the data source for the Highway Economic Requirements System model, which in turn produces the information for the biennial Condition and Performance Report to Congress. HPMS data are also used by the FAF to calibrate base-year assignments and forecast future freight flows (FHWA 2008).
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Current Data Programs for Monitoring Passenger Travel 157 Highway Statistics and the monthly Traffic Volume Trends (Gillmann 2009).52 The HPMS is also used for safety reporting by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) staff, who combine their safety databases with HPMS data on VMT to report fatality and injury rates by road class. Finally, states and MPOs use HPMS data to assess highway investment needs and conduct air quality conformity analyses. A recent reassessment of the HPMS (FHWA 2008) resulted in recommendations to, among other things, reduce variability in state-to-state reporting; provide for geographic locating, analysis, comparison, and reporting of data; and expand data collection on VMT to ramps and interchanges. FHWA hopes to have these changes implemented by 2011. VMT estimation is probably the most common use of HPMS (FHWA 2008). VMT is calculated and used at the national, state, and local levels. One of the original intents of the HPMS was to develop a consistent basis for VMT estimation nationally. Nevertheless, VMT data are supplied by individual states, often using their own data collection procedures. Vehicle Inventory and Use Survey The VIUS was launched by the Census Bureau in 1963 as the Truck Inventory and Use Survey and was conducted every 5 years from 1967 through 2002. The 2002 VIUS included typical configurations, weights, fuel usage and economy, miles traveled, economic activity served, commodities carried, and other characteristics for a sample of 130,000 trucks, vans, minivans, and sport utility vehicles drawn from state registration files. The sample supported summary tables by state where the vehicles were based or registered. Data on where the vehicles operated were limited to percent miles out of state or in Canada and Mexico. VIUS information has been used in a variety of national and regional studies. VIUS data on payloads by commodity and vehicle type have been central to converting FAF and CFS tonnages into vehicle movements. VIUS data also are major inputs to models of fuel use, carbon footprint, and the air quality consequences of vehicle activity. They are essential com- ponents of truck size and weight studies and highway cost allocation studies. Finally, VIUS provides data on passenger travel for personal and business purposes by pickups, vans, minivans, and sport utility vehicles. 52. Traffic Volume Trends is based on hourly traffic count data reported by the states on the basis of data collected at approximately 4,000 continuous traffic counting locations nationwide; those data are used to estimate the percent change in traffic for the current month compared with the same month in the previous year. Estimates are readjusted annually to match the VMT reported from the HPMS.
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158 How We Travel: A Sustainable National Program for Travel Data Plans to expand the VIUS to automobiles and buses, providing a com- plete picture of vehicle use for passenger travel and freight movement by all vehicles except those owned by government, died with the survey as the result of a governmentwide budget rescission to help defray the costs of the war in Iraq and Hurricane Katrina. The cost of restoring the VIUS is about $10–14 million depending on the scope and whether national- or state-level precision is sought (BTS 2010b). Private Data Sources Popular concern about highway congestion has inspired the development of several private sources of travel data. Congestion monitoring started with the HPMS and the biennial Condition and Performance Report and was refined through the annual Urban Mobility Reports of the Texas Transportation Institute. Private firms began capturing speed data directly through traffic reporting services sponsored by local media outlets and through carriers’ reports on their geographic locations to communications vendors for dispatching and fleet management services; they now capture these data as well through individuals reporting their locations via smart phones. A recent example is the system developed by INRIX, described in more detail in Chapter 3, which provides congestion information to drivers in return for being able to monitor their speed through their smart phones. While traffic monitoring services provide little beyond speed data, future services may be able to include data on traffic volumes, traveler character- istics, and perhaps even goods carried. References Abbreviations BTS Bureau of Transportation Statistics CNSTAT Committee on National Statistics CTRE Center for Transportation Research and Education FHWA Federal Highway Administration FTA Federal Transit Administration NDC Navigation Data Center OTTI Office of Travel and Tourism Industries PIERS Port Import Export Reporting Service STB Surface Transportation Board TRB Transportation Research Board U.S. Army Corps of Engineers USACE
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Current Data Programs for Monitoring Passenger Travel 159 BTS. 2010a. Significant Accomplishments, Fiscal Year 2009. Research and Innovative Technology Administration, Washington, D.C. BTS. 2010b. Options and Costs for Restoring the Vehicle Inventory and Use Survey. Briefing presented at the Meeting of the Advisory Committee on Transportation Statistics, Washington, D.C., Oct. 8. BTS. 2008. Commodity Flow Survey. Survey Overview and Methodology and Frequently Asked Questions. http://www.brs.gov/publications/commodity_flow_ survey/. Accessed March 11, 2010. BTS. Undated, a. North American Transborder Freight Data: Overview and Frequently Asked Questions. http://www.bts.gov/cgi-bin/breadcrumbs/Print Version_redesign.cgi?date=21165415. Accessed April 21, 2010. BTS. Undated, b. Office of Airline Information, Sources of Aviation Data. http://www. bts.gov/programs/airline_information/sources/. Accessed April 16, 2010. Christopher, E. 2009. Census Data for Transportation Planning. FHWA, Matteson, Ill. Briefing presented to the Committee on Strategies for Improved Passenger and Freight Travel Data, Washington, D.C., Dec. 10. Ciannavei, P. 2010. IHS Global Insight, Inc., West Hartford, Conn. Briefing and handout presented to the Committee on Strategies for Improved Passenger and Freight Travel Data, Washington, D.C., Feb. 18. CNSTAT. 2005. Measuring International Trade on U.S. Highways (J. L. Horowitz and T. Plewes, eds.), National Academies Press, Washington, D.C. Contrino, H. 2010. The National Household Travel Survey. FHWA, Washington, D.C. Presentation to a stakeholder meeting at the American Automobile Association, Washington, D.C., Feb. 25. Contrino, H. 2009. The National Household Travel Survey. FHWA, Washington, D.C. Briefing presented to the Committee on Strategies for Improved Passenger and Freight Travel Data, Washington, D.C., Dec. 10. CTRE. undated. Freight and Trade Datasets for Transportation Planning, Rail Waybill Data. http://www.ctre.iastate.duc/research/bts_wb/cd-rom/freight/rail.htm. Accessed March 16, 2010. Donnelly, R. 2010. Best Practices for Incorporating Commodity Flow Survey and Related Data into the MPO and Statewide Planning Processes. Parsons Brinck- erhoff, Inc., Albuquerque, New Mexico, requested by the AASHTO Standing Committee on Planning, August. FHWA. 2010. Highway Performance System Field Manual. Office of Highway Policy Information, U.S. Department of Transportation, Washington, D.C., September. FHWA. 2008. HPMS Reassessment 2010+, Final Report. Office of Highway Policy Information, U.S. Department of Transportation, Washington, D.C., September. FTA. 2009. National Transit Database. http://www.ntdprogram.gov/ntdprogram. Accessed April 15, 2010. Gillman, R. 2009. HPMS 2010+ Reassessment Overview. FHWA, Washington, D.C. Briefing presented to the Committee on Strategies for Improved Passenger and Freight Travel Data, Washington, D.C., Dec. 10. Giorgis, J. 2009. The National Transit Database: Passenger Travel Data. Federal Transit Administration, Washington, D.C. Briefing presented to the Committee
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160 How We Travel: A Sustainable National Program for Travel Data on Strategies for Improved Passenger and Freight Travel Data, Washington, D.C., Dec. 10. Hu, P. S., and T. R. Reuscher. 2004. Summary of Travel Trends: 2001 National House- hold Travel Survey. FHWA, U.S. Department of Transportation, Washington, D.C., December. IHS Global Insight. 2010. Transearch® and Related Applications. http://www.ihs globalinsight.com/ProductsServices/ProductDetail2322.htm. Accessed April 6, 2010. NDC. Undated. U.S. Waterway Data, Waterborne Commerce of the United States. http://www.iwr.usace.army.,mil/ndc/data/datawcus.htm. Accessed April 19, 2010. OTTI. 2010. DHS Streamlines Visa Waiver Travel Process, Arrival/Departure Form (I-94W) Changeover to Electronic Record. TI News, Washington, D.C., June 23. PIERS. 2010. About PIERS. UBM Global Trade. http://www.piers.com/index.crm? page=about. Accessed Sept. 24, 2010. Pisarski, A. E. 2009. Testimony on Research and Development to Support the Department of Transportation’s Strategic Goals. Submitted to the Subcommit- tee on Technology and Innovation of the House Committee on Science and Technology, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, D.C., Nov. 19. Pisarski, A. E. 2006. NCHRP Report 550 and TCRP Report 110: Commuting in America III: The Third National Report on Commuting Patterns and Trends. Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, Washington, D.C. Schofer, J. L. 2006. Freight Database for the Future: Workshop Summary: Observations on Improving the 2007 CFS. In Transportation Research Circular E-C088: Commodity Flow Survey Conference. Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, Washington, D.C. http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/ circulars/ec088.pdf. STB. Undated. Industry Data—Economic Data: Waybill. http://www.stb.dot.gov/ stb/industry/econ_waybill.html. Accessed March 16, 2010. TRB. 2003. Special Report 277: Measuring Personal Travel and Goods Movement. Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, Washington, D.C. http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/sr/sr277.pdf. USACE. 2009. Waterborne Commerce of the United States, Calendar Year 2008, Part 5: National Summaries, Introduction. Waterborne Commerce Statistics Center, New Orleans, La., Dec. 31. http://www.iwr.usace.army.mil/ndc/wcsc/ pdf/wcusnatl08.pdf. Accessed April 19, 2010. U.S. Census Bureau. 2009. Commodity Flow Survey. Program Overview. http:/// www.census.gov/svsd/www/cfsdat/cfsoverview.htm. Accessed March 11, 2010.