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Transportation Research Board SPECIAL REPORT 304 How We Travel A Sustainable National Program for Travel Data Committee on Strategies for Improved Passenger and Freight Travel Data Transportation Research Board Committee on National Statistics Transportation Research Board Washington, D.C. 2011 www.TRB.org
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Transportation Research Board Special Report 304 Subscriber Categories: Data and information technology; freight transportation; passenger transportation Transportation Research Board publications are available by ordering individual pub- lications directly from the TRB Business Office, through the Internet at www.TRB. org or national-academies.org/trb, or by annual subscription through organizational or individual affiliation with TRB. Affiliates and library subscribers are eligible for substantial discounts. For further information, contact the Transportation Research Board Business Office, 500 Fifth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001 (telephone 202- 334-3213; fax 202-334-2519; or e-mail TRBsales@nas.edu). Copyright 2011 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competencies and with regard for appropriate balance. This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to the procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Insti- tute of Medicine. This study was sponsored by the Transportation Research Board; the Federal Highway Administration and the Research and Innovative Technology Administra- tion of the U.S. Department of Transportation; and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials through the National Cooperative Highway Research Program. Cover and inside design by Debra Naylor, Naylor Design. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data How we travel: a sustainable national program for travel data / Committee on Strategies for Improved Passenger and Freight Travel Data, Transportation Research Board [and] Committee on National Statistics, National Research Council of the National Academies. p. cm. -- (Transportation Research Board special report ; 304) 1. Transportation-- United States--Statistics. 2. Transportation and state--United States. 3. Transportation planning--United States. I. National Research Council (U.S.). Committee on Strategies for Improved Passenger and Freight Travel Data. II. National Research Council (U.S.). Transportation Research Board. HE206.2.H69 2011 388.0973--dc22 2011009694 ISBN 978-0-309-16722-2
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The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general wel- fare. On the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and tech- nical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achieve- ments of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsi- bility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an ad- viser to the federal government and, on its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Acad- emy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Func- tioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. The Transportation Research Board is one of six major divisions of the National Research Council. The mission of the Transportation Research Board is to provide leadership in transportation innovation and progress through research and information exchange, conducted within a setting that is objective, interdisciplinary, and mul- timodal. The Board’s varied activities annually engage about 7,000 engineers, scientists, and other transportation researchers and practitioners from the public and private sec- tors and academia, all of whom contribute their expertise in the public interest. The pro- gram is supported by state transportation departments, federal agencies including the component administrations of the U.S. Department of Transportation, and other organi- zations and individuals interested in the development of transportation. www.TRB.org www.national-academies.org
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Transportation Research Board 2011 Executive Committee* Chair: Neil J. Pedersen, Administrator, Maryland State Highway Administration, Baltimore Vice Chair: Sandra Rosenbloom, Professor of Planning, University of Arizona, Tucson Executive Director: Robert E. Skinner, Jr., Transportation Research Board J. Barry Barker, Executive Director, Transit Authority of River City, Louisville, Kentucky Deborah H. Butler, Executive Vice President, Planning, and CIO, Norfolk Southern Corporation, Norfolk, Virginia William A. V. Clark, Professor, Department of Geography, University of California, Los Angeles Eugene A. Conti, Jr., Secretary of Transportation, North Carolina Department of Transportation, Raleigh James M. Crites, Executive Vice President of Operations, Dallas–Fort Worth International Airport, Texas Paula J. Hammond, Secretary, Washington State Department of Transportation, Olympia Michael W. Hancock, Secretary, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, Frankfort Adib K. Kanafani, Cahill Professor of Civil Engineering, University of California, Berkeley (Past Chair, 2009) Michael P. Lewis, Director, Rhode Island Department of Transportation, Providence Susan Martinovich, Director, Nevada Department of Transportation, Carson City Michael R. Morris, Director of Transportation, North Central Texas Council of Governments, Arlington (Past Chair, 2010) Tracy L. Rosser, Vice President, Regional General Manager, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Mandeville, Louisiana Steven T. Scalzo, Chief Operating Officer, Marine Resources Group, Seattle, Washington Henry G. (Gerry) Schwartz, Jr., Chairman (retired), Jacobs/Sverdrup Civil, Inc., St. Louis, Missouri Beverly A. Scott, General Manager and Chief Executive Officer, Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, Atlanta, Georgia David Seltzer, Principal, Mercator Advisors LLC, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Lawrence A. Selzer, President and CEO, The Conservation Fund, Arlington, Virginia Kumares C. Sinha, Olson Distinguished Professor of Civil Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana Thomas K. Sorel, Commissioner, Minnesota Department of Transportation, St. Paul Daniel Sperling, Professor of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science and Policy; Director, Institute of Transportation Studies; and Interim Director, Energy Efficiency Center, University of California, Davis Kirk T. Steudle, Director, Michigan Department of Transportation, Lansing
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Douglas W. Stotlar, President and Chief Executive Officer, Con-Way, Inc., Ann Arbor, Michigan C. Michael Walton, Ernest H. Cockrell Centennial Chair in Engineering, University of Texas, Austin (Past Chair, 1991) Peter H. Appel, Administrator, Research and Innovative Technology Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation (ex officio) J. Randolph Babbitt, Administrator, Federal Aviation Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation (ex officio) Rebecca M. Brewster, President and COO, American Transportation Research Institute, Smyrna, Georgia (ex officio) Anne S. Ferro, Administrator, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation (ex officio) LeRoy Gishi, Chief, Division of Transportation, Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C. (ex officio) John T. Gray, Senior Vice President, Policy and Economics, Association of American Railroads, Washington, D.C. (ex officio) John C. Horsley, Executive Director, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, Washington, D.C. (ex officio) David T. Matsuda, Deputy Administrator, Maritime Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation (ex officio) Victor M. Mendez, Administrator, Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation (ex officio) William W. Millar, President, American Public Transportation Association, Washington, D.C. (ex officio) (Past Chair, 1992) Tara O’Toole, Under Secretary for Science and Technology, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (ex officio) Robert J. Papp (Adm., U.S. Coast Guard), Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (ex officio) Cynthia L. Quarterman, Administrator, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation (ex officio) Peter M. Rogoff, Administrator, Federal Transit Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation (ex officio) David L. Strickland, Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation (ex officio) Joseph C. Szabo, Administrator, Federal Railroad Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation (ex officio) Polly Trottenberg, Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy, U.S. Department of Transportation (ex officio) Robert L. Van Antwerp (Lt. General, U.S. Army), Chief of Engineers and Commanding General, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Washington, D.C. (ex officio) Barry R. Wallerstein, Executive Officer, South Coast Air Quality Management District, Diamond Bar, California (ex officio) *Membership as of June 2011.
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Committee on National Statistics, 2010–2011 Lawrence D. Brown, Department of Statistics, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Chair John M. Abowd, School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell University Alicia Carriquiry, Department of Statistics, Iowa State University William Dumouchel, Oracle Health Sciences, Waltham, Massachusetts V. Joseph Hotz, Department of Economics, Duke University Michael Hout, Survey Research Center, University of California, Berkeley Karen Kafadar, Department of Statistics, Indiana University Sallie Keller, Science and Technology Policy Institute, Washington, D.C. Lisa Lynch, Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University Sally C. Morton, Department of Biostatistics, University of Pittsburgh Joseph Newhouse, Division of Health Policy Research and Education, Harvard University Samuel H. Preston, Population Studies Center, University of Pennsylvania Hal S. Stern, Donald Bren School of Computer and Information Sciences, University of California, Irvine Roger Tourangeau, Joint Program in Survey Methodology, University of Maryland, and Survey Research Center, University of Michigan Alan Zaslavsky, Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard University Medical School Constance F. Citro, Director
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Committee on Strategies for Improved Passenger and Freight Travel Data Joseph L. Schofer, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, Chair Joseph G. B. Bryan, Halcrow, Cambridge, Massachusetts Anne P. Canby, Surface Transportation Policy Partnership, Washington, D.C. Anand Desai, Ohio State University, Columbus Mortimer L. Downey III, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Washington, D.C. Lance R. Grenzeback, Cambridge Systematics, Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts Hermann Habermann, independent consultant, Arlington, Virginia Timothy A. Henkel, Minnesota Department of Transportation, St. Paul, Minnesota Charles E. Howard, Jr., Puget Sound Regional Council, Seattle, Washington James M. Lepkowski, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor Daniel C. Murray, American Transportation Research Institute, St. Paul, Minnesota Alan E. Pisarski, independent consultant, Falls Church, Virginia Steven E. Polzin, University of South Florida, Tampa Johanna P. Zmud, The RAND Corporation, Arlington, Virginia National Research Council Staff Stephen R. Godwin, Director, Studies and Special Programs, Transportation Research Board Constance F. Citro, Center Director, Committee on National Statistics Nancy P. Humphrey, Study Director, Transportation Research Board Thomas J. Plewes, Senior Program Officer, Committee on National Statistics
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Preface T oday’s transportation system poses a host of complex problems for policy analysis and decision making that have broad implications for travel data requirements and funding. Travel data are used for a wide range of purposes—as a way to track travel trends and plan for facility invest- ments, as a key component of apportionment formulas for federal funding, as input for state and regional transportation planning models, and as the denominator in calculating crash rates for many transportation modes. In addition, decision makers at all governmental levels are being asked to take on new responsibilities, such as tracking the energy use and greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicle travel. Moreover, the next reauthorization of surface transportation programs is likely to place significant emphasis on performance management that will require new metrics with which to mea- sure and monitor the performance of the transportation system. Reliable travel data will be essential to meet these new needs as well. At present, however, travel data collection activities are scattered throughout the U.S. Department of Transportation, other federal agencies, state and local govern- ments, and the private sector, while funding for existing travel data programs and key travel surveys is uneven and often unpredictable. These concerns motivated the Executive Committee of the Transpor- tation Research Board (TRB) to initiate the study documented in this report. The study charge was to assess the state of passenger and freight travel data at the federal, state, and local levels and to make recommenda- tions for an achievable and sustainable system for estimating personal and freight travel to support public and private transportation planning ix
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x How We Travel: A Sustainable National Program for Travel Data and decision making. To carry out this charge, TRB and the Committee on National Statistics (CNSTAT), both of the National Research Council (NRC), formed a committee of 14 experts. The committee was chaired by Joseph L. Schofer, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Associate Dean of the Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science at Northwestern University. The committee included members with expertise in passenger and freight travel data and analysis, data collection methods and statistics, data management and use, public policy, and performance measurement. TRB, together with the U.S. Depart- ment of Transportation1 and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, through the National Highway Cooperative Research Program, provided the funding for the study. The committee approached its task by reviewing earlier studies of transportation data needs, holding informational briefings at its meetings, and drawing on the expertise of its members. The briefings were a pri- mary source of input. At its first and second meetings, the committee heard from travel data providers and users about the state of travel data, key gaps in data content, and suggestions for improving the management and funding of travel data programs. At its third meeting, the committee was briefed by experts on new technologies and alternative methods for collecting data, who drew on domestic and foreign experience to examine opportunities for gathering data differently and more cost-effectively. The committee would like to thank all those who provided these brief- ings, whose names are listed in Appendix B. The committee would also like to give special thanks to Tianjia Tang of the Federal Highway Admin- istration (FHWA), who was instrumental in obtaining funding from FHWA for the project and who provided support throughout the study. Thanks are also extended to Rolf Schmitt of FHWA, Thomas Bolle of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, and Thomas Palm- erlee and Nanda Srinivasan of TRB for sharing their knowledge and pro- viding assistance throughout the study. This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with pro- cedures approved by the NRC’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that assist the authors and the NRC in making the published report as sound as 1. Both the Office of Highway Policy Information of the Federal Highway Administration and the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, which is responsible for the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, provided funding.
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Preface xi possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The content of the review comments and draft manuscript remains confidential to pro- tect the integrity of the deliberative process. The committee wishes to thank the following individuals for their participation in the review of this report: Paul H. Bingham, Wilbur Smith Associates, McLean, Virginia; Alan C. Clark, Houston Galveston Area Council, Houston, Texas; Janet F. Kavinoky, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Washington, D.C.; Timothy J. Lomax, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas; Michael D. Meyer, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia; Debra L. Miller, Kansas Department of Trans- portation, Topeka, Kansas; and Edward J. Spar, Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics, Alexandria, Virginia. Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive com- ments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the committee’s conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Susan Hanson, Clark University, Worcester, Massachusetts, and C. Michael Walton, The University of Texas at Austin. Appointed by the NRC, they were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of the report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring com- mittee and the institution. Stephen R. Godwin, Director of the Studies and Special Programs Division at TRB, and Nancy P. Humphrey of TRB managed the study. Ms. Humphrey drafted the final report under the guidance of the committee and the supervision of Stephen Godwin. Thomas Plewes, Senior Program Officer of CNSTAT, served as liaison to the committee and provided brief- ings on several CNSTAT reports germane to the committee’s charge. Suzanne Schneider, Associate Executive Director of TRB, managed the report review process. Special appreciation is expressed to Rona Briere, who edited the report; Janet M. McNaughton, who handled the editorial production; Juanita Green, who managed the production; and Jennifer J. Weeks, who prepared the manuscript for prepublication web posting, under the supervision of Javy Awan, Director of Publications, TRB. Nikisha Turman and Amelia Mathis assisted with meeting arrangements and communications with committee members. Alisa Decatur provided word processing support for preparation of the final manuscript.
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Contents Executive Summary 1 1 Introduction 5 Study Charge, Scope, and Audience 6 Role and Value of Travel Data 8 The Changing Context for Travel Data 10 Key Issues for Study 17 Organization of the Report 19 2 Overview of Current Travel Data Programs and Gaps 21 Elements of a Comprehensive Data Program 21 Overview of Current Travel Data Programs 22 Major Gaps in Current Travel Data Programs 34 Findings 41 3 New Approaches for Meeting Travel Data Needs 45 Barriers to Survey Data Collection 45 Overcoming the Barriers 49 Findings 70 4 Designing a National Travel Data Program 75 Concept and Content of a National Travel Data Program 75 Cost of the Program 96 Program Management 97 Program Funding 102 Constituent Support and Accountability 105 Findings 106
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xiv How We Travel: A Sustainable National Program for Travel Data 5 A Strategy for Improved Travel Data 109 A National Travel Data Program: The Concept 109 Collaborations and Partnerships 110 Organization and Leadership 111 New Data Collection, Integration, and Analysis Approaches 113 Sufficient and Sustained Funding 114 Constituent Support 115 Management and Accountability 116 Appendices A Study on Strategies for Improved Passenger and Freight Travel Data: Statement of Task 119 B List of Briefings at Committee Meetings 121 C Bibliography of Selected Studies on Passenger and Freight Travel Data and Related Topics 125 D Legislation Establishing the Bureau of Transportation Statistics 127 E Current Data Programs for Monitoring Passenger Travel and Freight Movement 137 Study Committee Biographical Information 161