Using American Community Survey Data for Transportation Planning
Transportation planners have relied heavily on the decennial Census "long form" data, because it provides detailed demographic characteristics along with journey-to-work data for small units of geography such as census tracts or Traffic Analysis Zones. The 2000 Census "long form" was probably the last time the "long form" will be included in the decennial Census, because of Congressional concerns about privacy and burden to the American public. It is the "long form" that provides the data for the Census Transportation Planning Package (CTPP), the mostly widely used database for transportation planning.
The U.S. Census Bureau plans to replace the "long form" with a continuous data collection program called the American Community Survey (ACS). The ACS differs from the decennial census in many ways, especially as it represents a change from data collected at a single point-in-time (April 1, 2000) to data collected continuously throughout the year, and summarized annually for large geographic units. Data for Traffic Analysis Zones or tracts would become available based upon a floating average of data accumulated over 5 to 7 years. The transportation planning community needs to know how to use this new source of data in applications such as long range planning and forecasting, environmental justice analysis, specific project analysis and descriptive interpretation.
This research will compare results from the American Community Survey test sites (1999-2001) and explain how these results differ from decennial Census long form data. The research will provide methods of incorporating these differences into existing transportation planning applications, such as travel demand forecasting, sketch planning and microsimulation, as well as methods for presenting this data for decision makers, the public, and the media.
The estimated funding for this project is $300,000. The research will require approximately 24 months to complete.
This is a high priority issue submitted by three states and FHWA. It is a time-sensitive issue because the ACS is currently in a 3-year testing period, with full implementation scheduled to begin in 2003.
Anticipated products from this research will be used directly by planners at Metropolitan Planning Organizations and State Departments of Transportation.
Ed Christopher (Chair A1D08-1)
Elaine Murakami (Chair A1D10)
Douglas I. Anderson, P. E.
Chuck Purvis (Chair A1D08)
Metropolitan Transportation Commission
101 Eigth Street
Oakland, CA 94607
November 29, 2000
Bureau of Transportation Statistics
400 7th St SW
Washington, DC 20590
In conjunction with support from the following Transportation Research Board Committees: