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Highway Information Quarterly Newsletter


December 1999

Office of Highway Policy Information

Transportation Research Board (TRB) Conference:
"Personal Travel: The Long and Short of It"

The TRB Conference, "Personal Travel: The Long and Short of It," held on June 28 to July 1, 1999, in Washington, D.C., was a great success, with lots of creative thinking and intense discussion by the nearly 200 participants. The conference included 30 papers, 24 of which were available on the pre-print CD-ROM, and five panel discussions.

The conference was held to discuss how the Nationwide Personal Transportation Survey (NPTS) of daily trips, together with the American Travel Survey (ATS) of longer distance trips, provides a snapshot of how Americans travel in their day-to-day lives. Papers and ensuing discussion examined such topics as age, gender, and life-cycle effects on travel, geographic factors in travel, air quality issues, mode choice, and travel forecasting. Although it was not originally planned to address survey methods, the conference track on methods was well attended.

Brad Edmondson, former editor of the magazine, American Demographics, delivered the keynote address which included the admonition, "Wake up! People in the U.S. are not going to give up traveling in their own car." American Demographics commissioned a study on attitudes of drivers and found that the automobile is the most important personal space that a person has. The study showed that Americans love to drive. . .45 percent agree that "driving is my time to think and be alone." He felt that car pool and transit were not going to get many new adherents.

He discussed how private firms and public agencies are using Internet-based and other surveys to influence behavior. One example was a private firm's (Honda) Internet-based survey of potential customers for a hybrid (electric and gasoline) vehicle. Another example was in Adelaide, Australia, where people were asked about their current travel, and offered subsequent alternatives to driving alone--for example, specific directions for making the same trip using the bus or riding a bike, were provided to the respondents.

Martin Wachs, Director of the University of California Institute of Transportation Studies, delivered the luncheon address. His presentation was particularly thought-provoking as he discussed five issues:

  1. How our travel will be even more integrated with telecommunications;

  2. How "information is eclipsing the role of land use in determining travel decisions" (in both time and space);

  3. The need to plan for both personal and freight movements;

  4. How we will travel with "sustainability" in mind, and

  5. Equity in transportation.

TRB will prepare a report on the conference proceedings. For more information, please contact Tom Palmerlee at TRB, at 202-334-2907, or E-mail tpalmerl@nas.edu. We invite you to visit the NPTS Website: http://www-cta.ornl.gov/npts/ and the ATS Website: http://www.bts.gov/programs/ats/

Motor Fuel Reporting Committee Meets

The Motor-Fuel Reporting Committee held a meeting September 23 and 24, 1999, in Washington, D.C. This committee, which is sponsored by FHWA/AASHTO/Federal Tax Administrators, is assisting FHWA's Office of Highway Policy Information in its efforts to review and improve State-reported motor fuel data. Speakers included Dr. Walter Sutton, Director of FHWA's Policy Service Business Unit, and Mr. Chris Bertram, staff member of the U.S. House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. The Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) uses motor-fuel and Highway Trust Fund receipts attributed to motor fuel as a formula factor in the apportionment of Federal funds. The Committee advised FHWA on a number of key reporting issues, including those on International Fuel Tax, public diesel fuel-use, Highway Trust Fund attribution, loss allowances, Native American reporting, and alternative fuel reporting. A series of outreach meetings to discuss committee work and changes to current motor-fuel reporting are planned this winter. The dates and locations are:

Atlanta, Georgia December 7, 1999
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania January 27, 2000
Denver, Colorado February 24, 2000

Revisions to FHWA's "Guide to Reporting Highway Statistics" will result from this effort. For more information on this subject, please contact Ralph Erickson at 202-366-9235,
E-mail ralph.erickson@fhwa.dot.gov, or Marsha Reynolds, 202-366-5029, E-mail marsha.reynolds@fhwa.dot.gov.

Highway Performance Monitoring System (HPMS) News Briefs

Mark your calendar! Save your travel funds! The Office of Highway Policy Information (OHPI) is developing plans to conduct four hands-on HPMS implementation workshops in the March - April 2000 time frame. These workshops will be held at locations outside of the Washington, D.C. area and will provide training to users of the newest version of the HPMS software package. Pilot testing began in November; final software is expected to be available in late February and will be used to produce the 1999 HPMS data set reported to FHWA in June 2000. States, other HPMS data providers using the HPMS software package, and FHWA field staff are principal target participants. Although sites have not as yet been selected, FHWA has solicited State sponsors for these training sessions. Contact Beverly Harrison at 202-366-4048 for further information.

The HPMS Steering Committee met on September 21 and 22 in Washington, D.C. The committee concluded its review of the revised HPMS Field Manual. All of the new chapters and most of the revised appendices of the new HPMS Field Manual. These are final versions of all completed chapters and appendices; they should be used to produce the 1999 HPMS data set that will be reported to FHWA in June 2000. When the remaining appendices are completed, a printed version of the Field Manual will be produced and distributed.

On October 4, the HPMS Steering Committee was presented with an Exemplary Partner Award at the 1999 AASHTO Annual Meeting. The award is the highest award given in the annual AASHTO Team Recognition Program; a total of 84 teams entered the annual competition and the HPMS Steering Committee was one of 15 selected for this prestigious AASHTO award. Weigh-in-Motion (WIM) Technical Exchange Conference

The Mississippi Department of Transportation (DOT) hosted a WIM Conference in Jackson, Mississippi, on October 26 and 27, 1999. This followed similar conferences hosted by the Kansas and Maine DOTs and cosponsored by the FHWA Midwest and Eastern Resource Centers, respectively. These conferences brought together participants from State DOTs, plus representatives from WIM equipment vendors and FHWA.

The public/private interaction helped to address problem areas and provide a better understanding of the constraints faced by public and private entities in the acquisition, installation, and maintenance of WIM equipment. These meetings serve to ensure harmonious interaction between both sectors as we strive to gather better information on truck weights on our Nation's highways.

For additional information on these conferences, contact Ralph Gillman at 202-366-5042, E-mail ralph.gillmann@fhwa.dot.gov.

Highway Finance Reassessment Effort Reaches out to Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Customers

On October 14, the Office of Highway Policy Information (OHPI) staff met with FHWA Core Business Unit (CBU) and Service Business Unit (SBU) representatives in DOT Headquarters to discuss FHWA highway finance information needs.

The meeting begins an outreach effort to identify the current highway finance information requirements of the agency, how those requirements are changing, contemporary issues that influence highway finance data collection, and future highway finance information requirements. The reassessment will also serve as a focus for this office to adapt its highway finance data collection and analyses to address the needs of FHWA.

Barna Juhasz, Director of OHPI, welcomed the group and asked them to think about their current and future highway information needs. He recognized that not everyone needed to become an expert, but indicated that there is great value in the highway finance information published in Highway Statistics. Tom Howard, Chief of the Highway Funding and Motor Fuel Division, gave an overview of the project, indicating that FHWA was the first and most important "customer" of the data. He also laid out a timetable as well as expectations for the project. A discussion of highway finance data issues followed, with representatives from other CBU's/SBU's describing their highway finance requirements.

This reassessment is expected to extend over 2 years and, ultimately, result in data which best serves FHWA's customers.

For additional information, please contact Ralph Erickson, 202-366-9235, E-mail Ralph.Erickson@fhwa.dot.gov.

1997 Nationwide Personal Transportation
Survey (NPTS) Symposium Proceedings Available

A new report in the series, "Searching for Solutions" has been released. This report documents the October 1997 NPTS Symposium, which discussed results from the 1995 NPTS. Key findings included:

  1. The vehicle fleet mix continues to change. It is older now, and has many more light trucks and sport utility vehicles. This has significant impacts for air quality analyses.

  2. The total number of transit trips has increased, along with total trip-making, so the proportion of transit trips has been stable since 1990.

  3. There is no indication of a maximum threshold of daily travel in terms of vehicle miles traveled (VMT). Even population groups who typically have high daily VMT continued to show increasing daily VMT from previous surveys.
To order a copy of the new "Searching for Solutions" report, please contact the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) R&T Report Center at 301-577-0906, and ask for report FHWA-PL-99-003.

Most Traveled Highways by Urbanized Area

In 1998, 24 urbanized areas had 680 miles of principal arterial highways that operated at a level 200,000 or more vehicles a day. The table below shows by urbanized area and route number the length of Interstate and non-Interstate principal arterial highways that carried 200,000 or more vehicles a day, and the highest daily traffic reported for the route. In addition, about 41 miles of these highways carried 300,000 to 399,999 vehicles a day while nearly another 4 miles carried over 400,000 vehicles a day. For more information, contact Paul Svercl at 202-366-5036 or E-mail paul.svercl@fhwa.dot.gov.

Most Traveled Highways

Census Transportation Planning Package, 2000

The Census Transportation Planning Package (CTPP) is a unique tabulation of the data derived from the long form of the census. It contains three separate tabulations--residents at their home, workers where they work, and individuals who travel between home and work. April 1, 2000, is Census Day. One in every six households will receive the long form of the census. The CTPP is a joint effort of organizations within the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) such as the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), in conjunction with the American Association of State and Highway Officials (AASHTO), the Census Bureau Geography and Population Divisions, and the Transportation Research Board (TRB) subcommittee on Census Data for Transportation Planning.

The CTPP is in the middle of the first phase of this effort, with about 400 agencies, primarily metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) and State DOTs to define their traffic analysis zones to be used as the base geographic units for reporting the census data.

The next stage will begin with the Census Bureau inputting these TAZs into TIGER/Line 99 and sending them along with suitable software back to the agencies for verification. This is scheduled to take place around January through May of 2000.

One common wish for CTPP is for the improvement of the quality of place of work/employment data. A number of MPOs expressed interest in the employer coding for their area. In response to this desire and the knowledge that the Census Bureau will never be able to realistically verify an employer file on a nationwide scale, an MPO component to improve place of work coding called Work-UP is being developed. Under the Work-UP project, MPOs will use an extension to ArcView GIS to update and make corrections to the commercial employer database that the Census Bureau has licensed. This project is expected to run from December to April 2000.

The AASHTO contract with the Census Bureau for the completion of CTPP 2000 is in place. Issues currently being addressed include programming of the standard tabulation. The possibility for a custom tabulation software (tabulation on demand) is also being explored, but it faces several questions concerning privacy and confidentiality. State funds to support AASHTO's effort were due on November 1, 1999.

To stay abreast of the decennial activities and the CTPP for the year 2000, and to be added to the mailing list of the CTPP Status Report issued by FHWA, BTS, and FTA, please contact Nanda Srinivasan at 202-366-5021, or by e-mail at ctpp@fhwa.dot.gov. You can also visit the TRB subcommittee on the Census at http://www.mcs.com/~berwyned/census/. To subscribe to the CTPP list-serve, send an e-mail to majordomo@chrispy.net, using "subscribe ctpp-news" as the title of your message.

Recent Publications from the Office of Highway Policy Information

For a copy of the following reports, call the Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology (FHWA R & T) Report Center at 301-577-0818, or FAX 301-577-1421. Please be sure to include complete name and address information, as well as a telephone number if there are questions. Most of these reports are also available on this Web Site.

Our Nation's Highways, Selected Facts and Figures, Publication No. FHWA-PL-98-015, 2/98

Highway Statistics 97, Publication No. FHWA-PL-98-020, 10/98 --available only on our Website: https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/ohim/.

Searching For Solutions. A Policy Discussion Series, Nationwide Personal Transportation Survey Symposium, 10/29-31, 1997, Publication No. FHWA-PL-99-003, 6/99

Transportation Users' Views of Quality, Publication No. FHWA-PL-98-013, 12/97

Our Nation's Travel: 1995 NPTS Early Results Report, Publication No. FHWA-PL-97-028,

Toll Facilities in the United States, Publication No. FHWA-PL-99-011, 2/99

Highway Taxes and Fees, How They Are Collected and Distributed, Publication No. FHWA-PL-98-036, 6/98

Improved Vehicle Occupancy Data Collection Methods, FHWA-PL-98-042, 9/98

Re-engineering HPMS, Publication No. FHWA-PL-99-004, 11/98

Women's Travel Issues, Proceedings from the Second National Conference, Publication No. FHWA-PL-97-024, 10/96

Other recent publications are available only by calling our office directly. To obtain a copy of the reports listed below call 202-366-175 or FAX 202-366-7742

Travel Time Data Collection Handbook, 3/98

Truck Fleet Characteristics, 11/98

Truck Characteristics Analysis, 7/99

North American Travel Monitoring Exhibition and Conference Proceedings, 7/98


Motor Fuel Workshops

The Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) Office of Highway Policy Information is sponsoring 1-day workshops to discuss the reporting of motor fuel information from the States to FHWA, the process by which FHWA attributes Federal revenue to the States using the State-provided data, and potential changes to the reporting procedures. Many States have expressed a strong interest in better understanding the attribution process, and in reporting motor fuel data to support each State's fair share of the attribution. About $14 billion in TEA-21 funds are apportioned annually, based on State-reported motor fuel. We believe these workshops will provide an excellent opportunity for States to achieve a better understanding of this process.

The workshops begin at 8:30 a.m. and end at 3:15 p.m. (local times). The locations and dates are listed below:

January 27, 2000, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Marriott Philadelphia Downtown, 1201 Market St. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107, telephone: 215-625-2900. The hotel is offering a government rate of $113 per night for a single room, plus taxes. Please contact the hotel as soon as possible, but not later than January 21, 2000, to reserve your room and receive the government rate. Refer to the Federal Highway Motor Fuel Workshop when making your reservation.

February 24, 2000, Denver, Colorado, Adams Mark Hotel, 1550 Court Place, Denver, Colorado 80202, telephone: 303-893-3333. The government rate is $83 per night for a single room, plus taxes. Please contact the hotel as soon as possible, but not later than January 23, 2000, to reserve your room and receive the government rate. Refer to the Federal Highway Motor Fuel Workshop when making your reservation.

Additional information on the agenda can be obtained from Marsha Reynolds, telephone 202-366-5029, E-mail marsha.reynolds@fhwa.dot.gov or Ralph Erickson, 202-366-9235, E-mail ralph.erickson@fhwa.dot.gov.

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