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AASHTO Standing Committee on Planning
In cooperation with the TRB Census Subcommittee

CTPP Status Report

January 2007

The Next CTPP: SCOP Census Data Work Group Activities

Jonette Kreideweis, Mn DOT

The AASHTO Standing Committee on Planning supported a resolution for a Census Transportation Planning Products (CTPP) five-year program (2007-2011) to support effective transportation policy, planning and modeling applications. The meeting was held on October 28, 2006 in Portland, Oregon.

In December 2006, John Horsley, Executive Director of AASHTO sent a letter to the CEO of each State, asking for their commitment to the CTPP project for their share of the consolidated purchase. The cost is based on population projections for 2010, at 1.89 cents per person. More information is available at

As of January 5, 2007, over 50% of the states have committed resources for the new CTPP. For questions on the project and/or fund commitment process, please contact Janet Oakley, AASHTO (

This consolidated purchase approach is the same approach used for both the 1990 and 2000 CTPP. Having AASHTO work on behalf of all the states on special census data tabulations, training and technical support for transportation planning applications is cost effective compared to the approach used after the 1980 Census, in which individual states and MPOs contracted independently for these services.

The next CTPP will use the data from the first five years of the American Community Survey (ACS), designed to replace the decennial census "long form." The CTPP project proposal is for a five-year program of $5.9 million and includes five primary tasks:

  1. Data Tabulations (50%) including both a 3-year and a 5-year ACS tabulation.
  2. On-Demand Technical Support (16%) for 1 FTE for 5 years.
  3. Training and Capacity Building (11%) for 0.5 FTE for 5 years.
  4. Research (15%) focusing on improving data quality, especially on workplace geography, improving data usability while protecting confidentiality.
  5. Related activities, including project oversight (8%)

If States elect to use federal State Planning and Research (SP&R) and/or Metropolitan Planning (PL) dollars, FHWA has waived the state/local match.

As in previous CTPP, each state can decide how to pay for their share independently. Some states may use SP&R funds only. Other states may use a combination of PL and SP&R funds.

First tasks will be to modify the Census Bureau geographic areas software to accommodate TAZ definitions, and then to work with State DOTs and MPOs to submit new TAZ geography.

The Workgroup is currently planning a peer exchange on using ACS Data for Transportation Planning Applications in April 2007. Objectives of the peer exchange include:

  1. Discuss experiences and practices in using and applying ACS data.
  2. Share key issues, challenges and successes in using and applying ACS data.
  3. Discuss solutions for resolving issues and making most effective use of ACS data.
  4. Update participants on the next steps for releasing ACS data, and developing special tabulations for transportation planning applications.
  5. Share information on resources available to assist users in applying ACS data.
  6. Identify opportunities for enhancing ACS related training and technical assistance efforts based on the information shared at the peer exchange.

More information on the Workgroup activities and minutes of meetings are posted at the TRB Census Subcommittee website at .

2005 ACS Data Released

The Census Bureau has completed the 2005 ACS data release. These tables include place of residence and place of work, and cover topics including work status, vehicle availability, and journey to work. Data is available for geographic areas with population more than 65,000. Data can accessed via the American Factfinder at

A presentation with voice-over developed by Ken Bryson from the Census Bureau on accessing the data is posted in Macromedia format at

The CTPP Working Group has created a set of profiles using 1990 and 2000 Census, and the 2005 ACS. The first series covers workers by place of residence for nation, states, large MSAs and cities (population over 1 million). These are posted at:

Two more series are planned: one on the place of work tables, and another that focuses on vehicle availability by residence geography.

In analyzing and presenting ACS data along with decennial Census data, it is important to pay attention to the Margins of Errors (MOE) in ACS data. A document explaining MOEs is posted at (Scroll to Instructions for Applying Statistical Testing).

Comparison of Census and ACS Local Employment Estimates with BLS Data

By Shimon Israel, Metropolitan Transportation Commission, Oakland

Until now transportation planners relied on two primary data sources for labor force data: the Decennial Census and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) program. These sources were best for providing small-area county estimates summarized by area of residence, i.e. "employed persons" (not to be confused with data summarized by place of work, i.e. "jobs"). BLS-LAUS data provides monthly labor force estimates, and has been the best resource for intercensal years. The Decennial Census, while not published as frequently as the monthly BLS-LAUS, included detailed characteristics of the labor force not found elsewhere. The emergence of the yearly American Community Survey (1) (ACS) will provide analysts with the detailed characteristics in a more timely release.

Given ACS's smaller sample size, analysts want some assurance about the reliability of its labor force estimates. In order to examine this question, ACS employment estimates for 2000-20051 were compared against Census 2000 data and BLS-LAUS data from 2000 to 2005, at 3 levels of geography: (1) San Francisco Bay Area (Fig. 1); (2) State of California (Fig. 2); and (3) the United States (Fig. 3). Employment status (that is, what constitutes an employed or unemployed person) is defined the same way for Census 2000, BLS-LAUS, and ACS, though population universes vary slightly:

ACS and BLS-LAUS estimates appear to align very well. In each of the 3 Figures, both BLS-LAUS and ACS employment estimates are significantly higher than those for Census 2000. Additionally, ACS data track very closely with those from BLS-LAUS, and appear to be converging, with closest agreement between ACS and BLS-LAUS in 2004. The ACS appears to do a good job of tracking Bay Area recession starting in 2001.

The data gap between ACS and BLS-LAUS estimates is diminished when taking non-institutional group quarters (NIGQ) labor force into account. Analysis using Census 2000 Public Use Microdata Samples (PUMS 2000) found that missing NIGQ employment would add roughly 22,700 employed residents to the Bay Area ACS estimate, and 96,500 to the California estimate, yielding new ACS totals that more closely approximate BLS-LAUS estimates. Additional research at the national level would likely provide similar conclusions about how well ACS data correlate with BLS-LAUS data.

Good resources for understanding regional employment and other socioeconomic data can be found at, and in Socioeconomic Data for Understanding Your Regional Economy: A User's Guide(2). In these resources, Cortright and Reamer describe alternative data sets for regional-level employed residents. Additionally, data resources for analyzing total employment ("jobs") are also discussed.

Figure 1: Bay Area Employed Civilians: Census 2000, ACA and BLS-LAUS. ACS, % change 2000-2005=-5.7%. BLS, % change 2000-2005=-7%. Click image for source data.

Figure 2 California employed civilians census 2000 ACS and BLS-LAUS. ACS percent change 2000-2005=5.4%. BLS percent change 2000-2005=4.5%. Click image for source data.

Figure 3 United States employed civilians: Census 2000, ACS and BLS-LAUS. ACS percent change 2000-2005=4.5%; BLS percent change 2000-2005=3.5%.

Peak Spread of Journey-to-Work

By Elaine Murakami, FHWA Office of Planning

The 2005 American Community Survey shows clear signs of peak spreading. While this was starting to show in the 2000 Decennial Census results, percentage distributions did not reflect the change as much as the count of workers. Now, with the 2005 ACS data, both the percentage distributions AND the count of workers clearly show a distinct change.

Because the ACS survey methodology differs from the decennial Census "long form" some of the difference may be attributable to methodological changes. In particular, a survey taken over all twelve (12) months of the year instead of "April 1" may result in different kinds of work being reported. For example, summer jobs held by students, or temporary employment around the Holiday season in November and December, may account for some of these differences.

For the U.S. as a whole, the share of workers who depart for work is increasing "on both shoulders" of the peak, between 5:30 and 6:29 a.m. and after 8:30 a.m. The shares of workers who depart between 7:00-7:29 and 7:30-7:59 a.m. are declining.

Bar chart: US Total percent of workers by departture time, 1990 census, 2000 census, and 2005 ACS. Click image for source data.

Austin Texas MSA percent of workers 1990, 2000, 2005. Click image for source data.

Comparisons at the local level show similar patterns. For example, the Austin-Round Rock, TX MSA has experienced considerable growth, with the number of workers increasing over 60 percent from 1990 (418,607) to 2005 (679,842 +/-9,000) . In 1990, about 38 percent of workers left home for work between 7:00 – 7:59 a.m. By 2005, the proportion leaving at this time declined to 30.6 percent. Similar to national totals, both shoulders are experiencing increases.

Los Angeles-Long Beach-Riverside MSA percent of workers 1990, 2000, 2005. Click image for source data.

In the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Riverside MSA the departure time spread in 1990 was much less peaked than in Austin. In Los Angeles in 1990, about 28 percent of workers departed from home between 7:00 and 7:59 a.m. compared to 38 percent of workers in Austin. Nonetheless, even in Los Angeles, even more peak spreading is evidenced from 1990 to 2005.

Note: The 2005 ACS figures do not include population living in Group Quarters, while the 1990 and 2000 Decennial Census figures include this population. Less than 1 percent of all workers in 2000 lived in Group Quarters.

Update on the National Household Travel Survey (NHTS)

By Heather Contrino, NHTS Program Manager

The National Household Travel Survey (NHTS) is the only source of national data on all travel in the United States. As a critical intermodal data program in the U.S. Department of Transportation, the study has been conducted periodically by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and partnering agencies since 1969.

While FHWA is committed to continuing the Add-On Program for States and MPOs, the national component of the NHTS is currently unfunded. Funding for the NHTS is primarily drawn from FHWA policy research funds. In the last reauthorization however, policy research funding was cut drastically. Additional funding must be identified before the NHTS can be conducted again. The current plan is to conduct the NHTS in 2008 – in time for support in reauthorization and to maximize analysis in conjunction with Census data.

The NHTS data series is instrumental to understanding the travel of the American public. The survey collects demographic characteristics of households and people, detailed information on all daily trips, by all modes and for all purposes, including characteristics and use of the household vehicle fleet. We are in a decade of real changes; baby-boomers are starting to retire, immigrant travel is growing, the vehicle fleet is changing, and gas prices are unstable. These changes make the next survey even more important for planning and forecasting.

The 2008 NHTS is serving the growing number of add-on partners through the Add-On Program that allows States and MPOs to directly purchase a household travel survey for their planning area. So far, over 50,000 samples have been purchased covering many of the states in the Eastern seaboard and I-95 corridor. Information about the Add-On Program can be found on our website (

To help craft the next survey, the NHTS team is having three informal content sessions during the Transportation Research Board's annual meeting in Washington, DC. In these informal sessions, we hope to discuss potential changes and additions to the survey content:

Older Drivers and Disability: Monday, January 22 5:30-6:30 p.m. at NHTS Booth at the Hilton International Center

20 percent of our transportation disabled were over 65 years old in 2001.

Telecommuting, Walking and Bicycling: Tuesday, January 23 5:30-6:30 p.m. at the NHTS Booth, Hilton International Center

We need to find a measure for telecommuting that is understandable to the respondents and relevant to policy makers. We need to examine the existing probes used to capture walk and bike trips during trip reporting.

Commercial Travel: Wednesday, January 24 5:30-6:30 p.m. at the NHTS Booth, Hilton International Center

Should questions about commercial vehicles parked at households, and commercial travel to and from private households be added?

If you are not attending TRB and want to provide input, please contact Nancy McGuckin (

If you are interested in the NHTS, the add-on program, or the informal content sessions at TRB annual meeting, contact or call (202) 366-5060.

CTPP Hotline - 202-366-5000
CTPP Listserve:
CTPP Website:
TRB Sub-committee on census data:
FHWA Website for Census issues:
CTPP 2000 Profiles:
1990 CTTP downloadable via Transtats:

Elaine Murakami
PH: 206-220-4460
FAX: 206-220-7959

Nanda Srinivasan
PH: 202-366-5021
FAX: 202-366-7742

Ed Christopher (Urban Data Committee Chair)
PH: 708-283-3534
FAX: 708-283-3501

Nazrul Islam
PH: 202-366-44354
FAX: 202-493-2478

Pheny Smith
PH: 202-366-2817
FAX: 202-366-3370

Janet Oakley
PH: 202-624-3698
FAX: 202-624-5806

Census Population Division
Phil Salopek
PH: 301-763-2454
Fax: 301-457-2481

TRB Committees
Ed Christopher (Urban Data Committee Chair)
See under FHWA

Bob Sicko (Census Subcommittee Chair)
Mirai Associates
PH : 425-415-0905
FAX : 425-415-0935

Meet us at the 86th Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board in Washington D.C.

CTPP and NHTS Booth located at International Ballroom (Poster Session), Hilton
Census for Transportation Planning Subcommittee, ABJ30(1):
Monday, January 22, 2007, 7:30 PM - 9:30 PM, Hilton, State
Urban Transportation Data and Information Systems Committee:
Tuesday, January 23, 2007, 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM, Hilton, Military
National Transportation Data Requirements and Programs Committee:
Tuesday, January 23, 2007, 1:30 PM - 5:30 PM, Hilton, State

1 The term "ACS" is generically used here and includes Census Supplementary Survey data for years 2000 and 2001.

2 Cortright, Joseph and Andrew Reamer, Socioeconomic Data for Understanding Your Regional Economy: A User's Guide, Report under award from Economic Development Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington D.C., 1998, 95 pp.

Updated: 10/20/2015
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