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CTPP Status Report

August 2005

TRB Census Conference Highlights

By Ed Christopher, FHWA

This past May over 100 transportation and data specialists met in Irvine, California to discuss issues related to the use and application of the American Community Survey (ACS). The format of the meeting consisted of a series of plenary sessions, 20 poster presentations, 5 commissioned papers and 3 topical breakout group meetings.

The conference was held under the auspices of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) by the National Academy of Sciences and the Transportation Research Board. A steering committee chaired by Ken Leonard (formerly Wisconsin DOT) will make recommendations stemming from the conference.

The overall objectives of the conference were to assess the uses of the 2000 census data; review the current plans for ACS and assess its usefulness for transportation programs; review the transportation ACS-related research; review and assess future transportation data needs and recommend improvements of census methodology and products; and, recommend agency actions to improve transportation use of current census products.

To help guide the recommendations of the steering committee, three breakout sessions were held. During the breakouts, attendees discussed the applications of Census 2000 data including what worked and what did not work; their reactions to the ACS; and finally, ACS products and data availability.

TRB anticipates electronic posting of the final recommendations in December 2005, and paper copies to be available by the TRB Annual Meeting in January 2006. Much of the conference information, including several commissioned papers can be found at

American Community Survey (ACS) Update

By Clara Reschovsky, U.S. Census Bureau

The American Community Survey went into full implementation in 2005. Since January 1, the Census Bureau has mailed questionnaires to 250,000 households every month. Each month, households in every county have received questionnaires. A sample of households that do not respond are contacted using telephone and personal interviewing. One advantage of a continuous survey method is that Field Representatives (FRs) receive more rigorous training and become more proficient as they gain actual experience, compared to the short term hires used in a decennial census environment. The FRs are a mixture of staff from other Census surveys and new hires.

In the summer of 2005, the ACS data collected in 2004 will be released. Because the ACS was not in "full implementation" in 2004, these data are limited to areas with population greater than 250,000 persons. The geographic levels that are included are: State, County, Metropolitan Area, and Place, with the threshold of 250,000 persons. On August 30, 2005, the Ranking Tables, the Comparison Profiles, the Base Tables needed to create the Profiles, and the PUMS file will be released. Additionally, an Income and Poverty Report, tabulated from both ACS and CPS, will be released. The remainder of the Base Tables will be released subsequently. As of this writing, the specific release date is not available, but is expected prior to the end of the year.

The Census Bureau is preparing a User Guide, designed for general audiences. The User Guide will cover issues pertaining to ACS data collection, data releases, geographical detail, and multi-year estimates. The first version will be distributed to stakeholders by the end of 2005, with subsequent versions having more detailed guidance for specific subject matters. Topics planned for the initial User Guide include:

Use of one- and multi-year estimates
Schedule for release of products
Examples of use of 1-year products
Multi-year estimates: drilling down
Examples of use of multi-year products
Measuring trends
Geographical areas covered
Boundary updates
Availability of data products by geographical level
Disclosure risk avoidance
Statistical reliability standards
ACS data release rules
Accessing ACS data
Using American FactFinder
Using Web Data Server
Using the PUMS file
Using special tabulations
Using data on different types of variables
Factors influencing interpretation
Communication with data users
Federal Register Notice
ACS Alert
Data user conferences and workshops
ACS technical paper
Sample design
Questionnaire content
Data collection
Data product production
Use of ACS with data from other surveys
Data user scenarios

Stay tuned for more details!


By Kristen Rohanna, San Diego Association of Governments

The U.S. Census Bureau has been informing Congressional representatives about the ACS, including visits to each Senator and Congressperson's office, and providing a briefing manual to each. But, local government officials may be less likely to be aware of the ACS and the implications for local data. The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) has taken a pro-active approach to educating and informing their member jurisdictions about the American Community Survey. SANDAG is one of the MPOs who plays an active role in the Census Bureau's State Data Center affiliates program. In April 2005, SANDAG mailed a letter and FAQs to their member jurisdictions and elected representatives.

The objective of the memorandum was:

  1. To keep elected officials informed about ACS so that they can answer questions from their constituents.

  2. To clarify the replacement of the census "long form" with the ACS.

  3. Reiterate the importance of the data and how the data are used, particularly by SANDAG.

The SANDAG memorandum is posted at:

For more information, please contact Kristen Rohanna, San Diego Association of Governments,

Where to get ACS data:

The base tables which are analogous to the detailed tables from Census 2000, will be available through American Fact Finder at:

Other ACS data will be available at:

Neighborhoods at Work

By Lois Quinn, Employment and Training Institute, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's Employment and Training Institute (ETI) has constructed an interactive website for assisting economic development business plans, workforce development projects, measuring purchasing power, and examining workplace destinations by residential neighborhoods. The website is at

The neighborhood "drill downs" were developed by John Pawasarat, Director; Lois Quinn, senior scientist with ETI; and Frank Stetzer, senior information processing consultant for the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's information and media technologies. Using the 2000 U.S. Census Transportation Planning Package (CTPP) in combination with a variety of other census products, ETI prepared an interactive website to offer customized "drill down" reports for each census tract (or combination of tracts) in the U.S. The CTPP is a primary data source, given its detailed employment data for every residential area in the United States.

Picture of the ETI website

Users logging onto the ETI website ( define their neighborhood in a simple three-step process by 1) selecting their state, 2) selecting their county, and 3) then choosing the census tract or combination of tracts approximating their target neighborhood. Three types of drill downs are available online using the CTPP data. The business place-of-work drilldown examines characteristics of jobs located in each neighborhood by type of employer, industry, earnings, occupations, and means of transportation work.

A key benefit of using CTPP 2000 is having workplace locations to be able to look not only where local residents work, but also to profile who comes into each neighborhood for jobs. The ETI's drill downs now provide this employment information for all U.S. neighborhoods free of charge. They focus on neighborhood and jobsite levels to identify and promote economic and workforce development efforts.

The drill downs evolved from ETI's original assignment for the City of Milwaukee to look at consumer spending in lower-income, dense urban neighborhoods currently underserved by retail businesses. A second project with faculty from Southern University at New Orleans promoting economic development in the Bienville Corridor of New Orleans brought home the importance of place-of-work employment data. Local planners expressed their need for information on what jobs were currently available in these communities and the race of workers holding those jobs. The CTPP part 2 and part 3 data can show this information from the perspective of the neighborhoods.

An example of an output table from the ETI website.

For more information, please contact John Pawasarat, Employment and Training Institute, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee,

Online Web Application using Journey to Work data from CTPP 2000

By Martin Catala, GIS Manager, Center for Urban Transportation, University of South Florida

The Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) at the University of South Florida in Tampa has created an online GIS-based web application for accessing Florida's journey to work data. The web site provides access to tables, charts, and maps of selected data from the Census Transportation Planning Package (CTPP), and county and census designated place (CDP) level data are available on the web site as well, although the majority of the datasets are available at the CDP level only. Currently, the web site has only resident-based statistics but will soon include place-of-work statistics for every CDP in Florida.

The purpose of the web site is to consolidate transportation-related census information and disseminate the information to the public, decision makers, and the planning community in a user-friendly format. This project builds on a previous CUTR initiative that produced a series of publications examining trends in Florida's demographics and journey-to-work travel behavior.

Table 1 displays the data currently included on the web site.


Table Description


Time leaving home to go to work (40)


Gender (3) by means of transportation to work (18)


Means of transportation to work (11) by time leaving home to go to work (14)


Means of transportation to work (11) by travel time to work (17)


Poverty status in 1999 (4) by time leaving home to go to work (14)


Median earnings by means of transportation to work (11)


Mean earnings by means of transportation to work (11)


Mean travel time by means of transportation to work (18)


Mean travel time by means of transportation to work (11) by time leaving home to go to work (14)


Household income in 1999 (11)


Household income in 1999 (26) by means of transportation to work (11)


Vehicles available (6) by means of transportation to work (11)

( ) indicates the number of dimensions of the variable

Table 1 - Information included on Florida JTW Web Site

In addition to statistics of Florida's journey to work data, the web site provides users with access to maps of the resident-based straight line flows to work. Maps for each CDP in Florida are available and allow the user to view the flow maps. Figure 1 illustrates the interface for the flow maps, which allows users to view the flows by mode choice by selecting a pull down menu which will create a map of the straight line flows of the selected mode. Additionally, the user can zoom in and out on the map using predetermined scales to allow more details. Utilizing state-of the-art technology the web application was built using the leading GIS web application by ESRI, ArcIMS. The data for the web site also are powered by Microsoft's SQL Server. By combining both applications, a powerful web interface was created allowing users to view tabular and chart information that is driven by a spatial query from the ArcIMS software.

Picture of the CUTR JTW webtool.

Great efforts were taken to create database efficiencies to ensure optimum web performance. One example was to accommodate the instances of CDP's that were located in more than one county. Although the CDP boundaries do not, as a rule, coincide with county boundaries, most of Florida's CDP's fell completely within a county boundary. In only four instances in the state did the CDP boundary cross a county boundary. In these cases, multiple records were created for that specific place to allow users to access the data about the particular CDP's through either of the counties that the CDP traversed.

Navigating the Web Site

Considerable effort was made to ensure the web site is user-friendly. Because the intent of the site is to make the CTPP data available to the more casual user, stylizing was an important element of the design features. The main navigation page directs the visitor to access the data via county-level geography or place (CDP) level geography (see Figure 2). Accessing via either geography level allows the user to view the same data. By accessing the data via county, users are presented with a list of places within the selected county.

Once the CDP is identified and selected, the user is presented with a list of variables and tabs that allow to the selection of the information needed. The data are available by selecting the variable and then tabbing to see the table, chart, or map of the CDP.

The web application allows users to distill through the expansive CTPP data and visualize the data through simple charts, tables and maps.

Picture of the CUTR JTW webtool.

The standardized data format offered by the CTPP allows for further customization for other areas. The site is currently being enhanced and modified , so comments, feedback, and questions about specific software applications are being sought and can be submitted via the "Feedback" feature on the home page

Visit the JTW website at

For more information, contact:

Steve Polzin, CUTR Mobility Program Director, (813) 974-9849, OR

Martin Catalá, CUTR GIS Manager,, (813) 974-9791

AASHTO Standing Committee on Planning (SCOP) Census Data Work Group

One of the developments arising from the Census conference in Irvine is the formation of a SCOP Census Data Work Group.

The work group will serve as a focal point for AASHTO SCOP on current and future census data products. The Work Group will coordinate activities with the SCOP Data Task Force to:

For more information on the Workgroup, please contact Jonette Kreideweis, Minnesota DOT,

CTPP Hotline -202-366-5000

CTPP Website:
TRB Sub-committee on census data:
FHWA Website for Census issues:
CTPP for 1990 and 2000 downloadable via Transtats:
CTPP Place of Residence Profiles:
Order CTPP 2000 CD-ROM with Software:

Elaine Murakami
PH: 206-220-4460
FAX: 206-220-7959
Dave Clawson
PH: 202-624-5807
FAX: 202-624-5806

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

Census Population Division
Phil Salopek
PH: 301-763-2454
FAX: 301-457-2481
Ed Christopher (Urban Data Committee Chair)
PH: 708-283-3534
FAX: 708-283-3501

Clara Reschovsky
PH: 301-763-2454
FAX: 301-457-2481

Eric Pihl
PH: 202-366-6048
FAX: 202-493-2478
TRB Committees
Ed Christopher (Urban Data Committee Chair)
See under FHWA
Pheny Smith
PH: 202-366-2817
FAX: 202-366-3370
Bob Sicko (Census Subcommittee Chair)
Mirai Associates
PH : 425-820-0100
FAX: 425-821-1750

CTPP Listserve

The CTPP Listserve serves as a web-forum for posting questions, and sharing information on Census data. Currently, over 700 users are subscribed to the listserve.

To subscribe, please register by filling a form posted at:

On the form, you can indicate if you want e-mails to be batched in a daily digest. The website also includes an archive of past e-mails posted to the listserv.

For questions on the listserve, please e-mail Ed Christopher at

Updated: 10/20/2015
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