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FHWA Home / Policy & Governmental Affairs / Highway Policy Information / A Guide to Reporting Highway Statistics

Highway Finance Data Collection

A Guide to Reporting Highway Statistics

Procedures for the compilation, analysis, and reporting of:

Chapter 1. General Procedures
Chapter 2. Reports Identifying Motor-Fuel Use and Taxation
Chapter 3. Report Identifying Motor-Vehicle Registration and Taxation
Chapter 4. Report Identifying State Driver Licenses and Fees
Chapter 5. Report Identifying State Taxation of Motor Carriers
Chapter 6. Report Identifying Disposition of State Motor-Vehicle and Motor-Carrier Revenue
Chapter 7. Periodic Special Requests for Motor-Fuel, Motor-Vehicle, Driver-License, and Financial Information
Chapter 8. Reports Identifying Receipts and Expenditures of State Highway Agencies
Chapter 9. Reports Identifying State Transportation Debt
Chapter 10. Toll Highway and Bridge Authorities
Chapter 11. Report Identifying Receipts and Expenditures of Local Governments
Chapter 12. Report Identifying State Highway Capital Outlay and Maintenance Expenditures
Chapter 13. Other Important Information Needs
A: Relationships Among Reporting Forms
B: Data Reporting Templates and Electronic Data Transmission
C:Reporting by U.S. Territories and Puerto Rico
D:A Simplified Methodology for Reporting Local Highway Finance Data



A Guide to Reporting Highway Statistics is a principal part of the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) comprehensive highway information collection effort. The Congress recognized the need for information to support highway policy development and created the Office of Road Inquiry in the Department of Agriculture in 1893. As early as 1904, the Federal Government began inquiring about highway taxation, sources of revenue for highways, and highway expenditures. The role of the Federal Government in highway transportation has changed greatly since 1893, but its role in assembling highway data has continued.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) Act of 1966 (Pub. L. 89-670), which brought together the Federal programs for many modes of transportation into a single, Cabinet level organization, charges the Secretary of Transportation to promote and undertake development, collection, and dissemination of technological, statistical, economic, and other information relevant to domestic and international transportation. The DOT is also authorized to engage in studies to collect data concerning highway planning, development, financing, construction, operation, modernization, maintenance, safety, and traffic conditions and to publish the results of such research (Title 23 U.S. Code, section 307(a)).

Certain data are needed by the FHWA to meet its responsibilities to Congress and the public. "These data include but are not limited to information required for proposed legislation and reports to Congress; evaluating the extent, performance, condition and use of the Nation's transportation systems; analyzing existing and proposed Federal-aid funding methods and levels, and the assignment of user-cost responsibility; maintaining a critical information base on fuel availability, use, and revenues generated; and calculating apportionment factors." (Title 23 U.S. Code, section 420.105 (b)). The forms and instructions in A Guide to Reporting Highway Statistics are designed to address this need.

A Guide to Reporting Highway Statistics was first issued in 1979 to organize into one volume the instructions for various reporting forms and other related data needs that had been issued over a period of several years. The Guide was revised and reissued in 1982 following an extensive review and a concerted effort by the FHWA to reduce the burden of reporting highway statistics. The Guide was also reissued in 1985, 1987, 1990, 1994 and 1997. This edition continues previously established reporting requirements with the addition of minor modifications and clarifications to some forms and the instructions.

This Guide has two objectives:

  1. To serve as a reference to the reporting system that the Federal Highway Administration desires the States to use in reporting State and local highway statistical data.

In consultation with the States, FHWA has designed a series of reporting forms to account for motor-fuel consumption; motor-vehicle registrations; driver licensing; motor-carrier taxation; and the source, distribution, and expenditures of funds for highways. This Guide presents detailed procedures for the preparation and submission of these forms; page iv lists each form and identifies the chapter in which it is discussed.

In addition to these periodic reports, the FHWA needs other information from the States for various program and policy analyses and to perform its role as a national clearinghouse for highway statistics. This includes supplemental tabulations concerning motor fuel, motor vehicles, and driver licenses; specialized financial reports; and copies of State highway laws. The Guide outlines the types of additional information that the States should try to systematically obtain and forward to the FHWA as part of the ongoing cooperative process of compiling highway statistics.

  1. To foster a working understanding of the unified concept behind the national reporting system for highway statistics and of the interrelationships among different reporting areas. This objective is the chief reason why different reporting areas—fuel, vehicles, licenses, and finance—have been covered in a single volume instead of a separate volume for each area. This Guide is intended as a companion volume to FHWA's Highway Performance Monitoring System Field Manual. The two guides together provide the rationale and procedures involved in the national reporting system for highway statistics.

The FHWA recognizes that many of the State planners and analysts who complete the reporting forms are responsible for several different reporting areas and, thus, need to understand how the different reports interrelate, why certain forms require reconciliation, and how to accomplish it. They need a broad enough understandin—beyond the details of the individual reports—of the national reporting system to be able to assure effective coordination of their work with the other State and local agencies involved in the process of compiling highway statistics as well as with the FHWA. This is important, because the FHWA needs a consistent, comprehensive overview of the source and application of funds for highway purposes for each State to be able to build a comparable overview for the Nation.

The reports covered in this Guide are used to develop highway legislation and to keep Congress and the State governments informed. They are indispensable to the development of FHWA national tables and other publications; and they aid highway planning, programing, budgeting, forecasting, and fiscal management. When published, these statistical information developed from these reports are also used by other Federal agencies, local governments, the private sector, academic institutions, and national organizations.

The Guide, along with other FHWA documents (Highway Statistics, Highway Taxes and Fees, and the HPMS Field Manual) may be accessed at the FHWA web site at https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policyinformation/.


Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to vary from 4 hours to 380 hours per form, with an average of 22.4 hours per form, including time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the collection of information. Send comments regarding the burden estimate or any other aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for reducing this burden to:

Federal Highway Administration
Office of Highway Policy Information, HPPI
400 Seventh Street, SW.
Washington, D.C. 20590;

and to:

Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs
Office of Management and Budget
Washington, D.C. 20503.

Estimated Reporting Burden
Form Average Response Time
FHWA-531 40 hours
FHWA-532 40 hours
FHWA-534 9 hours (average of 14 responses per State per year)
FHWA-536 380 hours (annually. Biennial total of 760 hours)
FHWA-541 5 hours
FHWA-542 5 hours
FHWA-551M 6 hours (12 responses per year per State)
FHWA-556 12 hours
FHWA-561 32 hours
FHWA-562 15 hours
FHWA-566 24 hours
FHWA-571 12 hours
Expiration Date
The expiration date for this approval is 3/31/2003.


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Page last modified on November 7, 2014
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