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FHWA Home / Policy & Governmental Affairs / Highway Policy Information / National Household Travel Survey (NHTS)

National Household Travel Survey (NHTS)

New 2022 NextGen NHTS Core Data Now Available

Conducted by the Federal Highway Administration since 1969, the National Household Travel Survey (NHTS) is the authoritative source on the travel behavior of the American public. It is the only source of national data that allows one to analyze trends in personal and household travel. It includes daily non-commercial travel by all modes, including characteristics of the people traveling, their household, and their vehicles. FHWA has completed the 2022 NHTS data collection with special focus on equity and those data are now available at: https://nhts.ornl.gov/

Introduction to the NHTS

The NHTS is a periodic national survey used to assist transportation planners and policy makers who need comprehensive data on travel and transportation patterns in the U.S. The 2022 survey data along with historical data from the 2017, 2009, and 2001 NHTS, and the former Nationwide Personal Transportation Surveys (NPTS) of 1983, 1990, and 1995, are available at the NHTS website: https://nhts.ornl.gov/.

The NHTS/NPTS serves as the nation's inventory of daily travel. Data is collected on daily trips taken by households and individuals in those households, over a 24-hour period, and includes:

  • purpose of the trip (work, shopping, social, etc.)
  • means of transportation (car, walk, bus, subway, etc.)
  • travel time of trip
  • time of day/day of week

These details are collected for all trips, modes, purposes, trip lengths, and all areas of the country, urban and rural.

Uses of Surveys:

  • quantify travel behavior
  • analyze changes in travel characteristics over time, and
  • study the relationship of demographic and travel over time
  • examine the impact of emerging transportation services

For more information, go to the NHTS website.

NHTS Resources

NHTS Products, Publications

NHTS Program Newsletters (https://nhts.ornl.gov/publications

2022 NHTS Weighted Vehicle Occupancy factors

Moving Forward: The NextGen NHTS

The NextGen NHTS program focuses on providing national travel behavior data on a more frequent basis than prior NHTS efforts. This effort includes moving to a biennial household travel survey and adding annual passive original destination (OD) truck and passenger data products at the national level.

Core Data Program: The NHTS was redesigned to be shorter and more focused. Conducted by Ipsos, the survey will collect data from 7,500 randomly sampled households and 7,500 households that are part of Ipsos’s Knowledge Panel. The survey is currently in field and will capture details on travel behavior from January 2022 through January 2023.

National passive OD data products: The NextGen NHTS also features an OD data component. The OD data contractor (University of Maryland) will be providing national passenger and truck OD data annually for calendar years 2020 through 2024.

To download the 2020 national passenger and truck OD data products or to use a convenient online tool, go to https://nhts.ornl.gov/od. Other online resources include the following:

  1. Quick start video (.mp4)
  2. Method document (passenger) (.pdf)
  3. Method document (truck) (.pdf)

The national passive OD data products summarize travel within and across 583 zones. A map of the zone structure can be found at https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policyinformation/analysisframework/04.cfm.

NextGen NHTS pooled-fund program

FHWA has established a pooled-fund program to support shared research into travel behavior data as well as provide a contracting mechanism for agencies to purchase additional samples as part of the survey effort and/or more refined geography in the passenger OD data product. For more information, see https://pooledfund.org/Details/Study/651

New NextGen NHTS Origin Destination Data Release

FHWA has released the latest NextGen NHTS data and information. Please visit the Latest NextGen NHTS Data page to learn more. The two datasets are comprised of the traditional NHTS core data associated with why, how, and when people travel and the new comprehensive national multimodal origin- destination estimation (OD) travel data through 583 zones. The OD data includes both between zones (interzonal) and within a single zone (intrazonal) travel. The core data includes both the sample data and weighted data. Both datasets are also supported by online data analysis and visualization tools.


Please direct all questions and comments to PolicyInfoFeedback@dot.gov.

Page last modified on December 22, 2023
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