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Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology
Coordinating, Developing, and Delivering Highway Transportation Innovations

This technical report is an archived publication and may contain dated technical, contact, and link information
Publication Number:  FHWA-HRT-16-082    Date:  August 2017
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-16-082
Date: August 2017


Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology Evaluation: National Household Travel Survey Program Final Report

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The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Research and Technology Program furthers the FHWA’s Office of Research, Development, and Technology’s (RD&T) goal of ensuring transparency, accessibility, and responsiveness of RD&T for all stakeholders.

This report examines outcomes associated with the National Household Travel Survey (NHTS) program, namely (1) the extent of NHTS survey usage; (2) the impact of the NHTS Program on policy, project, and regulatory decisionmaking; and (3) the responsiveness of the NHTS Program to its user community.

This report should be of interest to FHWA staff, the NHTS user community, and transportation professionals involved in travel behavior modeling, survey research, and evaluation.

Michael Trentacoste

Associate Administrator
Research, Development, and Technology (RD&T)


This document is disseminated under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Transportation in the interest of information exchange. The U.S. Government assumes no liability for the use of the information contained in this document.

The U.S. Government does not endorse products or manufacturers. Trademarks or manufacturers’ names appear in this report only because they are considered essential to the objective of the document.

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Technical Report Documentation Page

1. Report No.


2. Government Accession No. 3 Recipient's Catalog No.
4. Title and Subtitle

Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology Evaluation: National Household Travel Survey Program Final Report

5. Report Date

August 2017

6. Performing Organization Code

OST-R V-321

7. Author(s)

Lora Chajka-Cadin, Margaret Petrella, Chris Timmel, Emily Futcher, and Jacob Mittleman

8. Performing Organization Report No.


9. Performing Organization Name and Address

Volpe National Transportation Systems Center
55 Broadway
Cambridge, MA

10. Work Unit No. (TRAIS)

11. Contract or Grant No.
12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address

Office of Corporate Research, Technology, and Innovation Management
Federal Highway Administration
6300 Georgetown Pike
McLean, VA 22101-2296

13. Type of Report and Period Covered

Final Report, November 2014 to October 2015

14. Sponsoring Agency Code


15. Supplementary Notes

John Moulden was the Research and Technology Program Manager and the Contracting Officer’s Representative for contract DTFH for this program summary.

16. Abstract

This evaluation of the NHTS Program addresses three key questions: 1) What is the breadth and depth of NHTS usage? 2) What impact does the NHTS Program have on policy, project, or regulatory decisionmaking? 3) How responsive is the NHTS Programto its user community? Although it is difficult to trace the specific impacts of the NHTS data, the evaluation found many examples demonstrating that NHTS data inform a range of policy and legislative decisions, both within transportation and in other fields (e.g., health, energy). In some cases, NHTS provides context and understanding for how, when, and why Americans travel, as well as trends in travel. This context helps make the case for particular policy or legislative initiatives. In other cases, NHTS is an important data input to a model or statistical analysis, which is used, in turn, to influence policy or legislation. At the State and local levels, NHTS has its greatest impact in developing, calibrating, or validating travel demand models that are used to inform transportation planning and project selection. The report also identifies challenges and lessons learned regarding survey planning, survey administration,and outreach and offers a set of recommendations to improve program effectiveness.

17. Key Words

National Household Travel Survey

18. Distribution Statement

No restrictions. This document is available through the National Technical Information Service,
Springfield, VA 22161.

19. Security Classification
(of this report)


20. Security Classification
(of this page)


21. No. of Pages


22. Price
Form DOT F 1700.7 (8-72) Reproduction of completed page authorized




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