How We Travel: A Sustainable National Program For Travel Data

The U.S. transportation system serves hundreds of millions of travelers and handles millions of tons of freight each day to help ensure the efficient movement of peopl eand goods in support of personal goals and domestic and international commerce.

A well-functioning transportation system is essential for business travel an dtourism, yet no national data have been collected on long-distance, inter-city passenger travel by surface transportation modes since 1995.

A strong economy depends on state and regional investments in freight corridors to keep freight moving, but industry-based data on freight shipments, focused on supply chain linkages and local goods movement, are not collected.

Only coarse national-level data are available on intercity commodity flows.

Increased energy efficiency and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from vehicular travel are being sought to reduce the transportation sector’s adverse environmental impacts, but data on vehicle use necessary to monitor progress are no longer being collected.

This study, How We Travel: A Sustainable National Program For Travel Data (184p. PDF) — a special report from the U.S. Transportation Research Board — assesses the current state of travel data at the federal, state and local levels and definese an achievable and sustainable travel data system that can support public and private transportation decision making.

The primary goal is to develop a strategy for structuring, conducting, and funding the collection of critical travel data.

The study is national in scope, recognizing that travel data are collected and used at multiple geographic levels and by multiple sectors.

It covers all travel modes, with a focus on measuring the performance of the transportation system as a whole.

The results are directed to Congress; senior leaders and data program managers at the U.S. Department of Transportation and other federal agencies; states; metropolitan planning organizations; other transportation authorities; and firms that collect, analyze and disseminate travel data.