As a Federal statistical agency, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) must meet both its mission requirements to collect and disseminate high quality transportation information and its legal and ethical obligations to respect the privacy of those who have provided the information.
When BTS collects transportation information for a statistical purpose under a pledge of confidentiality, BTS is required by law to protect the information. Respondents must be able to trust that information they provide to BTS will be protected and not be subject to unauthorized disclosure. For that reason, BTS implements confidentiality procedures to protect individually identifiable information.
BTS takes privacy laws and its ethical obligation to protect information very seriously. BTS has standard confidentiality procedures in place throughout the agency to ensure protection and security of respondents data. BTS makes sure your personal information is not disclosed to any unauthorized person. It does this through:
BTS is authorized by law1 to collect transportation information for its various program needs. BTS confidentiality statute2 and other laws3 protect the information BTS collects. These laws ensure that any identifying, sensitive, or proprietary information that BTS collects is not released to unauthorized persons or organizations.
Specifically, BTS is subject to the Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act (CIPSEA) of 20024. In 2003, BTS hosted a series of Confidentiality Seminars in response to the passage of CIPSEA. When BTS collects or acquires information for a statistical purpose under CIPSEA, BTS:
BTS uses a pledge of confidentiality when collecting or acquiring information for a statistical purpose. A pledge of confidentiality is a guarantee to the respondent that the agency will:
The BTS Disclosure Review Board (DRB) reviews BTS information products for disclosures of confidential information prior to public dissemination. BTS DRB requires application of disclosure limitation methods to information products to protect the confidentiality of data. By doing this, BTS seeks to prevent anyone from using published statistical data to identify either an individual or business that has provided confidential information under a pledge of confidentiality. These disclosure limitation methods modify or remove the characteristics that put information at risk for disclosure.
BTS sometimes releases microdata files. These files contain individuals' responses. All individual identifiers (such as name and address) are removed from these records. In addition, BTS modifies unique characteristics (such as high levels of income) through disclosure limitation methods. And, BTS restricts geographic identifiers (such as the name of a city) so that populations are composed of at least 100,000 people. For tables of data, BTS takes steps to disguise or suppress the original data to ensure confidentiality.
For more information on BTS confidentiality practices, or for comments and concerns, please contact the BTS Confidentiality Officer:
1 49 U.S.C. 111(c)(2).
2 49 U.S.C. 111(i).
3 18 U.S.C. 1905; The Privacy Act of 1974; and Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act (CIPSEA) of 2002 (Public Law 107-347, Title V, Subtitle A).
4 Public Law 107-347, Title V, Subtitle A.