The 2001 NHTS was sponsored by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics and the Federal Highway Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Households were asked about all the trips1 they took on a specific day (daily travel), known as the “travel day,” and about trips of 50 miles or more taken from home in the 27 days preceding and including the travel day, a period known as the “travel period.” Detailed characteristics were collected for each trip including, among other things, the mode of transportation, the purpose of the trip, and the distance traveled. Additionally, households were asked to provide information about their social and demographic characteristics, including income and vehicle ownership, as well as the age, sex, education level, and so forth of household members. The 2001 NHTS collected information from 26,000 households nationally between March 2001 and May 2002.
The NHTS combines two previous surveys—the Nationwide Personal Transportation Survey (NPTS), a survey of daily travel, and the American Travel Survey (ATS), a survey of long-distance travel. The NPTS and ATS both were last conducted in 1995. Because of methodological changes, comparisons between the 2001 NHTS and the 1995 NPTS and ATS are not attempted here. Analysts need more time to study the effects of the methodological changes before meaningful comparisons can be made.
NHTS passenger data differ from data presented in section 2, “Passenger-Miles of Travel.” See box 2-A for a detailed discussion of these differences.
1 A trip is defined as traveling from one address to another, whether it is down the street, across town, or cross country.