Table 6-1 Major Information Gaps and Challenges

Topic Importance Examples of missing, inadequate, or threatened information
Economic interactions: purchases of goods, employment and production, and consumption of goods and services Creates the demand for passenger and commodity flows, which in turn creates the demand for transportation activity to serve those flows; indicates the portions of the economy that will be affected by increases in transportation costs and disruptions in transportation services
  • Risk of reductions in data on economic activity that generate freight movement and business travel collected through the Economic Census
Business interactions: freight flows within and among regions; logistical arrangements and expenditures among individual shippers, carriers, and service providers in supply chains Commodity flows which create the demand for transportation facilities and services; decision variables used by businesses that affect their responses to public investments in, and regulation of, transportation
  • Local movement of goods within metropolitan and rural areas
  • Domestic transportation of U.S. foreign trade
  • Cost of shipping goods
  • Characteristics of supply chains that generate commodity flows [NRC TRB SR 2011]
  • Access to administrative records of shippers
Household interactions: passenger flows within and among regions; travel behavior Passenger flows which create the demand for transportation facilities and services; decision variables used by households that affect their responses to public investments in, and regulation of, transportation; very different from business interactions because the purposes of many personal trips (e.g., family visits and recreational activities) are for reasons other than market or economic factors.
  • Intercity passenger travel by personal vehicles, charter buses, and general aviation [NRC TRB SR 2011]
  • Declining response rates to telephone interviews undermine the primary form of data collection on households
Transportation infrastructure and vehicles: vehicle, vessel, railcar, and aircraft fleets and their movement through the transportation network Assets and use of assets to meet mobility needs; source of negative consequences for safety, energy consumption, environmental issues
  • Discontinuation of Vehicle Inventory and Use Survey that provided national and statelevel data on the physical and operational characteristics of the Nation’s truck population [NRC TRB SR 2011]
  • Availability and use of non-motorized transportation
  • Relationships between land use and freight demand by type of travel
Transportation investments: revenues and expenditures Statistics on the amount of funds being invested in transportation and the revenue sources of those funds
  • Effective accounting of debits and credits related to public private partnerships in statistics on public revenues and expenditures
  • Methods and data to support scenario analysis for investment planning
  • Effective incorporation of investment data into output performance measures

NOTE: In-house estimates are available for only truck, rail, water and air