The Bureau of Transportation Statistics - the federal statistical agency for the Department of Transportation charged with improving the knowledge base for public decision making - coordinates the Omnibus Survey program. The survey is a ONEDOT effort to collect information about the transportation system, how it is used, and how it is viewed by the users.
BTS gathers data each month on a random basis from 1,000 households to determine the general
public's satisfaction with the nation's transportation system and to prioritize improvements to the transportation system. This survey is intended to measure Americans' satisfaction with the
transportation system and the Department of Transportation. It is not intended nor designed to
measure characteristics of the transportation system. The data concerning characteristics of
transportation are collected to enhance understanding of the customer satisfaction measures and
the concerns respondents express regarding the transportation system.
Estimates such as the number of Americans traveling by air, the availability of public
transportation, use of car pools, and the like may not match data from other sources because of
sampling variability and methodological limitations of the survey. For example, the survey
covers only people in households with a telephone. Characteristics related to the lack of a
telephone will be estimated with imperfect accuracy. For example, estimates of households
having no licensed motor vehicles are likely understated because the sample does not include
households without telephones.
Another source of possible disagreement with other estimates occurs because the Omnibus
survey does not use official definitions of transportation concepts in the interview. Due to time constraints, the survey often provides no definitions, but allows the respondent to interpret terminology in the question. Estimates based on respondent reports from the Omnibus Survey could differ from estimates obtained through different methods. For example, when the
Omnibus asks respondents about the availability of public transportation, it does not specify,
"within a quarter mile." Nor does it define "public transportation." Without precise definitions, respondents may consider charter buses, for example, to be "public transportation."
The findings provided by the Omnibus Survey program will provide a valuable framework for
the Secretary and senior officials in DOT operating administrations to make measurable
improvements in our transportation system, the security of our nation, and the quality of
For More information
Omnibus Survey Program
Bureau of Transportation Statistics
US Department of Transportation
Office of Statistical Programs
This report on the January Household Survey of the Omnibus Survey Program
summarizes the major findings of the survey. More detailed results and the data are
available on the BTS Omnibus website at www.bts.gov/omnibus. Each month the survey contains a set of core questions about transportation system use and levels of satisfactionwith DOT, thus allowing for the identification of monthly trends. Each month the survey also contains questions posed by the various operating administrations within the Department. Finally, each month the survey asks questions relating to one of DOT's strategic goals. This month the Household Survey asked questions about mobility.
Transportation System User Trends
- Transportation use in the "past 30 days" has declined since December for every
mode of transportation except commercial boats, ships, and ferries.
- Approximately 5 million people used recreational boats in the last 30 days.
Almost half (47 percent) of the people who used recreational boat used it only 1 or
2 days. Among this group, more than half (59 percent) used their boats less than
six hours, and almost all (96 percent) used their boats for 12 hours or less.
- In general, the public is satisfied with the modes of transportation they have used in the past 30 days. The highest rates of satisfaction were expressed for commercial boats, ships and ferries (100 percent), private or charter airlines (98 percent), and taxi, limo, or shuttle services (94 percent). The lowest rates of satisfaction were expressed for commercial airlines (81 percent) and public transportation (84 percent). Satisfaction with travel in private vehicles or on bicycles was not measured.
Impact of Delays and Congestion on Roads and Highways
- The most common response to road congestion is to use a different route or change the time of travel. Twenty-three (23, ±3.5) percent of Americans frequently changed their travel route in the past 30 days because of road congestion, while 40, (±5.4) percent changed their route occasionally. Twenty-one (21, ±5.3) percent frequently changed the time they traveled, while 31 (±4.0) percent changed their time of travel occasionally.
- Americans are not likely to change the type of transportation they use in response
to road congestion. Eighty-four (84, ±2.7) percent of respondents indicated that,
in the past 30 days, they "never" changed the mode of transportation they used
due of road congestion. Only 5 (±1.1) percent of the public frequently changed
the type of transportation they used because of road congestion, while 11 (±2.4)
percent changed the type of transportation they used occasionally.
Access, Cost and Reliability
- Sixty-eight (68, ±2.9) percent of the public is somewhat to very concerned about the accessibility of transportation to people with disabilities. Forty (40, ±3.1) percent are somewhat to very dissatisfied with the Federal government's efforts to address this issue.
- Almost half of public (49.5, ±4.7 percent) is somewhat to very concerned about the availability of public transportation such as buses and trains in their area. Forty (40, ±3.1) percent are very dissatisfied with the Federal government's efforts to address this issue.
- Twenty seven (27, ±7.0) percent of Americans find getting from their homes to public transportation (local public bus, subway, or commuter rail) to be very inconvenient. An additional 12 (±1.7) percent find it to be somewhat inconvenient.
- Twenty-eight (28, ±6.1) percent of Americans find getting from their homes to intercity trains to be very inconvenient. Intercity buses appear to be more accessible; only 19 (±3.7) percent of the public find getting to intercity buses to be very inconvenient.
- Almost half of all Americans (44 percent, ±2.9) are very concerned about how much they spend on transportation. One-third of Americans (33 percent, ±2.4) are very dissatisfied with the Federal Government's efforts to address the cost of transportation.
- Public transportation (local public bus, subway, or commuter rail) is viewed as
"very affordable" by 31 (±3.2) percent of the public, more than any other mode of
transportation. Only 7 (±1.2) percent of the public view commercial airlines as
- Commercial airplanes, and taxi, limo or shuttle services are considered "not at all
affordable" by 21 ( ±2.4) percent of public. Fifteen ( ±2.2) percent of respondents
rate commercial boats, ships or ferries to be "not at all affordable".
- Americans view car pools as the most reliable mode of transportation in terms of
being on time. Thirty-three (33, ±2.6) percent rated car pools as "very reliable."
- Almost forty-three percent (42.8, ±3.1) of all Americans find commercial airlines
to be either "not very affordable" or "not at all affordable". Over one fourth (25.8,
±3.1 percent) of the public rate commercial airlines as "not very reliable" or "not
at all reliable" to be on time.
- Almost one in four Americans (24.5, ±2.7 percent) who flew in the past twelve months is somewhat or very dissatisfied with the range of available public transportation options for traveling to the airport.
- Twenty-four (24, ±4.3) percent of the public is somewhat or very dissatisfied with availability of parking at departure airport, and 52.4 (±4.5) percent are somewhat or very dissatisfied with the cost of parking.
- Approximately two out of every five Americans (39.3, ±7.1) who have flown in the past 12 months are either very or somewhat dissatisfied about notification of flight cancellations and delays.
Transportation User Trends
The following tables show the percent of adult population who used the transportation system in the last 30 days
Frequency of Transportation Use in Last 30 Days - January
|Drive alone in private vehicle
|Drive or ride with others
|Local bus, subway, rail
|Taxi, limo or shuttle
|Car pool or van pool
|Private or charter airplane