BTS Aims for Improved Transportation Decisions with TranStats - an Intermodal Web Database

BTS Aims for Improved Transportation Decisions with TranStats - an Intermodal Web Database

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) has taken a significant step forward in electronic government with the unveiling of TranStats, a new website providing one-stop data shopping through access to more than 100 transportation-related databases.

Unveiled to the public on September 16th, TranStats is a website for transportation researchers and analysts aimed at providing “one-stop shopping” for transportation data. The premise is fairly simple—by reducing the time needed for data gathering, more time is available for analysis. And by providing easy linkages across many data sets, TranStats can help achieve new insights. Ultimately, this should result in more timely and more informed decisions, and a better transportation system.

TranStats' ultimate goal is to make the latest transportation data available to the entire transportation community, thereby creating a better transportation system for everyone.

Up to now, the process of compiling data to analyze a problem commonly involved searching for data sources, contacting data providers to get the data, often repeated contacts to get more information about the data, then sorting through that data and integrating more data from other sources for analysis. This can be a very labor-intensive process, often taking months. TranStats is an electronic government initiative aimed at streamlining this whole process.

TranStats Streamlines Data Analysis

TranStats offers analysts several unique features:

  • A searchable index of over 100 transportation-related databases across every mode of transportation—with many social and demographic data sets that are commonly used in transportation analysis.
  • Selective download—the ability to choose variables of interest and download the data directly to your PC for analysis using any database, spreadsheet, or statistical package.
  • Online data documentation—profiles on each database, summary information about the tables that comprise a database, data definitions, and code information for data variables.
  • Interactive analytical tools—the ability to do simple statistical summaries, create time series or cross tabulations, generate graphics online, and cut/paste results into reports.
  • Interactive mapping—to help visualize geographic data.
  • A mapping center—with the full National Transportation Atlas Data Base, as well as applications to easily map DOT Grants and several other key datasets.

Users can explore the data by transportation mode or by subject area, use keyword searches to find relevant data sets, and get online help. Because all the data in TranStats are indexed with a transportation thesaurus, links to other transportation research are easy through the National Transportation Library.