Survey Data on Congestion Delays

Survey Data on Congestion Delays

More than two of five adults in the United States reported in 2002 that traffic congestion was a problem in their community (figure 3-10). These data are results from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics Omnibus Household Survey, conducted in January, May, and September 2002. The survey responses indicated that concern about congestion was higher among adults in metropolitan statistical areas1 (MSAs) than among the general adult population or among adult residents of non-MSAs.

Four times between December 2001 and February 2003, the Omnibus Household Survey queried participants to find out whether they experienced any significant delays while traveling (in the previous month). On average, significant delays were reported by 28 percent of air travelers, 19 percent of public transit users, and 18 percent of personal vehicle users (figure 3-11). In the survey, significant delays were designed to be the respondent’s perception, given the differences in commutes across the country.

According to surveys conducted over four months in 2003, 81 percent of commuters used only their personal vehicle to complete their commute and most personal vehicle users (86 percent) drove alone [1]. Since 2001, many Omnibus surveys have asked people who commute to work how much time it takes to travel door-to-door, one way. On average, these commutes took 25 minutes in 2001, 26 minutes in 2002, and 27 minutes in 2003 (figure 3-12). In 2003, commuting was longer than 30 minutes for 23 percent of workers [1].


1. U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, OmniStats 3(4), October 2003.

1 MSAs are generally urban. They are defined by the White House Office of Management and Budget at, as of May 2004.