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Omnibus Survey Household Survey Results Summary Report December 2000
Household Survey Results
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, so 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. Analyses and conclusions are based on the 95-percent level of confidence. Where appropriate, the margin of error for each value is presented in parenthesis.
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 American life.
For More Information
Omnibus Survey Program
Bureau of Transportation Statistics
US Department of Transportation
Office of Statistical Programs
Hossain E. Sanjani
Office of Survey Programs
This report on the December 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 satisfaction with 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 transportation safety.
Transportation System User Trends
- During the past 30 days, driving alone in a private vehicle was the most used, and commercial boats, ships, or ferries were the least used, modes of transportation. The percentage of all Americans who indicated the use of each mode of transportation is summarized in the table below:
|Mode of Transportation||Percent of Americans Using||Margin of Error (percent)|
|Driving alone in a private vehicle||90||4.1|
|Traveling with others in a private vehicle||66||5.1|
|Public Transportation: local public bus, subway, or commuter rail||14||6.2|
|Taxi, limousine, or shuttle service||12||4.0|
|Organized car pool or van pool||9||2.2|
|Private or charter airplane||2||0.3|
|Commercial boat ship or ferry||1||0.3|
- Almost 3.5 percent (± 1.3 percent) of Americans were involved in one or more transportation-related accident/s during the past 3 months.
Transportation Safety Risks
- Only two means of travel are viewed as unsafe by a majority of all Americans: traveling on a bicycle in or near traffic, or traveling as a pedestrian in or near traffic. Two-thirds of the public (66.5 percent, ±4.1) view traveling on a bicycle under such circumstances as somewhat or very unsafe, while 50.9 percent (±4.2) view traveling as a pedestrian in or near traffic as somewhat or very unsafe.
- A majority of Americans consider the following modes of transportation to be somewhat to very safe: commercial boats, ships, or ferries (60.2 percent, ±3.4); local buses or paratransit vehicles (57.5 percent, ±3.5); commercial planes (56.6 percent, ±4.2); intercity or charter busses (56.5 percent, ±3.5). More Americans (56.6 percent, ±4.2) consider flying on a commercial airplane to be a safer means of transportation than driving or riding on the nation's highways (38.6 percent, ±3.2). Regarding commercial airplanes, 19.6 percent (±3.2) consider it an unsafe mode of transportation and 23.8 percent (±3.7) think that it is neither safe nor unsafe (neutral). With respect to driving or riding on the highway, 19.2 percent (±3.6) perceive it to be unsafe and 42.2 percent (±3.8) think that it is neither safe nor unsafe (neutral).
- About half of the public (51.4 percent, ±4.3 ) agree that most truck drivers on the highway drive safely, however, 55.3 percent (±2.5) feel concerned about their safety when they travel in a car near large trucks. Nearly three out of every five drivers (61.3 percent, ±4.8) make a special effort to avoid driving near large trucks. Results of the survey suggests that 94.6 percent (±1.0) of the public knows it takes a large truck longer to come to a complete stop than the average car.
- Only 34.9 percent (±0.9) of the public is dissatisfied with the Federal Government's efforts to establish effective safety standards for large trucks.
Drinking and Driving
- Since the beginning of November, 83.1 percent (±2.6) of the public has seen or heard public service messages warning of the dangers of drinking and driving and 60.5 percent (±2.4) has seen or heard of special efforts by local police to reduce the incidence of drinking and driving.
- Almost two third of Americans, 69.5 percent (±1.4), believe that reducing the blood-alcohol standard will be somewhat to very beneficial in reducing alcohol-related traffic accidents.
Seat Belt Use
- Four out of every five Americans (81.6 percent, ±2.5) have seen or heard messages on TV, radio, billboards, etc., within the past 30 days, encouraging people to wear their seat belts.
- The proportion of Americans who have seen or heard , within the past 30 days, of special efforts by police to ticket drivers in their community for seat belt violations has increased from 29.0 percent (±5.1) in the November survey to 36.6 percent (±5.7) in December. The proportion who have seen or heard , within the past 30 days, of special efforts by police to ticket drivers in their community for failing to restrain children in seat belts or car seats has increased from 32 percent (±4.6) in November to 41 percent (±5.2) in December.
- The proportion of public who either agree or strongly agree that it is important for police to enforce the seat belt laws remained largely unchanged from November (90.0 percent ±1.9) to December (87.1 percent, ±3.3). The proportion who agree or strongly agree that police in their community are writing more seat belt tickets now than they were a few months ago, however, declined from 89.9 percent (±1.9) in November to 58.6 percent (±5.1) in December. It may be hypothesized that this large drop is due to the season and fewer daylight hours.
- The proportion of those who have driven alone in the past 30 days and think it is somewhat or very likely they would receive a ticket for not wearing a seat belt if they were to drive over the next six months and never use their seat belt was54.8 percent (±3.1), At the 95 percent confidence level, this proportion was not significantly deferent than 58.7 percent (±3.0) reported in November.
Railroad Crossing Safety
- With regard to crossing a railroad crossing with no gates or lights, approximately two-thirds of the public, (68.6 percent, ±4.8), believe that a motorist should stop and look for a train, and then proceed if it is safe to do so. Twenty eight percent (±5.1) believe that when approaching such a railroad crossing they should look to see if a train is approaching, and be prepared to stop.
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 - December
|Mode of transportation||Total number (millions)||Percent who used mode in last 30 days by number of times used|
|1 or 2 times||3 to 5 times||6 to 10 times||More than 10 times|
|Drive alone in private vehicle||179.6||2.2%||4.9%||7.4%||85.5%|
|Drive or ride with others||131.3||16.1%||23.2%||19.8%||40.9%|
|Local bus, subway rail||28.1||38.0%||20.3%||7.4%||34.2%|
|Taxi, limo or shuttle||23.1||52.3%||27.4%||14.5%||5.8%|
|Car pool or van pool||17.2||24.4%||16.0%||9.8%||49.8%|
|Private or charter airplane||3.1||76.8%||21.1%||-||2.1%|