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Omnibus Survey Household Survey Results Summary Report October 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 - is coordinating 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 is gathering 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. Each month the survey contains a set of core questions about transportation system use, as well as questions posed by the various operating administrations within the Department. Finally, each month the survey asks questions relating to one of the following DOT strategic goals: safety, mobility, human and natural environment, or national security.
These monthly surveys are designed to measure Americans' satisfaction with the transportation system and the Department of Transportation. They are 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 American life.
For More Information
Omnibus Survey Program
Office of Statistical Programs
Bureau of Transportation Statistics
US Department of Transportation
The focus of October Household Survey was on human and natural environment. This report 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.
Transportation System User Trends
- Approximately 20 million Americans traveled in a car pool or van pool in the past 30 days. More than half of these, 54 percent, did so for more than ten of the past 30 days.
- Almost one-third of all American households (32 percent) have three or more licensed vehicles available for residents' use.
- The number of Americans flying commercial airlines in the past 30 days increased from 22.5 million in September to 27.3 million in October.
- The number of Americans using recreational boats in the past 30 days declined from 27.7 million in September to 17.5 million boaters in October.
- 5.3 million Americans used intercity buses in the past 30 days.
Use of Public Transportation and Car and Van Pools
- More than two-thirds of all Americans have public transportation available in their area (71%). Fewer Americans, 44 percent, have car or van pools available in their area. (Note: assumes respondents who used public transportation or car/van pools in the past 30 days have these services available in their area.)
- The most common reason cited for not using public transportation among those who live in areas where it is available and have not used it in the past 30 days is that it is more convenient to drive (71 percent). The most common reason cited for not using car or van pools among those who live in areas where they are available and have not used them in the past 30 days is that it is more convenient to drive oneself (53 percent).
- Twenty-seven percent of Americans with no licensed vehicles in their household live in areas where no public transportation is available. (Note: assumes respondents who used public transportation in the past 30 days have these services available in their area.)
NHTSA Safety Programs
- Sixteen percent of Americans who have at least one licensed vehicle are aware that NHTSA has a toll-free Auto Safety Hotline. Twenty percent know that NHTSA has a web site for receiving reports of vehicle safety problems and safety defects from consumers.
- Americans who have three or more licensed vehicles in their household or drive alone in a private vehicle more often are more likely to be aware of the NHTSA web site than those Americans who have only one or two licensed vehicles or drive less frequently.
Human and Natural Environment
- Half of all Americans believe that cars, SUVs, pickups, and vans are the primary cause of air pollution while almost one in ten believe large trucks are the primary cause. Sixteen percent believe the primary cause of air pollution is factories.
- Fifty-four percent of Americans are concerned about air pollution from transportation sources in their community, 45 percent are concerned about water pollution from transportation sources in their community, and 59 percent are concerned about the effect of vehicle emissions on global weather patterns. Satisfaction with the Federal government's efforts to minimize air and water pollution from transportation sources is 66 percent, while satisfaction with the Federal government's efforts in enforcing standards for vehicle emission is 70 percent.
- Almost half of all Americans, 48 percent, are concerned about the availability of information on how vehicle emissions affect air quality, and 32 percent are dissatisfied with the Federal government's efforts to make this information available.
- More than 65 percent of Americans are concerned about traffic congestion, and 48 percent are dissatisfied with the Federal government's efforts in addressing this issue. Similarly, 57 percent of Americans are concerned about having a say about transportation projects in their community, and 37 percent are dissatisfied with the Federal government's efforts in ensuring the public has a say.
- Ease of driving to work, shopping, and recreation is very important in choosing where to live for three out of every five Americans. The availability of good public transportation is not at all important for almost half (48 percent), and the availability of bikeways, walking paths, and sidewalks is very important to about one-third of all Americans (38 percent) in making this choice.
- Seventy-one percent or more Americans agree that the transportation system, including roads, public transportation, bikeways, and sidewalks, benefits their community, helps make their community a better place to live, and contributes to the economic well-being of their community. Sixty percent agree that the transportation system contributes to the environmental well-being of their community.
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 - October
|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||182.2||2.3%||6.2%||7.2%||84.3%|
|Drive or ride with others||137.4||13.9%||25.8%||14.9%||45.5%|
|Local bus, subway rail||30.8||26.9%||18.1%||9.0%||46.0%|
|Taxi, limo or shuttle||24.6||50.5%||28.1%||4.9%||16.5%|
|Car pool or van pool||19.9||17.4%||21.4%||6.8%||54.4%|
|Private or charter airplane||2.7||81.4%||6.6%||2.1%||10.0%|