Detailed Justification for Travel Statistics Program

Detailed Justification for Travel Statistics Program

FY 2008 Request: $2,947,000
FTE: 14.0 [includes 4.0 overhead]


Travel data are needed for effective Federal, State, and local transportation policy-making, planning, and program management. The Travel Statistics Program provides information on both personal and business travel as well as passenger travel facilities. Because of its skill diversity and experience, the Travel Statistics Program staff offer an invaluable level of expertise in all areas of passenger travel statistics.

Without the Travel Statistics program:

  • RITA/BTS would be unable to fulfill its legislative mandate under SAFETEA-LU to develop and maintain a National Census of Ferry Operators needed by State transportation officials for resource determinations for ferry operations and infrastructure.
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection international border crossing data would not be organized and summarized for use by DOT in border state infrastructure grants allocation formulae.
  • RITA/BTS could not provide the technical support to DOT modal administrations and other governmental agencies needed to improve the safety and security of transportation through projects such as the development, maintenance, and statistical analysis of a Confidential Close Call Reporting System for the Federal Railroad Administration, or by conducting targeted data collections for other agencies’ key performance indicators under the OMB approved Omnibus Survey Program.
  • Key transportation data gaps would not be filled, leaving Federal, State and local decision makers without the necessary information to evaluate such things as the intermodal connectivity of passenger facilities, public accessibility to transportation in rural areas, or risk exposure in transportation.
  • Congestion measures on the reliability of the components of the transportation system would not be developed to assist planners in determining the impacts of congestion or in prioritizing mitigation efforts.

FY 2007 Base

The Travel Statistics Program in FY 2007 will augment and refine the National Ferry Database (NFD), continue to organize and summarize U.S. Customs and Border Protection crossing data at the port level, produce updates of BTS’ rural access studies, continue working with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) on the Confidential Close Call Reporting System, begin releasing data from the Passenger System Connectivity Study, and coordinate the travel community needs for data from the Census’ American Community Survey.

Anticipated FY 2007 Accomplishments

  • Publish the public use file for the National Ferry Database study and a summary report of findings, and augment the database with data from other sources (Coast Guard, Corps of Engineers, AASHTO) on ferry routes, vessels, and terminals.
  • Publish preliminary data on the number of intermodal passenger facilities from the Passenger System Connectivity Study.
  • Continue the reimbursable partnership with FRA on the Confidential Close Call Reporting System (C3RS) Demonstration Project to develop a database of observational and corporate data, and assist FRA’s Human Factors Program in data collection and data analysis of behavioral-based safety studies and program evaluation data.
  • Release updated data on rural access to transportation quantifying the availability of air, rail, and intercity bus services available for the rural population.
  • Produce timely and relevant information on international travel, including processing and publishing monthly Border Crossing/Entry data for use in Departmental allocation formulae.
  • Continue statistical data analysis to determine the impact on transportation planning data of the Census Bureau’s implementation of the annual American Community Survey, which will replace the decennial long form.
  • Develop statistics for the measurement of congestion in various modes of transportation.
  • Develop and release reports, issue briefs, and data analyses of key travel issues such as exposure to risks of accident and injury and transportation issues faced by members of various demographic groups.
  • Support user requests for data and assistance with analysis of the National Household Travel Survey, the American Travel Survey, and the Omnibus Surveys.

FY 2008 Budget Request

In FY 2008, the Travel Statistics Program will continue to provide unique services to other Federal agencies, particularly in DOT. Staff will continue to refine the National Ferry Database from the 2006 survey and begin planning for the 2008 survey of ferry operators, the next iteration of this survey required by Congress. The Confidential Close Call Reporting System—a collaborative project with the FRA—will be in its third year of data collection. Work will continue on developing statistics for the measurement of congestion and safety risk exposure. Monthly Border Crossing/Entry data will be processed and published. The Omnibus Household Survey and other targeted surveys will be conducted on an on-demand basis and results will be summarized and published on the Travel Statistics Program web page. Travel program staff will also update the rural access analysis and prepare issue briefs and reports based on the needs of the Administration and Congress on travel data issues. The program will also continue its coordination role with the Census Bureau on travel data.

IT Investment: The IT investment costs for the travel program total $0.21 million and include 1.0 FTE, the travel portion of BTS’ data warehouse (RITAX004: Intermodal Transportation Database).