Center Identification Number: 527-09
Project Title: Public Transit in America: Evidence from the 2001 National Household Travel Survey
Center for Urban Transportation Research
University of South Florida
Fax: (813) 974-5168
External Project Contact:
Jon M. Ausman, Transit Program Manager
I. Project Objective
The project objective is to update the very popular report titled: “Public Transit in America—Evidence from the 1995 Nationwide Personal Transportation Survey” with data from the 2001 National Household Travel Survey. The new report would update the past report by carrying out a similar analysis with the 2001 NHTS data. This new data provides a unique opportunity to develop a rich understanding of travel behavior and provide a resource to the industry in terms of specific analyses relevant to public transit. This data serves as a resource to planners and policy makers. We shall produce a comprehensive report similar to the prior one. We shall use a peer panel to guide and help disseminate findings.
II. Project Abstract
The past report was very widely distributed and read with a press release, numerous citations and broad distribution by APTA and others. The past report covered a number of trend areas:
The trends for the last set of parameters (number 13) were shown for 1983, 1990, and 1995. All other trends were shown for 1969, 1977, 1983, 1990, and 1995. In addition to these trends, the past report covered eight topic areas as shown in Table 1.
Table 1. Topics in Public Transit in America
The results were shown in two ways. One way showed statistics related to each topic by different categories of a density variable and a range of social and demographical characteristics of trip makers. This is also done for different categories of a MSA size variable. The other way showed statistics related to each topic by cross categories between the density and MSA size variables. The following categories of MSA size were used: Outside MSA, under 250 thousand, 250,000 to 49,999, 500,000 to 999,999, 1 million to 2,999,999, and three million and over. Density was based on urban classification: rural areas, small towns, second cities, suburban areas, and urban areas. The social and demographical characteristics used are listed below:
The analysis was done for local trips as reported in the travel day file.
CUTR has reviewed the questionnaire for the 2001 NHTS and determined what data will be available and what will not be available from the surveys. The final database for the 1995 NPTS included a large number of derived variables that FHWA added after the surveys. Two examples are the urbanization classes and MSA size categories used in the past report. At this point, we do not know exactly what derived variables will be added. CUTR believes that similar variables for urbanization and MSA size will not be added by FHWA. It is possible, however, the particular categories may change. The following discussion assumes that the same variables will be added again to the database.
Similarities. The new report shall update all 12 trend-areas to include data from the 2000 NHTS. In addition, the new report shall cover topics 4 through 8 in Table 1. The presentation of results on these topics will follow the same format as in the past report.
Changes. The new report shall cover transferring differently. This change is forced by changes in the questions. In the 1995 NPTS, modal use and timing of each leg of a multi-legged trip were reported. This information was used to drive statistics on transferring. In the 2001 NHTS, the main mode was reported for any linked trip, as in the 1995 NPTS. However, access and egress modes were reported differently this time. If the main mode was public transit, up to five modes were reported for travel to the main mode and up to five modes were reported for travel from the main mode. No information was reported on the sequence or characteristics (e.g., duration) of these modes. When more than three modes were reported, it would be difficult to determine with reasonable certainty about transfer activities. For cases with no more than two modes to or from the main mode, it is possible to determine transfer activities. Consequently, the results and their presentation in the new report will change accordingly on the topic area of transferring.
Deletions. The new report shall not cover topics 1 and 2 in Table 1. No questions were asked in the 2001 NHTS on public attitudes toward public transit, perceived availability of transit, or perceived proximity to public transit.
Additions. The new report shall add contents in three general areas: reported medical conditions, emigration status, and long-distance trips. Similar information was not available in the 1995 NPTS.
Medical conditions and emigration status shall be added as two additional social and demographic characteristics to the eleven already used for analyzing the topic areas 4 through 8 in Table 1.
Two aspects shall be analyzed and presented for long-distance trips. One is directional modal use for the line haul to the destination. The 2001 NHTS has information on the main mode, which is the mode used for most of the distance, for the out-going direction but not the return direction. This information can be used to determine transit’s market share by different main modes, such as airlines, intercity bus, or AMTRAK. The other is modal use for travel to the main mode and from the main mode. Up to nine modes were reported for travel to the main mode or from the main mode. As with local trips, no information was reported on the sequence or characteristics (e.g., duration) of these modes. It is likely that all these will be presented as a new topic in a new chapter. However, the particular analysis and variables involved are yet to be determined.
These stated additions are based on our current review of the questionnaire. It is possible some of the data will not be contained in the final database.
III. Task Descriptions
Task 1: Determine Data Content of 2001 NHTS
This will be done in three ways. First, we shall continue to explore and determine what data are likely to come from the survey questions. As mentioned earlier, preliminary exploration was already done. Further exploration will need to be done. Second, we are already receiving beta discs of the 2001 NHTS from FHWA as they have asked us to review the data. We shall explore the already received data in relation to exploring the questionnaire. Third, we shall explore the particular variables that will be added to the final database by FHWA.
Task 2: Determine Contents for the New Report
This task shall determine exactly how the planned additions to the new report in terms of medical conditions, emigration status, and long-distance trips shall be analyzed and presented in the new report. As discussed earlier, some plans are already made in this regard. However, details still need to be worked out once the final database is received and explored. The Principal Investigators shall consult with and shall get approval from the FDOT Project Manager on this Task.
Task 3: Conduct Analysis
This task will determine exactly how the planned additions to the new report in terms of medical conditions, emigration status, and long-distance trips will be analyzed and presented in the new report. As discussed earlier, some plans are already made in this regard. However, details still need to be worked out once the final database is received and explored. The Principal Investigators shall consult with and shall get approval from the FDOT Project Manager on this Task.
Task 4: Prepare New Report
This task shall present the analysis results into a new report. It shall cover both trends and topic areas as discussed earlier. It shall discuss limitations of the survey data and potential impacts on the accuracy of the results. It shall draw implications for the public transit industry from the reported results. The Principal Investigators shall consult with and shall get approval from the FDOT Project Manager on this Task.
IV. Project Schedule
A project-duration of 12 months is proposed. CUTR will need to wait for the release of the final database for the 2001 NHTS before several activities can be initiated. The release is being planned for January 2003. CUTR shall notify the FDOT Project Manager when the twelve (12) month project duration begins. The FDOT Project Manager shall notify CUTR to proceed in writing. The date of notification by the FDOT Project Manager shall start the twelve-month project schedule. CUTR shall not request an extension within sixty (60) days of the scheduled completion date of the project.
Project Start Date: October 2002
Note: T = Task efforts
D = Deliverables
V. Project Budget
Note: This budget does not reflect any federal participation. The project team will include faculty, students, and secretarial and other support staff who will work directly on the project and whose costs are reflected in the direct costs of the project as listed above.
VI. Student Involvement
Students will be used in data analysis. This project provides a very strong opportunity for students to develop a rich understanding of travel behavior.
VII. Relationship to Other Research Projects
Some of the publications resulting from prior analysis efforts include the following:
1. NPTS Demographics & Travel Behavior: A Comparison of Florida and the United States
2. Travel Patterns of People of Color, Prepared for US Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, Battelle, Chapter 2, Demographics of People of Color, and Chapter 6, Mode Choice by People of Color for Non-Work Trips. June 2000. http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/ohim/trvpatns.pdf
3. (Steve Polzin, Xuehao Chu and Joel Rey) “The Role of Density and Captivity in the Success of Public Transit: Observations from the 1995 NPTS,” Presented at the 79th Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board, January 2000. Published in TRR No. 1735, Transit Planning, Intermodal Facilities, and Management and Marketing, 2000.
4. (Xuehao Chu, Steve Polzin and Joel Rey) Public Transit in America: Findings from the Nationwide Public Transportation Survey, Center for Urban transportation Research, September 1998. http://www.cutr.eng.usf.edu/index2.htm
5. (Steve Polzin and Xuehao Chu), “How Many People Use Public Transportation?” guest column, The Urban Transportation Monitor, July 9, 1999.
6. (Steve Polzin, Xuehao Chu and Joel Rey) “Mobility and Mode Choice of People of Color for Non-Work Travel, Findings from the Nationwide Personal Transportation Survey.” TRB NPTS Specialty Conference: The Long and Short of It, June 1999, and TRB Annual Meeting, January 2000. Scheduled for subsequent printed conference proceedings and TRB publication. http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/ohim/travelconf/fhwabts.htm.
VIII. Technology Transfer Activities/Peer Review
We have an opportunity to initiate the project quickly on completion of data collection and hence would be able to have fresh and highly popular report completed relatively early after NHTS is available. We are currently working with NHTS draft data for the first 6 months of surveying and have a very good working relationship with FHWA staff. The prior report was perhaps the most frequently downloaded CUTR web report when it was released and its availability was noted is several other publications.
CUTR has been asked to provide a presentation of NHTS results regarding transit at a pre-2003 TRB workshop on NHTS results in DC in Washington.
Press releases and cross referencing of the report are anticipated to increase awareness and use. A series of white papers exploring the implications of the findings could be used to draw more attention to the report (such as the numerous Urban Monitor pieces that related to the prior work).
We used a select committee of four outside reviewers last time including FHWA, FTA and folks from transit properties (GCRTA and CTA). We would use a similar group this time. The FDOT Project Manager shall be one of the reviewers. CUTR shall be allowed to select other reviewers in addition to the FDOT Project Manager. They were generally very active and supportive.
National Center for Transit Research · at the Center For Urban Transportation Research · University of South Florida · 4202 E. Fowler Ave., CUT100 · Tampa, FL 33620-5375 · (813) 974-3120 · (813) 974-5168 · www.nctr.usf.edu · Comments: firstname.lastname@example.org