The National Academies

NCHRP 08-36/Task 119 [Final]

Transportation Users Guide to the Economic Census
[ NCHRP 08-36 (Research for the AASHTO Standing Committee on Planning) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $80,000
Research Agency: Cambridge Systematics
Principal Investigator: Donald Ludlow and Stacey Bricka
Effective Date: 10/24/2013
Completion Date: 5/15/2015

STATUS:  The contractor's final report is available HERE.

Project Objective
The objective of this project was to develop a guidebook for transportation planners, analysts, and other professionals, on what data the Economic Census contains and how it can be applied to transportation issues.

The U.S. Census Bureau collects and disseminates data on individuals, households, industrial production and employment, commodity flows, international trade, and other topics that are used in transportation. Demographic products such as the Decennial Census, the Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics program, and the American Community Survey (ACS) are probably the best known and most utilized Census products for transportation planning, travel forecasting, and policy making.
The Economic Census includes the Commodity Flow Survey but other parts of the Economic Census and its related data programs are less well known and less well utilized by transportation professionals. The Economic Census sector and industry reports on transportation, Service Annual Survey, Quarterly Services Survey, Annual Survey of Manufacturers, Foreign Trade Statistics, and Manufacturer’s Shipments, Inventories, and Orders, are currently being used in transportation performance measures, freight planning, transportation and economic development assessments, and a variety of other applications. The Economic Census is also the basis for the Commodity Flow Survey, County Business Patterns, and other products used by the transportation community. The effective use of the Census Bureau’s economic data could be increased significantly by providing transportation professionals with a guide to available data, including examples of applications.
Data collection for the next Economic Census and related surveys is underway, with release of preliminary data sets scheduled for 2013, and detailed data sets starting in 2014 through 2016. Given the anticipated release of major data products, as well as the ongoing availability of data collected on a quarterly and annual basis, a guide would be of immediate use and benefit to transportation professionals at all levels, university researchers, consultants, and other groups. 

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