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Public Transportation Data in the American Community Survey (ACS) and Census Transportation Planning Products (CTPP). Dec 3, 2009 AASHTO Standing Committee on Public Transportation and Multi-State Technical Assistance Program Winter Meeting Melissa Chiu, CTPP Coordinator

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Public Transportation Data in the American Community Survey (ACS) and Census Transportation Planning Products (CTPP)

Dec 3, 2009

AASHTO Standing Committee on Public Transportation

and Multi-State Technical Assistance Program

Winter Meeting

Melissa Chiu, CTPP Coordinator

Journey-to-Work and Migration Statistics Branch

Housing and Household Economic Statistics Division

U.S. Census Bureau

Transition to the american community survey
Transition to the American Community Survey

  • The 2010 Census will not ask journey-to-work information

  • Census “long form” information is now asked on the American Community Survey (ACS)

    Large, continuous demographic survey

    Produces characteristics, not a population count

    Produces annually updated single-year and multi-year estimates of the characteristics of the population and housing

    Produces information for small areas including tracts, block groups and population subgroups - updated every year

How does the sample compare
How Does the Sample Compare?

  • Timing

    ACS samples every year and spreads sample over 12 months

    Census samples once a decade and uses the entire sample at the same time

  • Follow-up

    ACS subsamples for personal visit follow-up

    Court ruled against census subsampling

  • Sample size

    ACS 5-year estimates based on about 11 million housing units

    Census sample estimates based on about 18 million housing units

Acs data release schedule
ACS Data Release Schedule

Data products are released in the year following the single year or multiyear period in which data are collected.

Information about the american community survey

Subscribe to the

ACS Alert

Information about the American Community Survey

Means of transportation on the acs questionnaire
Means of Transportationon the ACS Questionnaire

  • Same as on Census 2000 long form

  • Q: How did this person usually get to work last week?

    Car, truck, or van Motorcycle

    Bus or trolley bus Bicycle

    Streetcar or trolley car Walked

    Subway or elevated Worked at home

    Railroad Other method



Other commuting information on the acs questionnaire
Other Commuting Informationon the ACS Questionnaire

  • Ridership for car, truck or van

    Report up to 99 people

    Census 2000: reporting topcoded at 7 or more

  • Time left home to go to work

    Hour and minute, time of day

  • Usual travel time to commute

    Report up to 999 minutes

  • Place of work

    Report street address, zip code

    Geocoded to block, if possible

Journey to work acs data products
Journey-to-Work ACS Data Products

  • Data products and prefixes

    B Base Detailed Table

    C Collapsed Detailed Table

    S Subject Table

    R Ranking Table (single-year only)

    GCT Geographic Comparison Table

    M Thematic Map

  • Commuting products are numbered “08”

    Example: B08xxx is a Base Table on commuting

Journey to work acs data products1
Journey-to-Work ACS Data Products

  • Detailed tables show univariate and crosstab frequencies and some summary statistics

  • Detailed table examples (B08xxx / C08xxx):

    Means of transportation by worker characteristics

    Travel time by time leaving home

    Place of work for metropolitan, micropolitan, and non-metro/micro levels

    Vehicles available in household

  • Majority of tables available at both

    residence geography (B081xx, B082xx, B083xx) &

    workplace geography (B084xx, B085xx, B086xx)

Journey to work acs data products2
Journey-to-Work ACS Data Products

  • Detail in means of transportation varies by table

    All 5 public transportation categories shown on univariate table and sex crosstab

    3 categories (bus, streetcar and subway, railroad and ferry) shown on travel time crosstab

    A single public transportation category shown on all other crosstabs of means of transportation

Journey to work acs data products3
Journey-to-Work ACS Data Products

  • Subject Tables based on same information as Detailed Tables but more user friendly format

  • Tables show distribution and summary of characteristics

  • Examples (S08xx):

    Commuting characteristics by sex (S0801)

    Characteristics by means of transportation to work (Public transportation grouped together)

    - at residence geography (S0802)

    - at workplace geography (S0804)

Journey to work acs data products4
Journey-to-Work ACS Data Products

  • Ranking Tables, Geographic Comparison Tables, and Thematic Maps all show data on five measures of commuting:

    Mean travel time to work (#01)

    Percent of workers who traveled to work …

    by car, truck, or van alone (#02)

    by carpool (#03)

    by public transportation (#04)

    Percent of workers who worked outside county of residence (#05)

  • Residence geography only

  • Ranking Tables rank states (R08xx)

    (single year data only)

Journey to work acs data products5
Journey-to-Work ACS Data Products

  • Geographic Comparison Tables allow comparison of more geographies on the same measures

  • Examples (GCT08xx):

    Mean travel time to work for all counties

    Percent of workers who traveled to work by public transportation for all places (cities)

    Percent of workers who worked outside county of residence by urban / rural, metropolitan and micropolitan area status

Journey to work acs data products6
Journey-to-Work ACS Data Products

  • Thematic Maps allow users to design maps on the same measures (M08xx)

  • Levels of geography available:



    Metropolitan/ micropolitan statistical area

    Congressional district

    Public Use Microdata Area (PUMA)

    Combined Statistical Area

  • Can determine…

    Data classes: number and breaks

    Boundaries and features

The census transportation planning products ctpp
The Census Transportation Planning Products (CTPP)

  • Special tabulation of commuting data

    Used Decennial Censuses since 1960

    Plans for using American Community Survey data (2006-2008) and (2006-2010)

  • Schedule

    2006-2008 3-year CTPP planned for release summer 2010

    TAZ Delineation program in spring/summer 2011

    2006-2010 5-year CTPP currently planned for summer 2012 release

Ctpp table structure
CTPP Table Structure

  • Part 1 Residence Geography

  • Part 2 Workplace Geography

  • Part 3 Home-to-Work Flows

  • Tables include …

  • characteristics of workers & households

    Vehicles available in household


  • characteristics of trips

    Means of transportation (Public transportation mostly in3categories: bus, streetcar and subway, railroad and ferry)

    Travel time

    Time leaving home

Ctpp resources
CTPP Resources

  • Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)

    Upcoming CTPP data products

    2000, 1990 CTPP data products

  • Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS)

    CTPP 2000, CTPP 1990 data download

  • Transportation Research Board


U s census bureau
U. S. Census Bureau

  • Melissa Chiu, CTPP Coordinator

  • Journey-to-Work & Migration Statistics Branch

  • Housing and Household Economic Statistics

  • 301-763-2421, -2454

  • [email protected]


Organization of acs data in the american factfinder aff
Organization of ACS Data in the American FactFinder (AFF)

  • 1. Datasets (ACS, Census)

  • 2. Data year(s)

  • 3-year data products are the default

  • 1-year and 3-year data products distinguished

  • 3. Data products

  • 4. Specific tables or maps

  • Assistance links highlighted

Data products american factfinder

Data Products- American FactFinder

Select dataset and product type

Organized by

dataset then by

data product

Select Dataset and Product Type

Select geography

Many ways to select geography

Geography is hierarchical:

First select type of geography,

then specific area.

Select Geography

Subject table example s08xx

Click “Data Sets” to

change data product

Print, download, save

or load a query






Subject Table- Example (S08xx)

Detailed table example b08xxx c08xxx

Select geo type, e.g.

urban, rural, metro,

principal city

Change to collapsed version

Can select multiple

areas for detailed


Can select multiple

detailed tables too

(scroll down)

Detailed Table- Example (B08xxx/C08xxx)

Detailed tables geo components down to state only

Download to get all


and tables at once

Click Next to see other

geographies selected

Detailed Tables- Geo Components(down to state only)

Ranking table example single year only

Can sort by rank or by state

Ranking Table- Example (single year only)

Geographic comparison table example gct08xx

Geographies or geo components

within nation or state only

Geographic Comparison Table- Example (GCT08xx)

Thematic map options
Thematic Map- Options

  • Statistical significance view

    Select a geography

    Displays all areas that are statistically significantly different from the selected geography

    Can save as .PDF file under “download” menu

Other options in american factfinder
Other Options in American Factfinder

  • Can create “Custom table” from the detailed tables

  • Data Download Center

  • Download selected ACS tables for all available geographies at one time

  • Can “Download PUMS data” file for microdata

Data download center
Data Download Center

  • Download large amounts of ACS data

  • Geographic units

  • Total U.S.

  • States

  • Counties

  • Places

  • CBSAs (Metro and Micro Areas)

  • Congressional Districts

  • All areas meeting minimum population threshold

Data download center1
Data Download Center

  • ACS Tables (Selected)

  • Base / Detailed tables

  • Data profiles

  • Subject tables

  • Choose up to 50 tables at one time

  • Download .zip file consisting of .txt files

  • README file

  • Geographic identifiers

  • Data- estimate and 90% MOE for each cell, all tables

  • Files pipe-delimited [ | ], can load in Excel

Data download center example

On American FactFinder …

Data Sets page on upper right

…or left side bar

Data Download Center- Example

Data download center example1

Select Dataset

Data Download Center- Example

Data download center example2

Select one



Select data product type

Data Download Center- Example

Data download center example3

Select up to 50 tables and ‘Add’

Click ‘Next’ to get to

‘Start Download’ then

download a .zip file

Data Download Center- Example

Data download center example4

.Zip file includes a

readme file on data values,

geographic identifiers, and

data file(s)

Open data file in Excel as

‘Delimited’ by pipe: |

Data Download Center- Example

Supplementary data options
Supplementary Data Options

  • Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS)


  • Census microdata, historical

  • National Historical Geographic Information System (NHGIS)


  • Aggregate census data, historical

  • Boundary files, historical