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Chicago Area Transportation Survey (CATS) 1990 Household Travel Survey (ICPSR 34908)

Principal Investigator(s): Ghislandi, Anne, Chicago Area Transportation Study; Fijal, Alan, Chicago Area Transportation Study; Christopher, Ed, Chicago Area Transportation Study


The purpose of the 1990 Chicago Area Transportation Survey (CATS) was to survey households in the area surrounding Chicago to collect information on travel in the area. Respondents were asked to report detailed information regarding their travel, including trip locations, mode of transportation, trip start and end times, trip purpose, and trip activities. Demographic variables include gender, age, employment status, occupation, whether the respondent was a student, and income.

Series: Metropolitan Travel Behavior Survey Series

Access Notes

  • Data in this collection are available only to users at ICPSR member institutions. Please log in so we can determine if you are with a member institution and have access to these data files.


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Study Description


Ghislandi, Anne, Alan Fijal, and Ed Christopher. Chicago Area Transportation Survey (CATS) 1990 Household Travel Survey. ICPSR34908-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2013-11-01. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR34908.v1

Persistent URL: https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR34908.v1

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Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    automobile ownership, automobile use, automobiles, commuting (travel), driving habits, employment, household income, households, public transportation, transportation, travel, vehicles

Smallest Geographic Unit:    Latitude/longitude

Geographic Coverage:    Chicago, Illinois, United States

Time Period:   

  • 1988--1991 (4Q 1988 -- 4Q 1991)

Date of Collection:   

  • 1988--1991 (4Q 1988 -- 4Q 1991)

Unit of Observation:    individual, household

Universe:    Chicago area households from 1988 to 1991.

Data Type(s):    survey data

Data Collection Notes:

Originally, the data were comprised of three data files: (1) a Household File, (2) a Person File and (3) a Trip File. These three files were combined into one data file provided to ICPSR.

For additional information regarding the Chicago Area Transportation Study (CATS) 1990 Survey, please refer to the Metropolitan Travel Survey Archive Web site.


Study Purpose:    The purpose of the Chicago Area Transportation Survey was to provide information suitable for gaining an in-depth understanding of the activity and travel behavior of households and individuals within households. For additional information regarding the purpose of this study, please refer to the Original P.I. Documentation section of the ICPSR codebook.

Study Design:   

Under the scope of the project, the Chicago Area Transportation Study surveyed the region on a county-by-county basis with Chicago Central Business District and the remainder of Chicago being surveyed separately. Starting in 1988, nine separate surveys were planned and conducted over a period of four years. The remaining years of the effort were spent on preparing and packing the final database for public distribution.

The survey featured a self-administered mail-back questionnaire. The questionnaire was designed in a manner to allow the results to be adjusted and factored with 1990 census.

For further information regarding study design, please refer to the Original P.I. Documentation section of the ICPSR codebook.


The sampling frame was residential electric meters (addresses) supplied by Commonwealth Edison. For areas where Commonwealth Edison addresses were not available, residential addresses were obtained from other sources. These included reverse telephone directories and municipal government files.

For further information regarding sampling, please refer to the Original P.I. Documentation section of the ICPSR codebook.

Time Method:    Cross-sectional

Weight:    There is one variable in the data file called WGT (Weight). This is the adjustment factor that must be applied to the record to make it reflect the characteristics of the population. Population totals are the product of the Decennial Census Counts. The factors in this field were developed after performing an adjustment to correct for potential bias in the sample.

Mode of Data Collection:    mail questionnaire, telephone interview

Description of Variables:    Specifically, the questionnaire collected two types of data: census variables such as the number of persons per household, age, vehicle availability, sex, employment status, occupation and income; and transportation related variables including trip origin and destination, trip purpose, travel time, mode of travel used, vehicle occupancy, and walking distance if transit modes were involved.

Response Rates:    The response rate for the study was 24 percent.

Extent of Processing:   ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.


Original ICPSR Release:   2013-11-01



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