Nationwide Personal Transportation Survey Series

Investigator(s): United States Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration

The Nationwide Personal Transportation Survey (NPTS), sponsored by the United States Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, has been conducted periodically since 1969. Its stated purpose is to record an inventory of daily personal travel for individuals 5 years of age and older. Data for the 1969, 1977, and 1983 studies were collected by way of an in-home interview with respondents selected using a multistate probability sample of housing units. All states and the District of Columbia were included in the sample. Starting in 1990, data were collected using computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) technology with random-digit dialing sampling procedures. The 1969 survey elicited vehicle information on cars only, but subsequent waves also included personal trucks and vans, camper vehicles, motorcycles, and other vehicle types. The 1995 survey instituted changes in methodology that had a significant impact on the data, including data collection via a one-day travel diary and the use of a household trip roster. For this reason, analysts should not compare 1995 data directly with data from prior survey years. Major topical areas covered by this series include household data and demographic data, and information on household motor vehicles, the availability and usage of public transportation, household drivers, information on all trips taken in a 24-hour period, regardless of length, and on all trips taken during a 14-day period of 75 miles or more one-way, and information on the geographic area of the household and its members' workplaces. Potential uses of these data include uncovering travel trends over time, connecting travel behavior to traveler demographics and examining their relation over time, and assisting in the urban transportation planning process.