Data Analysis and Program Support to FHWA’s NHTS

Since its inception in 1969, the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA’s) National Household Travel Survey (NHTS) has been the authoritative U.S. travel survey, providing extensive information about passenger daily travel and serving the transportation community with travel characteristics that measure time of travel, distance, mode choice, and trip purpose, among others. It also links travel-related information to demographic, geographic, and economic data to understand complex travel behavioral issues. The richness of the NHTS data helps support policy decisions and planning efforts.

MacroSys has a long history with the NHTS, having supported more than a dozen NHTS-related projects since the early 1990s through contracts with FHWA and the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Our team of internationally recognized researchers and analysts, including Dr. Stacey Bricka, provides unparalleled insight into the complexities of the NHTS and the needs of the NHTS community and its add-on partners. Dr. Bricka joined MacroSys in 2016, bringing with her over 30 years of experience in travel behavior research and analysis travel surveys, associated survey methods, and emerging technologies. Internationally, she is known for her innovative contributions to the state of the art in travel

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surveys, having managed or directed more than 100 surveys pertaining to travel behavior and transportation in general. She routinely advises agencies on various methodological and technological aspects of designing large-scale regional and statewide travel surveys and leveraging passive data products. Under our current contract supporting the NHTS program, our researchers, analysts, and subject-matter experts work to address critical policy questions regarding topics such as the use of transit, differences in travel based on employment status, travel for specific age groups and for specific trip purposes, and trends in attitudes regarding transportation-related topics. In addition, our team provides support with respect to the redesign of the NHTS program into the “NextGen NHTS,” a smaller and more frequent effort that includes both the core survey effort as well as the development of complimentary data products.

In preparation of publicly disseminating its findings, our researchers and analysts work in close partnership with our communications specialists in designing, writing, editing, and publishing materials, ensuring consistent branding for its extensive suite of documents created under this contract. To see some of the briefs and reports our team has created, visit https://nhts.ornl.gov/publications.

"The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) joined NHTS as an add-on State for the purpose of using the survey to primarily get trip rates for 14 metropolitan planning organization (MPO) travel demand models. Stacey was very instrumental, 1.from the survey design/geographical distribution of the survey, to assisting her clients in understanding the data. One of her shining moments in this regard was that the survey response rate in one of our MPOs was sluggish. Stacey contacted one of the local newspapers to explain about the survey and how it can benefit the community, which resulted in boosting the survey response rate to an acceptable level. While Stacey is laser-focused on the program’s ultimate goal, her attention to detail is the primary reason why the program is completed successfully."

– Habte Kassa, Technical Services & Air Quality Branch Chief, GDOT