Synthesis of Information Related to Highway Problems. Topic 42-02. The Use and Application of the Census Bureau's Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS) by States and Metropolitan Planning Organizations

The Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS) data series produced by the Census Bureau is increasingly becoming a critical source of data for the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) and State transportation planning community. For example, more and more MPOs are experimenting with the PUMS data in developing population synthesizers to support their travel forecasting models while others have used it for policy studies dealing with the transportation needs of special populations like the elderly, those in group quarters and the disabled. There is an abundance of information on what PUMS is and where to get the raw data, yet very little is known about who is using it, and what they are using it for. What is known about its use is hard to find and not well documented, making it difficult to learn from each other or help those responsible for designing usable data products for the transportation community. Compounding this information void, a recent change to the American Community Survey from the Census Long Form Survey has introduced new methodological issues and concerns that are not well understood. The purpose of this synthesis is to discover who are the transportation users of the PUMS data, to document the extent and purposes of their use, and to identify any data issues encountered. Through this effort best practices should be identified and documented along with any common approaches for solving common problems. Closing out the synthesis will be recommendations for research to improve use of the PUMS data by the transportation community. Information for the study will be gathered by literature review, a survey of MPOs and state transportation agencies, and personal follow-up with the agencies. Illustrative case studies will be developed to illustrate how individual agencies are using PUMS data. These may include situations where difficulties were encountered.


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  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $35000.00
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 20-05, Topic

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

    444 North Capitol Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Synthesis

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC    20001
  • Project Managers:

    Williams, Jon

  • Performing Organizations:

    Transportation Research Board

    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Start Date: 20100701
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • Source Data: RiP Project 26240

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01463954
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: National Cooperative Highway Research Program
  • Contract Numbers: Project 20-05, Topic
  • Files: TRB, RiP, USDOT
  • Created Date: Jan 3 2013 2:33PM