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Guide to Transportation Planning Data Sources

This is a guide to an array of transportation planning data sources of interest to the VTRC Transportation Planning Research Advisory Committee (TPRAC).

Woods & Poole

Woods & Poole Economics, Inc. is an experienced independent firm that specializes in long-term county economic and demographic projections. Woods & Poole's database for U.S. counties contains projections through 2050 for more than 900 variables. Each year Woods & Poole updates the projections with new historical data. The data and projections are sold in spreadsheet files by Download, E-Mail, on DVD and CD-ROM as well as in printed books. Woods & Poole has been making county projections since 1983. Users of Woods & Poole data include public utilities, state and local government, consultants, retailers, market research firms and planners.

Data of interest to TPRAC: Economic and Demographic projections

Weldon Cooper Center (UVA)

The University of Virginia's Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service is a research and training organization focused on the Commonwealth of Virginia. The Center provides objective information, data, applied research, technical assistance, and practical training to state and local officials, community leaders, and members of the general public.

The Cooper Center's 60-member staff includes experts in public management, demography, economics and public finance, political science, leadership and organizational development, workforce issues, and survey research.

Data of interest to TPRAC:National, State, jurisdictional population estimates and projections

Census Bureau TIGER Products

Census Bureau logo

TIGER = Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing

TIGER products are spatial extracts from the Census Bureau's MAF/TIGER database, containing features such as roads, railroads, rivers, as well as legal and statistical geographic areas. The Census Bureau offers several file types and an online mapping application.

Data of interest to TPRAC: Census data, maps, shapefiles

Census Bureau Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics (LEHD)

Census Bureau logo

LEHD makes available several data products that may be used to research and characterize workforce dynamics for specific groups. These data products include online applications, public-use data, and restricted-use microdata. The Quarterly Workforce Indicators (QWI) and LEHD Origin-Destination Employment Statistics (LODES) data are available online for public use.

Data of interest to TPRAC: Workforce indicators and origin-destination employment stats

Census Bureau (ACS)

Census bureau logo

The American Community Survey (ACS) helps local officials, community leaders, and businesses understand the changes taking place in their communities. It is the premier source for detailed population and housing information about our nation.

The American Community Survey (ACS) is an ongoing survey that provides vital information on a yearly basis about our nation and its people. Information from the survey generates data that help determine how more than $675 billion in federal and state funds are distributed each year.

Through the ACS, we know more about jobs and occupations, educational attainment, veterans, whether people own or rent their homes, and other topics. Public officials, planners, and entrepreneurs use this information to assess the past and plan the future. When you respond to the ACS, you are doing your part to help your community plan for hospitals and schools, support school lunch programs, improve emergency services, build bridges, and inform businesses looking to add jobs and expand to new markets, and more.

Data of interest to TPRAC: Community surveys and statistics (O-D, auto ownership, mode choice)


NHTS logo

The NHTS data are used primarily for gaining a better understanding of travel behavior. The data enable DOT officials to assess program initiatives, review programs and policies, study current mobility issues, and plan for the future.

The NHTS is a tool in the urban transportation planning process; it provides data on personal travel behavior, trends in travel over time, trip generation rates, national data to use as a benchmark in reviewing local data, and data for various other planning and modeling applications.

The transportation research community, including academics, consultants and government, use the NHTS extensively to examine:

  • travel behavior at the individual and household level;
  • the characteristics of travel, such as trip chaining, use of the various modes, amount and purpose of travel by time of day and day of week, vehicle occupancy, and a host of other attributes;
  • the relationship between demographics and travel; and
  • the public's perceptions of the transportation system.

Data of interest to TPRAC: Household travel survey datasets 


BTS Logo

As the independent statistical agency within the Department of Transportation (DOT), the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) is a politically objective supplier of trusted and statistically sound baseline, contextual, and trend information used to shape transportation policy, investments, and research across the U.S. and abroad. BTS is the preeminent source of statistics on commercial aviation, multimodal freight, and transportation economics.

Data of interest to TPRAC: Statistics on commercial aviation, multimodal freight, and transportation economics​


CTPP logo

The CTPP is a set of special tabulations designed by transportation planners using large sample surveys conducted by the Census Bureau. From 1970 to 2000, the CTPP and its predecessor, UTPP, used data from the decennial census long form. The decennial census long form has now been replaced with a continuous survey called the American Community Survey (ACS). Therefore, the CTPP now uses the ACS sample for the special tabulation.

Data of interest to TPRAC: Sets of tabulations by transportation planners using large sample surveys from the Census Bureau

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