Traffic Data

# Overview

# Parent Page (opens new window)

# Contributors

Patrick Zhang, FHWA Office of Highway Policy Information

Wenjing Pu, FHWA Office of Highway Policy Information

Gehan Elsayed, Traffic Modeling & Analysis Unit Leader, West Virginia DOT

Section Category Item Summary and Further Information
Data Performance Highway Performance Network Use, purpose, further cross references on TFResource or elsewhere?
Data Traffic Trends Monthly Traffic Trends Valuable information about VMT changes by month on all US public roads. Used in traffic and safety analysis, planning/transportation studies/ statistics and others.
Data Planning (a source that would be used for planning) Example
Tools Policy Analysis EERPAT Intended to evaluate transportation energy use and emissions, depends on XYZ data and working together with ABC platforms/tools/datasets to improve the EERPAT tool.

# Data

Traffic data are collected by state DOTs, MPOS, cities, consultants and others to support traffic monitoring programs, provide information for planning, programing, capacity, congestion analysis, traffic forecasting, modeling, maintenance, design, operations, safety analysis, environmental analysis, project evaluation and others. Federal, State, MPO’s, and local agencies rely on traffic counts data mainly AADT values for a very wide variety of programs and projects. In practice, agencies use both long term continuous count and short term portable count programs to estimate AADT. Traffic data generally include, but are not limited to:

  1. Volume counts
  2. Classification counts
  3. Weight data
  4. Speed data

Some of the information are available for public use, while other information is only available only for state DOTs and hence requires access permission.

# Highway Performance Network

The Highway Performance Network ( (opens new window)) is a geospatially conflated network based on FHWA's 2013 Highway Performance Monitoring System (HPMS) network and the 2015 National Performance Management Research Data Set (NPMRDS) network. Through spatial integration, all Traffic Message Channel (TMC) data contained in the NPMRDS data are transferred to the 2013 HPMS network. The goal and objective of this effort is to enable more in-depth analysis of travel time data along with capacity data and other publically defined data items such as the federally defined highway functional classification criteria and urban code. State highway agencies can take advantage of what have been accomplished here for the integration of NPMRDS data to their native HPMS system through relatively simple geospatial tagging procedure.

FHWA intends to update this Performance Network periodically to reflect the latest changes in the HPMS and NPMRDS networks.

# U.S. Traffic Volume Data- Travel Monitoring Analysis System (TMAS) (access permission needed from FHWA) (opens new window) State highway agencies collect traffic volume data through both temporary traffic counting and continuous traffic counting programs and report their continuous counting data to FHWA on a monthly basis. Data listed here are reported by states following data format prescribed in FHWA's 2001 Traffic Monitoring Guide located at (opens new window).

Data include volume counts, class counts, weight and traffic growth factors. Reports can be exported in Pdf, excel worksheet, word and other formats. Also, TVT reports are available within TMAS for each state in both pdfs and excel sheets. (opens new window)

Traffic Volume Trends are monthly reports provided by FHWA.

Traffic Volume Trends ( (opens new window)) is a monthly report based on hourly traffic count data reported by the states. TVT reports vehicle miles traveled (VMT) on all U.S. public roads on a monthly basis. VMT change rates are also reported. The geography is done by individual state. Data are based on the Highway Performance Monitoring System (HPMS) and on data submitted to the FHWA by state highway agencies throughout the entire U.S. The state highway agencies collect the data through permanent automatic traffic recorders (ATR) on public roadways. These data are collected at approximately 4,000 continuous traffic counting locations nationwide and are used to estimate the percent change in traffic for the current month compared with the same month in the previous year. Estimates are re-adjusted annually to match the vehicle miles of travel from the Highway Performance Monitoring System and are continually updated with additional data.

An update could be provided when a new TVT report is posted on the website by subscribing to the website.

# U.S. Traffic Monitoring Location Data

The U.S. Traffic Monitoring Location Data ( (opens new window)) is maintained by FHWA. State highway and transportation agencies build, operate and maintain a system of traffic count stations to monitor roadway usage by obtaining vehicle volume, vehicle class, and vehicle weight information. These traffic monitoring stations can be either permanent or temporary (portable). Permanent traffic monitoring stations operate on a continuous basis throughout the year. Permanent stations are also referred to as continuous count stations. Temporary (portable) or short duration count stations refer to these locations where traffic counting is carried out over less than a full year. Often, short duration portable count time is 48 or 72 hours.

# National Long Distance Passenger Origin-Destination

The Traveler Analysis Framework (TAF) ( (opens new window)) is the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) first attempt at estimating long distance passenger travel. For this effort, FHWA defines long distance passenger travel as trips greater than 100 miles by various modes (highway (automobile and bus), air, and rail). The TAF integrates data from a variety of sources to create a comprehensive set of trip tables for long distance passenger movements at the county (or equivalent) to county (or equivalent) level. The TAF provides person trip flow for the base year of 2008 and the future year 2040. These preliminary or “beta-version” data are deemed to be the starting point for any organization to use for their analysis. FHWA requests that data users only use the data as the starting point and proceed with enhancement. FHWA also requests that users share your enhancement techniques and results with FHWA. FHWA plans to improve and enhance these data in the future, and user feedback will greatly assist FHWA with that effort.

# Intercity Bus Ridership Data

Intercity bus ridership estimates for the year 2008 ( (opens new window)) were developed as part of FHWA’s Traffic Analysis Framework (TAF) Multimodal Interregional Passenger Travel Origin-Destination Data project. Those estimates were based on extrapolations from the 1995 American Travel Survey. However, the intercity bus market changed considerably in the interval between 1995 and 2008 (and has continued to change since 2008), and simple extrapolations apparently did not capture the full extent of those changes.

Fortunately, there are several other types of data that, together, can be used to provide current, refined estimates of bus ridership. This project developed and applied an approach that can be used to more reliably estimate, and annually update, intercity bus ridership volumes based on empirical observations of the number of bus services actually operated. The specific datasets that the project used include existing GTFS data for intercity bus services, additional Intercity bus schedule data from Russell’s Guide and other carrier schedules converted to GTFS format, survey data from the 2014 Northeast Corridor traveler survey describing intercity bus travel in the Northeast (and in particular in the corridor from Boston to New York to Washington, DC), and TAF long distance trip table data that was used to define the top 200 metro-pairs in terms of long distance travel for this analysis.

The final product of this project is improved current (2014) and 2040 estimates of scheduled intercity bus ridership for the top 200 U.S. intercity travel markets. This is provided in the form of a complete spreadsheet containing the top 200 markets, their bus service, and estimated ridership for 2014 and 2040.

# Monthly Motor Fuel Reported by States

On a monthly basis, each State is required to report to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the amount of gallons taxed by that state. This data is analyzed and compiled by FHWA staff ( (opens new window)). The data on the amount of on-highway fuel use for each State is then used to attribute federal revenue to each State. Yearly, the FHWA, Office of Policy, provides data from the previous year's data for use in the attribution process. The previous year data is used to provide States added time to review, allowing them to verify that the data report is correct and ready to be used in attribution.

# Highway Statistics Series

The Highway Statistics Series ( (opens new window)) consists of annual reports containing analyzed statistical information on motor fuel, motor vehicle registrations, driver licenses, highway user taxation, highway mileage, travel, and highway finance. These information are presented in tables as well as selected charts. It has been published annually since 1945.

# National Household Travel Survey (NHTS)

The National Household Travel Survey (NHTS) ( (opens new window)) is a periodic national survey used to assist transportation planners and policy makers who need comprehensive data on travel and transportation patterns in the United States. The 2017 survey, data along with historical data, are now available at the NHTS website (

# Highway Performance Monitoring System (HPMS)

The HPMS ( (opens new window) or (opens new window) - public/access permission required) is a national level highway information system that includes data on the extent, condition, performance, use and operating characteristics of the nation's highways. HPMS data is useful for finding vehicle miles traveled by road functional class for each state, average annual daily traffic (AADT) and vehicle classification data. The HPMS contains administrative and extent of system information on all public roads, while information on other characteristics is represented in HPMS as a mix of universe and sample data for arterial and collector functional systems. Limited information on travel and paved miles is included in summary form for the lowest functional systems.

HPMS was developed in 1978 as a continuing database, replacing the special biennial condition studies that had been conducted since 1965. The HPMS has been modified several times since its inception. Changes have been made to reflect changes in the highway systems, legislation, and national priorities, to reflect new technology, and to consolidate or streamline reporting requirements.

# HPMS Public Release of Geospatial Data in Shapefile Format

HPMS Public Release Shapefiles ( (opens new window)) spatially represent limited data from the Highway Performance Monitoring System (HPMS) for 2011-2015 data years. A preliminary dataset for 2015 is also provided and available for research.

# Highway Finance Data

The Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) comprehensive highway finance information collection effort ( (opens new window)) includes an extensive amount of input on Federal, State, and local governments financing of highways.

The Congress recognized the need for highway finance information to support highway policy development, and as early as 1904, the Federal government began inquiring about highway taxation, sources of revenue for highways, and highway expenditures. The role of the Federal government in highway transportation has changed greatly, but its role in assembling highway finance and related data has continued. As highway agencies and highway programs change and evolve, FHWA continues to revise and enhance its data collection program.

Highway finance information is used by FHWA in providing information and analysis in support of the Federal Highway Program's reauthorization; the development of the proposed legislation and reports to Congress; evaluating the extent, performance, condition, and use of the Nation's transportation systems; analyzing existing and proposed Federal-aid funding methods and levels; the assignment of user-cost responsibility; and the evaluation of Federal State and Local highway programs.

# Long Term Pavement Performance Program (LTPP)

LTPP traffic data are collected by the States/Provinces and submitted to the LTPP Regional Offices ( (opens new window)). The Central Traffic Database (CTDB) contains the raw data collected by the States/Provinces as well as summarized data. The Information Management System (IMS) contains traffic data which provide estimates of annual vehicle counts by vehicle classification and distribution of axle weight by axle type. The traffic tables store annual traffic summary statistics.

# Tools

# National Long Distance Passenger Travel Demand Modeling and Simulation

Under FHWA’s Exploratory Advanced Research program, the Office of Highway Policy Information has condicted a research effort ( (opens new window)) in revising analytical tools to analyze and evaluate regional and national significant corridors for passenger travel as related to both freight and local passenger movements. As a result of this exploratory research effort, a prototype functioning model was built. All project related reports and products are released to promote further exploration and adoption by organizations and businesses in pursuing statewide and regional travel modeling. The Office of Highway Policy Information will further test the model for potential policy scenario testing analysis usage.

# Energy and Emissions Reduction Policy Analysis Tool (EERPAT)

EERPAT is an integrated, State-level modeling system designed specifically for evaluating transportation energy use and emissions. The tool has been successfully used by several transportation agencies to analyze the impacts of strategies related to vehicle technology and powertrain, travel demand, system efficiency, and transportation fuels.

# State DOT websites

Most state DOTS ( (opens new window)) provide online databases for their traffic data with a rich amount of information, including traffic volume maps, traffic trends, traffic data through GIS sites and online servers with user friendly search tools.

# Trends

# References

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