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Federal Survey Will Help Shape Transportation Plans
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This year, Caltrans and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) are asking thousands of Californians how they get around. Surveys are being distributed now through April 2017 and Caltrans is asking the public to take part and help plan for future transportation needs.

“The data from this survey helps us build a complete picture of how, when and why we travel in our daily lives,” said Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty. “This information helps policymakers and transportation planners decide how to best invest and spend transportation dollars, now and in the future.”

The National Household Travel Survey is a study conducted by the FHWA that provides characteristics of travelers, trip activities and travel habits. It is a nationwide survey mailed to randomly selected households. The year-long data collection effort will help Caltrans and the FHWA better understand and plan for the future of transportation.

This information is also used by air quality agencies to better understand how vehicles contribute to the types and amount of emissions. Improving air quality by reducing vehicle emissions is an important part of transportation planning and decision making. Learning about the public’s walking, biking, driving and public transit use will help planners understand the impact of travel on air quality and plan for policy and infrastructure improvements that would support more non-motorized trips to reduce carbon emissions.

Selected households that participate in the survey will be assigned a specific “travel day.” On the assigned day, every member of the household will keep track of all the trips they take – whether by car, public transit, walking or biking. The household will submit the results of their travel log online or by phone, a process that takes about 25 minutes.

This important survey is conducted every five to seven years by the U.S. Department of Transportation and Caltrans has joined FHWA to include additional survey questions related to transportation issues specific to California. Caltrans and the FHWA have put in place numerous safeguards to ensure that all personal information and survey data is kept secure, and all information collected will be used for travel data analysis and research purposes only.

For more information about the National Household Travel Survey, visit