Jack- Can you send a letter or email to FTA with your comments. They are looking for support to forward to the Census Bureau. Ken Cervenka, who works for Jim Ryan is the contact. Thanks, Tom
Sorry for the belated reply! I find myself pretty much in agreement with you as to the appropriate wording; and also, at least for this region, including light rail with streetcar and trolley seems the best choice if there can't be any change in the number of modes.
Thanks for including us
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Ken- Thanks for sending me an update. Here are my views on this.
I totally agree with the first two descriptions. Keeping light rail, streetcar or trolley together makes sense and puts light rail on the ACS survey, unlike the problems today as I had indicted earlier where I have seen in areas with new LRT service in New Jersey many respondents are checking “Other”, because there is no Light Rail option. Trolley is just not significant enough to warrant a separate section, and in a few cases it integrates or operates with LRT. If a new trolley like in Washington DC is put in, you will be able to differentiate trolley since there are no other choices like that.
Same with Rail: subway or elevated, this is OK.
I do have a major problem with the last one, Rail: long distance commuter service. When I first read this, I though AMTRAK or a long distance train. Since the NY area probably has about 2/3 of the commuter rail ridership in the US, I think many people will think this refers to AMTRAK, and will not check this, and probably check “Other”. This needs to be re-worded. Most commuter rail riders do not think of themselves as long distance. In fact, many of our commuter rail riders are relatively short distance, with average trip lengths of about 20-25 miles. I also think getting rid of the word railroad is a problem. In fact, both commuter railroad and true long distance or intercity rail is still an actual railroad with multiple cars pulled by an engine or self-propelled cars. I am going to send this to a few others in both New Jersey, New York and Conn. to see what they think of this, but I suspect they will have the same reaction. Here is an alternative wording, which is close to what you have but makes a difference:
Rail: Commuter or long distance railroad or
Rail: Commuter or long-distance railroad service.
By putting “commuter” first, it is clear this is a commuter service, with distance not an issue, and long distance rail is secondary or another option. Having long distance first confuses the issue. Also, by putting the word “railroad” into the response, it is clear this is a railroad service, not something else. Also, keeping the word railroad links it to the previous description in the census going back to 1970, so people are clear this is a railroad service and historic data and meanings continue over time. I think this proposed change makes it clear that distance is not an issue, and commuter railroad or long distance railroad is the mode. Let me know what you and others think, but I think this relatively minor change in wording order and one word makes this clearer.
Sr. Director Forecasting and Research
New Jersey Transit
Hello Tom and all,
Agencies must send justification for proposed revisions or new content to OMB and the Census Bureau by June 14, 2013. The intent is for U.S. DOT (via BTS) to formally submit the “please include light rail” request. Based on various discussions that have taken place (particularly those on this listserv), here are the (current) proposed modifications to the three rail transit categories in the Means of Transportation Question 31 (with all other modal groups to be unchanged):
__ Rail: light rail, streetcar, or trolley (a change from the current “Streetcar or trolley car”)
__ Rail: subway or elevated (a change from the current “Subway or elevated”)
__ Rail: long-distance commuter service (a change from the current “Railroad”)
Assuming OMB approves a “cognitive testing” program, the exact wording of whatever eventually goes “final” will of course depend on the test results. I sure don’t want to stretch this out to the point of missing the June 14 deadline, but it may be useful to subject this to another round of public vetting on the CTPP listserv. So: what do you all think?
FTA Office of Planning and Environment
Penelope- I found this email from a few months ago, and would like to let you know that NJT uses CTPP 3 year data to show broad county to county flows for Trans-Hudson transit planning. We used the 2006-08 data to show trends since 2000 in where commuting to Manhattan and other key areas has changed. We also saw that there was a shift to bus and rail commuting, vs. auto for this market in most counties. The 3 year is helpful for understanding broad trends, and specific changes. I noticed with the 5 year flow data at the county level that we saw changes related to the Great Recession. Since the 5 year data has the 3 year data imbedded as part of the 5 year data, I have looked at the difference between the 5 year and 3 year data to surmise changes between 2008 and 2010. I know statistically this may not be totally accurate, but we have seen a drop in total work trips from some counties from the 3 year to the 5 year data, and some increases in others. The numbers made sense because close in, more urban counties still increased the number of work trips to Manhattan, while mostly further out areas which were hit hard in the recession by defaults, and aging population showed a decline compared to 3 year data, but still an increase compared to 2000.
The new procedure to make CTPP continue as a research project is a good one. Also I am happy to see Light Rail will be tested for inclusion in the Census. I brought this up back in 2007/2008 with Elaine Murakami of FHWA who was supportive, but we could not get FTA interested. I had and extensive conversation and email exchange with FTA on this issue (Ken Cervanka), and was involved in an online debate on this. My understanding is that the census will not allow an increase in the number of modes, but will allow Light Rail to be added. The issue was how do you classify all of the other modes, and my point was that railroad should be changed to commuter or regional rail (including Intercity), then there was bus; Light rail , Trolley, or streetcar; subway or elevated; and then Ferry I believe. Can you tell me of the status of when Light Rail will be tested, and also how it will be shown, as a separate mode, or with trolley or streetcar (which is where it belongs in my opinion). Some of the federal types wanted streetcar as a separate mode, which I did not believe made sense given its small amount of ridership, and also the fact that its more like light rail and Light Rail is much bigger in usage. Thanks for any information you can provide.
Senior Director, Forecasting and Research
NJ Transit, Newark, NJ
As Liang said, the next CTPP is due in mid 2013. It will be based on five year ACS from 2006 – 2010 and include small area data.
In answer to the larger question; the CTPP program at AASHTO was recently transformed to an ongoing technical services program. As you rightly point out, this follows the change at CB to an ongoing survey methodology. The CTPP is historically user directed and wishes to continue to be so. So I have two things to throw out there:
One, please share the value of the program with your decision makers – when we come for funding, help them get to yes!
Two, please let me know how you have used the three year data and if it is useful to have along with the planned five year data – the difference between the sets is the three year is more frequent, while the five year covers all geography.
Penelope Z. Weinberger
CTPP Program Manager
Is there any information about production of the CTTP or the county-to-county commuting flows more than once every ten years? Since they are based on the annual ACS there is an opportunity for more frequent updates than in the past. What are the current plans?
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