Tell The Census Bureau How Important Biking/Walking Questions Are On The American Community Survey

This is a re-blog from
Data about how we get around town is really important for biking and walking advocacy.
Every year, the U.S. Census' American Community Survey releases a bundle of data about how people get to work. We focus intently on this question because it gives us an estimation of how many people regularly walk and bike to work. Without Census data on work trips, we would have a hard time making the case for better biking and walking. Without this information, it would be impossible to measure bicycling and walking in the United States in our biennial Benchmarking Report.  
That's why it's important to let the Census Bureau know just how important the biking and walking question is on the American Community Survey.  
Here's how you can help:
  1. Click here to comment in the Census' content review process.
  2. Click "See All Economic Topics," then click Journey to Work.
  3. Check the box next to "How did this person usually get to work last week?" 
  4. Scroll down and click "Next Step"
  5. Answer the questions on this next page. You could write your own answers, or borrow from us:

    a. Please tell us how you use the information from this question.This data from this question are essential to having consistent, reliable information about how people get to work. Without the data from this question, we would have no way of knowing how many people and where people walk and bike to work. Biking and walking trends have consistently proven useful as key safety and public health indicators. Information from this question is absolutely crucial to needs for non-motorized transportation infrastructure, travel demand, and policies. Moreover, these data are not readily available from other sources on a reliable basis. Without this information, citizens would be unable to estimate the rate of bicycling and walking to work, the growth of bicycling and walking to work, and the relative safety of bicycling and walking to work in their states and communities.

    b. The American Community Survey might not be the only source for this information. Is there another source that you use?

    c. If yes, is the American Community Survey your primary source for this information? 

    d. If yes, please tell us why the American Community Survey is your primary source for this information.It is possible to collect travel data from The National Household Travel Survey, which has occurred irregularly since 1983. This survey does provide more comprehensive data on the use of biking and walking for travel and transportation. However, it last occurred in 2009 and the next version will occur in 2015. It is not a substitute for the annual data produced by the American Community Survey.

    In addition, numerous local governments, agencies, and private organizations produce bicycle and pedestrian counts of varying consistency. But without a national standard for these data, it is impossible to compare counts across the United States. For this reason, the American Community Survey is the best and most consistent source for national and local data on bicycling and walking.

    3) Please tell us if you have any additional comments about any of the questions on the American Community Survey that you use.Because not everyone gets to work by just one mode of travel, it would be very useful for the American Community Survey to ask whether people use multiple modes to get to work or use more than one mode of travel to get to work most weeks. Data on the use of multiple modes to get to work would provide a more accurate snapshot of Americans' transportation choices and would help measure the success of multimodal infrastructure and projects. 
  6. Click submit.

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