Long-Distance Travel

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A new survey provides state and metropolitan area data on America's long-distance travelers. Here are some of the highlights.

Travel and tourism account for a big chunk of the U.S. economy. But the data in this field have been lacking, because no one has measured the flow of travelers from one U.S. market to another since 1977. That's why the American Travel Survey (ATS) is important. It gives businesses a detailed portrait of state and local patterns in business and vacation travel, the first in two decades.

The Census Bureau, working for the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, interviewed 80,000 U.S. households in 1995 and 1996. They collected information from each household about all trips of 100 or more miles, then interviewed households to gather additional information about these trips, including the dates; origin points and destinations; side trips; the number of passengers in the party; 18 different modes of travel, from personal car to cruise ship; number of days spent away from home; lodging choices, from motel rooms to military dorms; and purpose of the trip, including business, shopping, visiting relatives, and relaxation, among others. The survey is scheduled to be taken again in 2000 and then every five years.

This month's Table Talk shows the number of in-state and out-of-state trips, and miles traveled, for each U.S. state in 1995. In the table below, a "trip" is a journey of 100 or more miles, both ways. A "person trip" refers to a trip taken by an individual, and "person miles" is an estimate of the aggregate distances traveled by all persons who took a trip. For example, if three persons from the same household go together on a 100-mile trip, the trip is counted as three person trips and generates 300 person-miles. "Personal-use vehicle miles" are the number of miles for trips in which the principal mode of transportation is a car, pickup truck, or other vehicle primarily for personal use.

Our table is an abridged version of data posted on the Bureau of Transportation Statistics' Internet site at http://www.bts.gov/programs/ats. Printed reports, along with more detailed results on CD-ROM, are available free from the Web site, or at 400 Seventh Street, SW, Washington, DC 20590; telephone (202) 366-3282, e-mail orders@bts.gov.

(number of person trips in thousands and person miles in millions for personal-use vehicles and commercial airplanes, and personal-use vehicle miles in millions, for U.S. states, 1995)

[DATA TABLE, see print edition]

Source: 1995 American Travel Survey, Bureau of Transportation Statistics

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