Bureau of Transportation Statistics: Ongoing Projects and New and Updated GIS Datasets

Authors: Kyle Titlow*, Bureau of Transportation Statistics
Topics: Transportation Geography, United States, Geographic Information Science and Systems
Keywords: transportation, USDOT, GIS, GPS, probe, trucks, aviation, airlines, ships, AIS, COVID19, noise pollution, infrastructure
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/9/2021
Start / End Time: 1:30 PM / 2:45 PM
Room: Virtual 21
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), part of the Department of Transportation (DOT), is the Principal Federal Statistical Agency that provides objective, comprehensive, and relevant information on the extent and use of the nation’s transportation system, how well the system performs, and the effects of the system on society and the environment. I will discuss several geospatial analytical projects that BTS is undertaking to achieve these mandates and collect, compile, analyze, publish, and map national transportation information in a more timely, efficient manner.

I will primarily highlight work with GPS probe position data from three modes of transportation (trucks, ships, and aircraft), emphasizing methods, challenges, and next steps. Truck data are used to quantify truck processing efficiency at container ports, visualize trucking national trucking corridors, learn origins and destinations of trucks crossing U.S. borders, and measure trucking activity at industrial centers. Ship data are used to measure port congestion and vessel dwell times and analyze spatiotemporal trends in U.S. cruise ship movements. Aircraft data will enhance estimates of the distances flown by airliners between freight-strategic city pairs.

I will also showcase the National Transportation Atlas Database (NTAD), BTS’ repository of geographic information system layers, highlighting its newest additions and updates and soliciting user feedback on current and/or future layers. I will finish by listing other BTS data products of interest to geographers: (1) transportation impacts of COVID-19, (2) transportation noise pollution data, (3) transportation infrastructure profiles of US counties and congressional districts, and (4) digitization of historic USDOT data files.

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