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Estimating Commercial Truck VMT of Interstate Motor Carriers: Data Evaluation
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Estimating Commercial Truck VMT of Interstate Motor Carriers: Data Evaluation
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    The objectives of this study were to document and evaluate existing data sources and procedures that estimate the VMT (vehicle miles traveled) of commercial vehicles operating in interstate commerce; to recommend and develop the best procedures that will produce reliable and cost-effective estimates to meet Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) policy analysis requirements; and to implement, test, and document the procedures. Six data sources were evaluated for their ability to estimate how many commercial trucks operate in interstate commerce and their VMT by carrier type and by state. The six data sources are: (1) Truck Inventory and Use Survey (TIUS) from the Bureau of the Census; (2) Nationwide Truck Activity and Commodity Survey (NTACS) from the Bureau of the Census; (3) National Truck Trip Information Survey (NTTIS) from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute; (4) Highway Performance Monitoring System (HPMS) from the Department of Transportation's FHWA; (5) state fuel tax reports from each individual state and the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA); and (6) International Registration Plan (IRP) of the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators. The following obstacles to synthesizing different data sources were identified: (1) presently incomplete or insufficient information at the state level; (2) data sources that are incompatible in many areas, which limits efforts to bring together the strengths from different sources; and (3) unavailable results from the 1987 TIUS. NTACS has not been implemented, and state fuel tax (or IFTA) and IRP are not readily obtainable. Because none of the currently existing data sources can meet the estimation needs, a useful study in the future would assess the cost-effectiveness of extending one or more data sources (e.g., placing extra burden on the respondents by adding two questions to the TIUS or NTACS) so that estimates can be obtained with a desirable degree of accuracy.
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