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American Community Survey

Census.govAmerican Community Survey › About the Survey: About the American Community SurveyQuestions on the form and why we ask › Place of Work / Journey to Work Questions
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Place of Work / Journey to Work Questions

Questions on the form include:

At what location did this person work last week? How did this person usually get to work last week? How many people, including this person, usually rode to work in the car, truck or van last week? What time did this person usually leave home to go to work last week? How many minutes did it usually take this person to get from home to work last week?

Why we ask questions on this topic

image of car representing commuting to work

We ask these questions to generate basic information about commuting patterns. The statistics are used by metropolitan planning organizations to design programs that ease traffic problems, reduce congestion and promote carpooling. Public transit agencies use the statistics to identify areas that need transit service, and police and fire departments use the statistics to plan for emergency services in areas where many people work.

Download pdf version for printingDownload the FactSheet: Place of Work and Journey to Work
Covering Questions 31 - 34 in the "persons" section of the form, or continue reading below.

The commuting data are essential for planning highway improvements and developing public transportation services...

Meeting Federal Needs

Basic knowledge about commuting patterns and the characteristics of commuter travel come from responses to these questions. The commuting data are essential for planning highway improvements and developing public transportation services, as well as for designing programs to ease traffic problems during peak periods, conserve energy, reduce pollution, and estimate and project the demand for alternative-fueled vehicles. These data are required to develop standards for reducing work-related vehicle trips and increasing passenger occupancy during peak periods of travel.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) plans to use county-level data in computing gross commuting flows to develop place-of-residence earnings estimates from place of work estimates by industry. In addition, BEA also plans to use these data for state personal income estimates for determining federal fund allocations.

Community Benefits


These data form the database used by state departments of transportation and the more than 350 metropolitan planning organizations responsible for comprehensive transportation planning activities.

Metropolitan planning organizations use these data to manage traffic congestion and develop strategies to mitigate congestion, such as carpooling programs and flexible work schedules.

Public transit agencies use these data to plan for transit investments, identify areas needing better transit service, determine the most efficient routes, and plan for services for disabled persons.

Emergency Preparedness

Police and fire departments use data about where people work to plan emergency services in areas of high concentrations of employment.


Data are used to identify patterns of discrimination in hiring among minorities and other population groups within labor markets.


Financial institutions use data about commuting patterns and occupation to define market areas for describing lending practices and the effects of bank mergers.

Thank you for your time and effort. It makes a difference!

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | American Community Survey Office | Email ACS | Last Revised: December 04, 2014
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