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June 22 -- The U.S. Census Bureau, Commerce Department, invites comments to OMB by July 20, 2022 regarding the Vehicle Inventory and Use Survey (VIUS).

The Census Bureau requests clearance of the forms that will be used to conduct the 2021 Vehicle Inventory and Use Survey (VIUS). Our sponsor for this joint statistical project is the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. The 2021 VIUS will collect data to measure the physical and operational characteristics of trucks from a sample of approximately 150,000 trucks. These trucks are selected from more than 190 million private and commercial trucks registered with motor vehicle departments in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The Census Bureau will collect the data for the sampled trucks from the registered truck owners.  We will publish physical and operational vehicle characteristics estimates for each state, the District of Columbia, and the United States.  A public-use file will be released that will contain unaggregated microdata information for each truck for which data are collected.  The records on the public-use file will be masked to avoid the disclosure of a sampled truck or owner.

The VIUS is the only comprehensive source of information on the physical and operational characteristics of the Nation’s truck population.  The VIUS provides unique, essential information for government, business, and academia. The U.S. Department of Transportation, State Departments of Transportation, and transportation consultants compliment VIUS microdata as extremely useful and flexible to meet constantly changing requests that cannot be met with predetermined tabular publications.  The planned microdata file will enable them to cross-tabulate data to meet their needs.

Federal, state, and local transportation agencies use information from the VIUS for the analysis of safety issues, proposed investments in new roads and technology, truck size and weight issues, user fees, cost allocation, energy and environmental constraints, hazardous materials transport, and other aspects of the Federal-aid highway program.  The Federal government uses information from the VIUS as an important part of the framework for: (1) the national investment and personal consumption expenditures component of the gross domestic product, (2) input-output tables, (3) economic development evaluation, (4) maintenance of vital statistics for prediction of future economic and transportation trends, (5) logistical requirements, (6) Metropolitan Planning Organization transportation development requirements, and (7) regulatory impact analysis.

Business and academia use information from the VIUS to assess intermodal use, conduct market studies and evaluate market strategies, assess the utility and cost of certain types of equipment, and calculate the longevity of products.  VIUS information also is used to determine fuel demands and needs for fuel efficiency, to produce trade publication articles and special data arrays, and to assess the effects of deregulation on the restructuring of the transportation industries.

This revision is being submitted to correct the legal citations related to the collection authority for the Vehicle Inventory and Use Survey (VIUS). We initially received clearance to add the corrected citation using the emergency clearance process, which was approved separately. The emergency clearance was necessary because we needed to implement the change immediately during data collection for the survey. This revision is to now add Title 13 U.S.C., Section 221 to the collection authority under the original clearance and to allow a full review at OMB.
VIUS was the principal data source on the physical and operational characteristics of the nation’s truck population from 1963 through 2002. Since the survey was discontinued in 2002, metropolitan, state, and federal agencies have had no other alternative than to use the outdated 2002 VIUS data. The Census Bureau and our survey sponsor, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, have investigated whether other data collections may duplicate the content, coverage, and detail planned for the 2021 VIUS.  Further, we have consulted with major commercial and private trucking companies regarding the nature and content of other information collections in which they participate.  These investigations found no data collections that duplicate the content, comprehensive coverage, industry detail, geographic detail, and statistical reliability provided by the VIUS.  These features are unique characteristics of this periodic survey, which satisfies the requirements of principal data users.

While transportation data of a regulatory nature exist on trucks and administrative data exist on the number of registration transactions, there is no comprehensive source of data for the physical and operational characteristics for those registered trucks (other than the VIUS). Bringing VIUS back to its 5-year cycle ensures the timeliness and usefulness of the statistics we produce from it. Federal and state policy makers depend on reliable, up-to-date data to assess and evaluate all aspects of the Federal-aid highway program, energy consumption, national emergency preparedness, direct input into national accounts, input-output tables, and other measures of economic activity. The 2021 VIUS will also assess the rate of new vehicle technologies that mitigate climate change impacts and increase safety on the roadways. It is a necessity that current data from this survey be provided.

The data release will include tabulated data for the U.S., the 50 states, and the District of Columbia. These tables will include vehicle characteristics and uses by truck type and truck mile categories. After the table release, a disclosure-protected, public use microdata file is planned for release. The disclosure protection will reduce the risk of identifying particular trucks or their owners/operators. All data products for the 2021 VIUS will meet the requirements of the Census Bureau’s Disclosure Review Board.
VIUS website: https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/vius.html
VIUS submission to OMB: https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=202203-0607-007 Click IC List for data collection instruments, View Supporting Statement for technical documentation. Submit comments through this webpage.
FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2022-13305

For AEA members wishing to submit comments, "A Primer on How to Respond to Calls for Comment on Federal Data Collections" is available at https://www.aeaweb.org/content/file?id=5806

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