The data on time arriving at work from home were derived from answers to Question 33 (Time Leaving Home to Go to Work) and from answers to Question 34 (Travel Time to Work), both in the 2012 American Community Survey. These questions were asked of people who indicated in 2012 ACS Question 29 that they worked at some time during the reference week, and who reported in 2012 ACS Question 31 that they worked outside their home. The arrival time is calculated by adding the travel time to work to the reported time leaving home to go to work. These data are presented with other characteristics of workers at their workplace. (See "Time Leaving Home to Go to Work" and "Travel Time to Work.")
The responses to the place of work and journey to work questions provide basic knowledge about commuting patterns and the characteristics of commuter travel. The commuting data are essential for planning highway improvement 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 period of travel. The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) plans to use county-level data in computing gross commuting flows to develop place-of-residence earning 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.
Starting in 1999, the American Community Survey questions differ from the 1996-1998 questions in that the labels on the write-in spaces and format of the skip instructions were modified to provide clarifications.
Beginning in 2004, the category, "Public transportation" for means of transportation was tabulated to exclude workers who used taxicab as their means of transportation.
The 2004 American Community Survey marked the first time that workplace-based tables were released as a part of a standard census data product.
Limitation of the Data
Beginning in 2006, the group quarters (GQ) population is included in the ACS. Some types of GQ populations have place of work distributions that are different from the household population. The inclusion of the GQ population could therefore have a noticeable impact on the place of work distribution. This is particularly true for areas with a substantial GQ population.
The data on place of work is related to a reference week, that is, the calendar week preceding the date on which the respondents completed their questionnaires or were interviewed. This week is not the same for all respondents because data were collected over a 12-month period. The lack of a uniform reference week means that the place-of-work data reported in the survey will not exactly match the distribution of workplace locations observed or measured during an actual workweek.
The place-of-work data are estimates of people 16 years and over who were both employed and at work during the reference week (including people in the Armed Forces). People who did not work during the reference week but had jobs or businesses from which they were temporarily absent due to illness, bad weather, industrial dispute, vacation, or other personal reasons are not included in the place-of-work data. Therefore, the data on place of work understate the total number of jobs or total employment in a geographic area during the reference week. It also should be noted that people who had irregular, casual, or unstructured jobs during the reference week might have erroneously reported themselves as not working.
The address where the individual worked most often during the reference week was recorded on the questionnaire. If a worker held two jobs, only data about the primary job (the job where one worked the greatest number of hours during the preceding week) was requested. People who regularly worked in several locations during the reference week were requested to give the address at which they began work each day. For cases in which daily work was not begun at a central place each day, the respondent was asked to provide as much information as possible to describe the area in which he or she worked most during the reference week.
This data source is comparable to the decennial censuses for all journey to work variables. Since both the American Community Survey and the decennial censuses are related to a "reference week" that has some variability, the data do not reflect any single week. Since the American Community Survey data are collected over 12 months, the reference week in American Community Survey has a greater range of variation. (See "Reference Week.")
For more detailed information regarding the difference of place of work and journey to work in the ACS and Census 2000, see Estimates about Journey to Work from the 2005 ACS, C2SS, and Census 2000 on the ACS website (http://www.census.gov/acs
See 2012 Code List on the ACS website (http://www.census.gov/acs
) for Place of Work Code List.