ACS Commuting Data

Morning All!

I had a questions regarding commuting patterns data from the ACS. I know they collect data on the census tract of origin and terminus for commutes (as used in this paper: But, I can't seem to find any data they have published in recent year. Is this something they only publish every few years? Is there an alternative data set I could use?



  • Yes, there is a special, commissioned product with tabulations of commute flows from ACS.

    The Census Transpo Planning Product (CTPP) database is paid for by State DOTs, AASHTO, etc.  When Census delivers it, it's published on an AASHTO website:

    Now the bad news:

    • The last published database analyzes JTW/commute patterns from 2012-16 ACS.
    • This data product is on a twice per decade cycle.  And the *next* twice per decade release is ~ 3 years away still. (If this is overly-optimistic, someone say so.)
    • The 5-year ACS data is approximately a 13% sample of the total population. So there can be considerable statistical inference error in the tract to tract flows.


    James— You may want to consider as an alternative: LODES (origin-destinations employment stats), 2019 data:

    In my opinion, the LODES database, prepared thru admin records datamining, is the better source for tract-to-tract flows (millions of origin-destination pairs are possible). 


    Hope that helps.

    --Todd Graham

      Metropolitan Council Research

  • Todd,

    Thank you for your answer. I was completely unaware of the LODES data and that sounds like what I need!