Call Title

Applications for Small-Area ACS and CTPP Data: New Data, New Challenges

Sponsoring Committee

Census Data for Transportation Planning Subcommittee of the Urban Transportation Data and Information Systems Committee, ABJ30(1)

Call Description

The Census Data for Transportation Planning Subcommittee of the Urban Transportation Data and Information Systems Committee, ABJ30(1) invites you to submit posters for a session focusing on the innovative use of small area ACS and CTPP geography for transportation planning and related applications. Posters will be displayed at the TRB Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, January 2015. Authors of the most innovative posters will be invited to present at the subcommittee meeting.


The American Community Survey 5-Year data and the Census Transportation Planning Products special tabulation have given practitioners access to a wealth of current data in geographic units as small as Census Block Groups. Data topics include a wide range of demographic, social, economic, and transportation data including journey-to-work ("commuter") flows. This level of geographic detail allows for a finer level of detail in activities such as transit planning, site selection, model validation, program analysis, and community outreach.

While these data sets have significant potential it is not a panacea for all programmatic and research tasks. High margins of error mean small-area data may not be as accurate as is needed for a project and it is a challenge to display it without giving a false sense of precision. Aggregation and derived margins of error create further challenges to statistical analysis. Small area data may not fit well into locally created geographic boundaries (towns, watershed, etc.). Transferring data from older geographies such as 2000 Census tracts to newer small area geographic units is often needed for analysis but can be hard to accomplish without further reducing the accuracy of the data.

Evaluation Criteria

A broad range of abstracts relating to the topic are welcome. Preference will be given to posters which emphasize the following:

A session-development subcommittee will review all abstracts to identify those that most effectively demonstrate innovative analyses and communication techniques conveying the value of small geography ACS and CTPP data. The subcommittee hopes to identify posters representing a diverse array of uses and applications. Applicants will be notified in late-September of their selection.

Poster Session Guidelines

Those selected for this session will prepare a poster for presentation at the 2015 Annual Meeting in January. Participants are not required to prepare a paper. Each presenter will be provided with a table and a 4' x 8' vertical panel for displaying posters and other materials. An electrical connection will be available at each station. Telephone and internet connections will not be available. TRB's guidelines for poster presenters are available here. Presenters are expected to attend and participate in this session. Presentation teams are welcome.

Submission Instructions

A special deadline for submittals has been established. Interested candidates should submit an abstract explaining their project and poster concept by 11:59 pm EDT on Wednesday, September 3, 2014. The abstract should be no more than a single one-sided page in length (approximately 500 words) and include:

You are welcome to include links to on-line materials that illustrate visualization or graphic communication concepts described in your abstract but this will not substitute for the information requested in the abstract.

The subcommittee will not consider sales presentations on products or services.

Abstracts should be in a PDF format and submitted to:

Mara Kaminowitz
mkaminowitz at baltometro dot org

Include the term "ABJ30(1) Poster Abstract" in the subject line.

For More Information

Questions about the poster session or the abstract submittal process should be directed to:

Clara Reschovsky
creschovsky at mwcog dot org

Mara Kaminowitz
mkaminowitz at baltometro dot org