In 1995, the date of the last long distance passenger travel survey by the Federal government, U.S. households made over 1 billion personal trips to destinations within the United States and an additional 41 million trips to other countries, logging a total of 827 billion miles of travel, or about 25% of all person miles of travel in the nation . This included a great deal of business and tourist travel, both major contributors to the national economy, as well as many trips to visit family and friends and to engage in a variety of personal business activities. There is an economic and social imperative to support high levels of personal mobility for the United States. While daily intra-urban travel has been studied in sufficient depth, the same cannot be said about long distance travel. The importance of long distance travel to the overall well-being of the nation makes it critical to understand current travel patterns and project these patterns into the future.
Getting a handle on long distance bus travel (an area that has traditionally been less well studied) is critical to obtaining a comprehensive picture about long distance travel in the country. Greyhound is not the only provider of intercity bus service and curbside operators like Megabus, Boltbus, and Red Coach are penetrating the marketplace and offering competitive mode choices for customers. However, there is no database that gives a comprehensive picture of long distance bus travel in the United States.
In this paper, we develop a methodology for long distance bus trip tables using population and employment information, information from the 1995 ATS and 2001 NHTS and information bus schedule data. Using information from these sources, we expect to get a picture of the passenger serving carriers in each state or MSA along with the number of units they possess. Using this information, along with schedule information and assumptions about the number of passengers in each bus, will help obtain the number of business and non-business bus trips between metro areas.