Online Program

WITHDRAWN - Continuous Improvement of the Commodity Flow Survey
Cynthia Hollingsworth, Census Bureau 
*Joy Sharp, Bureau of Transportation Statistics 

Keywords: sample design, precanvass, cognitive interview, electronic reporting

The Commodity Flow Survey (CFS) is the primary source of data on domestic freight shipments in the United States. Conducted every five years as part of the Economic Census, the CFS surveys approximately 100,000 establishments in mining, manufacturing, wholesale, and selected retail industries regarding the goods they ship. Undertaken as a partnership between the Bureau of Transportation Statistics and U.S. Census Bureau, the CFS was first conducted in 1993 – repeated in 1997, 2002, 2007 - and is currently being conducted for the fifth time in 2012. Prior to the 2007 survey, extensive research efforts were undertaken to address the changes in transportation logistics, as well as implement technological and methodological improvements. These improvements continued prior to the 2012 survey. This paper will discuss the continuous improvement efforts for the CFS program, including: (1) pre-testing efforts to improve data collection methods and forms; (2) sample frame & design improvements resulting from an advance mailing operation; (3) a new electronic reporting option; (4) computer-assisted data capture; and 5) use of web tools to ease respondent burden and improve data accuracy.