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BTS Releases NTAD 2003 Geographic Databases 07.15.2003

First time MPO boundaries are included in a national database.

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) released the 2003 edition of the National Transportation Atlas Databases (NTAD), the first complete national database to be developed and distributed that describes Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) boundaries.

NTAD 2003, introduced at the Environmental Systems Research Institute User Conference in San Diego, contains four new databases that add significant value to this signature BTS product. The information on MPO boundaries is significant because these organizations play a major role in decisions regarding federally funded transportation projects within their boundaries.

"BTS and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) have developed a national geographic database that brings the potential power and promise of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) as the ultimate visual and spatial transportation planning tool one step closer to reality," U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta said. "NTAD 2003 will be a powerful aid for transportation decisionmakers in both government and the private sector."

BTS and its partners throughout the U.S. Department of Transportation and other federal government agencies worked together in compiling NTAD 2003. NTAD is a collection of geographic databases containing information on nationwide transportation facilities, transportation networks, and associated infrastructure ? supporting research, analysis, and decision-making across all modes of transportation. It consists of 23 separate datasets, 14 of which have been updated in the 2003 edition.

NTAD 2003 also includes:

  • Intermodal Terminals: This terminals database updates BTS' 1997-98 version and continues improvements in the use of current data and spatial accuracy. This database will be useful to multimodal surface transportation analysis and planning efforts throughout the public and private sectors.
  • National Freight Road Network: These data are from the Freight Analysis Framework (FAF), developed by FHWA, designed for use in analyzing the spatial characteristics of national highway freight flows at the state-to-state level. FAF data tables can be linked to this database for analysis. These components will allow a user to identify improvements in the efficiency of freight movements along the nation's transportation infrastructure.
  • Transit Rail Lines and Stations: This preliminary version of the transit geodatabase is being distributed with the 2003 NTAD and contains data on the locations of transit rail lines and stations. This transit database was a collaborative effort of BTS, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), as data were collected directly from transit agencies and MPOs nationwide. This initial release contains all transit data collected by BTS as of Spring 2003. A final database will be available in fall 2003.

Due to popular demand, NTAD 2003 is again provided in shapefile format, which is compatible with most GIS software. As in 2002, the product is being offered in dual CD-ROM set.

To order a copy of the CD-ROM set, contact BTS by phone at 202-366-DATA, by fax at 202-366-3197, by e-mail at or by mail sent to Product Orders, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, USDOT, 400 Seventh Street, S.W., Room 7412, Washington, DC 20590.

The datasets may be accessed via the Mapping Center at TranStats on the Internet at (select the "Geospatial Data" link). Additionally, the CD-ROMs may be ordered at (select the "Geospatial Information and Maps" link). For technical information, contact Matt Sheppard at 202-309-0936.

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