Travel Region Characteristics of Commute Atlanta Participants in 2004

Source: Li H., R. Guensler, J. Ogle, J. Jun and V. Elango, Descriptive Analysis of Long-Distance Travel by Personal Vehicle Using 2004 Commute Atlanta Data. Accepted for presentation. 86th TRB Annual Meeting, January 2007, Washington D.C.

The purpose of this research was to investigate travel occurring inside and outside of the 13-county metropolitan area durin the year 2004.  With the exception of low-mileage vehicles (under 3,000 miles/year), tracking devices were installed and collected data during the entire year.


  • 89% of all the trips made by personal vehicles in the participating households are inside the Atlanta metro region
  • 7% percent are outside of the region
  • Due to GPS system failures, the travel location for the remaining 3% of the total trips was indeterminable

In terms of trip duration,

  • approximately 86% of total travel occurs inside of the 13-county Atlanta metro area,
  • 13% occurs outside of the region
Because long distance trips that occur outside the region are generally much longer than trips occurring inside the region, only 77% of the total mileage occurs inside the region while 23% occurs outside the Atlanta metro region. 

Although long-distance trips comprise a relatively small share of total trips, these trips also represent a much larger share of the total miles traveled, and therefore contribute significantly to the economic and environmental impacts of travel.

Table: Summary of the travel region status of 161 vehicles, representing 102 households, for the year 2004

Region Status Number of Trips Percent of Trips Duration [hrs] Percent Duration Distance [miles] Percent Distance
Inside of Region 240,054 89.20% 64,713 85.90% 1,458,758 76.20%
Outside of Region 19,628 7.30% 9,799 13.00% 435,139 22.70%
No Valid GPS Location 9,370 3.50% 844 1.10% 21,452[1] 1.10%


[1] Since mileage information is not available for those trips, the value is estimated based on average travel speed and total travel duration.


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