The Commodity Flow Survey (CFS) is a database obtained from a shipper-based survey conducted every five years as part of the Economic Census. The survey is conducted as a partnership between the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) and is the primary source of data on freight shipments at the national and state level (Bureau of Transportation Statistics and U.S. Census Bureau 2015). For each shipment, the CFS includes: shipment ID, FIPS state code for shipment origin and destination state, metropolitan area, CFS area (it combines and modifies metro areas to protect confidentiality), quarter of the year, commodity types by Standard Classification of Transported Goods (SCTG), mode of transportation, shipment value in dollars, shipment weight in pounds, great circle distance in miles, routed distance in miles (for the mode used to send the shipment), hazardous material code, weighting factors, and binary variables indicating if the shipment is an export, export country and if it is temperature controlled or not. It is worth mentioning that the “Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS)” released by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) with information on about 4.5 million shipments from the 2012 CFS (U.S. Census Bureau 2017), though generally useful, cannot be used to estimate freight mode choice models because it lacks location-specific data, and attributes of the freight modes available to the shipper.
Establishment Data: 2012 Longitudinal Business Data (LBD)
The Longitudinal Business Database (LBD) covers all non-farm sectors listed in the Standard Statistical Establishment List (SSEL), also known as the Business Register. The LBD has been collected and maintained by the Center for Economic Studies (CES) at the Census Bureau every year since 1976. LBD contains information from the SSEL, Economic Censuses, and surveys. The longitudinal nature of the LBD allows the study of an establishment or firm over a period of time, including the year of entry and exit. Since LBD also contains confidential data–such as age of firm, employment, and payroll–obtaining access to LBD micro-data requires a special sworn status (Jarmin and Miranda 2002, U.S. Census Bureau 2015). The LBD provided the shippers’ attributes mainly, industry sector in North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), employment, location, and payroll. CFS and LBD are merged to form a dataset comprising shipment and shipper attributes.