Expertise in the Interpretation and Forecasting of Travel

     Nancy McGuckin     
Travel Behavior Analyst


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Ms. McGuckin is a senior advisor to Federal, State, and local public agencies, policy and advocate groups, other consultant groups, and private clients. She specializes in creating information out of complex data sources to help understand trends and forecast travel behavior.

Ms. McGuckin draws insightful and meaningful information from complex data sources and helps design and assess data collection efforts for collecting primary data on travel behavior.  She is interested in designing robust performance measures for area-wide policies related to emissions, health, and mobility.  She is well-known for effective presentations, reports, and briefs for technical audiences, decision makers, and the general public

In short, Ms. McGuckin provides a full spectrum of skills for obtaining data and developing information in service of specific transportation research needs, travel demand forecasting, and broader policy initiatives. Examples of her application of skills in complex data mining for transportation research and policy development include:

Climate Change and Mobile Emissions: Estimated CO2 at census tract level for sustainable community performance measures (City of Pasadena) and developed outreach to encourage behavior shifts to sustainable travel 

Intercity and Long Distance Travel Behavior: TRB Committee for a Study of Intercity Passenger Travel Issues and Opportunities in Short-haul Markets,  Long-Distance Travel Parameters for Statewide Models (NCHRP Report #735), Long Distance Passenger Travel Analysis Framework (FHWA)

Changes in Demand: Serving the Mobility Preferences of Generation Y (TCRP J-11/Task 17), Baby Boomers Effect on US Travel 1969-2009 (AARP), Summary of Travel Trends 2009 (FHWA)

 Active Travel: Walking and Biking in California (Caltrans), Walking to School in California (SRTS and ALR), Trends in Walking (CDC)

Trends in Commute Behavior: Identified complex commute behavior (the ‘Starbucks Effect’) and tracked changes in commuting over decades (commuting in America IV)

Aging Society: Identified access to medical services as a growing concern for older non-drivers (AARP – Sandwich Generation)

Extreme Events: Modeled evacuation behavior of the World Trade Centers on September 11, 2001)

Forecast long-range changes: Was part of expert panel for Rand/BMW looking at scenarios for 2050, forecast trends to 2040 to assess the impact of increased gas tax for the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission

Ms. McGuckin works extensively with many large national databases, including the 1969-2009 National Household Travel Survey data series, the American Travel Survey (long distance travel), the American Housing Survey, and the American Time Use Survey, in addition to the various forms of the Census, such as PUMS, ACS, and CTPP. She is frequently asked to speak on the topic of travel behavior at conferences, associations, and for the press.


  • Joint Program in Survey Methodology (JPSM), University of Maryland, University of Michigan, continuing education 
  • Post-Graduate Studies, University of Maryland, College Park, MD (1997-1998) Psychology 
  • Montgomery College Maryland (1988) and SAS Institute, Cary, NC, (1993), Statistics 
  • Bachelor of Arts, Geography/Government Studies, University of Texas at Austin (graduated with honors) 
  • University of Isfahan, Isfahan Iran, 1978-1979, Junior year abroad with special research grant 


  • Committee for a Study of Intercity Passenger Travel Issues and Opportunities in Short-Haul Markets (special TRB Policy Panel) 
  • TRB Committee on National Data Requirements (ABJ10) 
  • TRB Committee on Urban Data and Information Systems (ABJ30) 
  • TRB Task Force on New Directions for the National Household Travel Survey (ABJ45T) 
  • Center for Disease Control Expert Panel on Active Transportation (since 2011) 
  • The Transportation Statistics Interest Group (coordinated by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics and the American Statistical Association) 

Representative Projects:    

  • NCHRP Report 735 Long Distance and Rural Travel Transferable Parameters for Statewide Travel Forecasting Models  Developed data for travel demand forecasting model inputs for long-distance (both 50 – 100 miles and 100 miles and more in distance) travel and rural trip generation estimates.  The long-distance component uses 1995 American Travel Survey and 2001 National Household Travel Survey data—the most recent national sources of long-distance data. Rural estimates come from the extensive rural coverage of the 2009 NHTS (with Cambridge Sytematics).

  • Travel to School in California—Findings from the California Add-on to the 2009 NHTS. Recently completed detailed analysis of the usual characteristics of children’s travel to school.  Careful analysis of variance allowed the add-on data to be used to describe travel to school in the larger counties and metro planning areas in California. Sponsored by Safe Routes to School national Partnership and published through Active Living Research at:  

  • Impact of Baby Boomers on US Travel, 1969-2009, published by AARP Public Policy Institute 2012. Recently completed a series of reports for AARP Public Policy Institute which received widespread media coverage.  The largest study was a cohort study of Baby Boomers through the NHTS data series 1969 through 2009 looking at their transportation choices in response to economic and demographic life-stages, including recent trends and the policy implications. This and other briefs (including “Working Retirement”, “The Sandwich Generation”, and “The Freedom of the Empty Nest”) are available at:  and

  • Summary of Travel Trends: 2009 National Household Travel Survey (Publication no. FHWA-PL-11-02 . Primary author for this report that analyzes important travel indicators over a period of 40 years—1969 to 2009--obtained in the national travel survey series. A wide range of topics are covered, including trends in travel related to household size and wealth, trends in travel behavior by different age groups, changes in the amount and type of travel for different purposes, and travel behavior of special populations.  Margins of error were developed for all travel statistics to separate data ‘noise’ from true trends.

  • Sustainable Community Performance Measures, Pasadena, CA—As part of the mobility segment of the update to the General Plan, used the California add-on to the National Household Travel Survey (CA-NHTS), the American Community Survey (ACS), and the Longitudinal Employment Housing Dynamics (LEHD) to provide the City with a data package of recent local travel behavior.  Transferable parameters from NHTS were used to estimate census tract-level and neighborhood CO2 or green house gas emissions. These estimates are being used in two ways: as benchmark performance measures for the goal of being a sustainable community, and to develop community outreach materials to encourage behavior shifts to sustainable travel.  

  • Walking and Biking in California: Analysis of  2009  – This research is focused on calculating the amount of walking and biking in the state and it’s counties for safety analysis, and understanding patterns of non-motorized travel and the factors that influence them, both the quality of the environment and the characteristics of the individual.  The California add-on to the NHTS collected data on travel from more than 18,000 households in all 58 counties, and fills a critical data gap on state-wide non-motorized travel. This project is helping to advance the goals of the California Blueprint for Bicycling and Walking and the implementation of the Strategic Highway Safety Plan (conducted in coordination with Susan Handy, UC-Davis UC Davis Study 2012 UCD-ITS-RR-12-13.pdf

  • (Federal Highway Administration) –Technical consultant for the NHTS team through 2011.  Analyzed data collection methods and results, including: impact of trip rostering (adjustment to 1990), effect of diary and incentives (1995), comparison of address-based and RDD, prospective long-distance trip reporting vs. retrospective reporting (2001) and cell-phone only sample (2009). Instrumental in the Energy Information Administration (EIA-DOE) gas cost and fuel efficiency additions to the 2001 and 2009 vehicle file. Conducted user outreach to stakeholders and topic experts for questionnaire development (2001 and 2009). Coordinated the add-on program with States and MPOs (2001 and 2009). Provided analysis of survey results through policy briefs, reports, presentations, and satisfied a broad range of data user requests. Briefs and publications available at:

  • National Institute of Standards and Technology World Trade Center Investigation - Helped develop a model of occupant behavior and egress during the evacuation of the World Trade Centers on 9/11. Used sociological behavioral modeling to determine the factors and social processes (the major paths of casual links between variables) that influenced people to delay their evacuation out of World Trade Center Towers 1 and 2 on September 11, 2001. Evacuation delay was found to be positively correlated with ‘helping behaviors’, and a five minute or more delay was found to be significant in increased mortality. The findings are being used to both set standards for emergency egress in large buildings and to develop better training information for employee emergency preparedness. , Project 7, with NuStats

  • Journey-to-Work Trends in the United States and Its Major Metropolitan Areas, 1960 – 2000 (Publication no. FHWA EP-03-058)Primary author for this report which tracks trends in demographics, worker characteristics, and commuting in the U.S. and the 49 MSAs of one-million residents or more (not including San Juan, Puerto Rico). Used the decennial Census Data to look at national trends in population and workforce growth, changes in household structure, and trends in mode of travel, travel time, departure time, vehicle availability and immigration. Researched the changes in commuter flows for the 49 metro areas over 40 years, with a special emphasis on case studies of five metro areas. Published in 2003. 

  • Travel Estimation Techniques for Urban Planning NCHRP Report 365 - One of the authors/primary investigators for this textbook on the application of travel data to the travel demand forecasting models.  Researched the relationship between trip generation and urban form, trip chaining, and the changes in travel patterns observed since the publication of NCHRP 187 “Quick-Response Urban Travel Estimation Techniques and Transferable Parameters.” Conducted a survey of MPO model needs and analyzed the transferability over time and across geography of critical travel demand statistics. With Barton-Ashman Associates, published in 1998.

  • San Juan Metropolitan Region Planning Study to Develop Ridership Forecasts for Tren Urbano San Juan, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico (with Barton-Aschman/Deleuw Cather) The Tren Urbano was funded through multiple sources as both a transportation project—to relieve the congestion of the San Juan Urban Area--and as urban renewal/economic stimulus. The preliminary work was conducted starting in 1989 through a consortium headed by DeLeuw Cather, and ridership forecasts and alignment was finalized by 1993. Ms. McGuckin was the in-country project manager for day-to-day primary data collection and project operations in San Juan for two years, including survey interviewers, land-use inventory and data collectors.

  • Bangkok, Thailand MRTA Ridership Forecasts (DeLeuw-Cather, International) Ms. McGuckin worked closely with an international team of economists, engineers, and specialists to develop ridership estimates for the new high-speed transit (MRTA). She was the in-country (Thailand) task manager for this major data collection effort. Specialty approaches included sample estimation for Census non-coverage areas (squatters), employee surveys for sites near potential future stations, intercept surveys of visitors, and an on-board survey for three transit vehicle types. All designs included stated preference components to help estimate future fare strategies. With Barton-Ashman Associates/DeLeuw Cather.

  • Shanghai Comprehensive Transportation Planning, City of Shanghai, PRC (Barton-Aschman/DeLeuw Cather) Ms. McGuckin managed the U.S.-based data team to develop a city-wide plan and ridership forecasts for the high speed rail from Long Yang Road Metro Station to the Pudong International Airport (opened in 2002). Ms. McGuckin worked closely with the PRC team to collect and analyze existing data on population and employment. With Barton-Ashman Associates/DeLeuw Cather. 

  • Dallas-Ft. Worth Workplace Survey (NCTCOG)- Responsible for design, quality control, weighting and analysis of the survey of 270 sites in the Metroplex. Developed a sample methodology that is not skewed towards larger-sized workplaces. Designed and conducted a test of reported auto-occupancy of walk-ins vs. observed auto-occupancy of drive-throughs for restaurants and banks offering drive-through facilities. With Barton-Ashman Associates. 

  • Atlanta Regional Commission Establishment Survey (ARC)- Project manager for this large-scale survey of 270 establishments sampled across area-type in the Atlanta region. Developed the sample design, coordinated with the regional travel model for air-quality analysis, analyzed, weighted and presented the results. With Barton-Ashman Associates. 

  • Chicago Master Plan Update Study on Intermodal Truck Travel (CDOT) - Designed and managed this survey feeding into an economic analysis of the impact and the benefit of the growing intermodal industry in the greater Chicago region. Sites included O’Hare International Airport cargo area.  The survey results were submitted to ITE for development of intermodal yard trip rates as a new category. With Barton-Ashman Associates. 

  • Baltimore-Washington International Airport Transportation Planning Study (Maryland Mass Transit Administration, MTA)- Developed a land-use inventory for the BWI area. Designed and conducted an employer/employee survey to understand work-based travel and possible transit shifts. Forecast future population, land-use, and employment by zone in five-year increments based on committed and proposed development and the analysis of present and projected zoning.  With Barton-Ashman Associates.

  • New Orleans Mode Choice Model Update -Designed and conducted successful data collection for a tourist travel demand sub-model, including visitor survey and transit on-board survey. With Barton-Ashman Associates.

  • Charlotte On-Board Bus Survey - Managed the full system on-board bus survey, and including a smaller sample on-board with the Special Transportation Service (para transit service) including a verbal interview component. With Barton-Ashman Associates.