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Community Design

Tracking Community Design

The community design data used on the Tracking Network are developed from a combination of resources. The Tracking Network has adapted these data for public health uses.

The types of transportation to work data were developed using results from the US Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS). The survey is conducted by the US Census Bureau in every county, American Indian and Alaska Native area, and Hawaiian Home Land. ACS collects data on demographic characteristics, family and relationships, income, health insurance, education, veteran status, where people work and how they get there, and homeowner status. This information is similar to the Census. But it is collected every year rather than every 10 years.

Clean energy bus in a city centerThe air quality data found on the Tracking Network are obtained from EPA's Air Quality System (AQS) database. The AQS contains ambient air pollution data. The data are collected by EPA and state, local, and tribal air pollution control agencies. The U.S. has approximately 4,000 monitoring stations, mainly in urban areas. The AQS also contains meteorological data, information about each monitoring station such as its location and its operator, and data quality assurance and quality control information.

AQS is important because it helps EPA and others to:

  • assess air quality,
  • assist in determining which areas of the country are meeting air quality standards,
  • evaluate state plans for controlling air pollution,
  • perform modeling for permit review analysis, and
  • perform other air quality analyses such as trend analysis and health effect studies.

CDC's Tracking Program is working with EPA to produce air quality indicators in areas without air monitors. These indicators are produced by combining air monitoring data with emissions and meteorological data to create daily estimates of ozone and airborne fine particulates. This process will help construct a more complete picture of air pollution across the country.

The Tracking Network uses state and local childhood lead poisoning prevention programs to obtain state and local data about childhood blood lead levels. When a child is tested for lead poisoning, state and local childhood lead poisoning prevention programs collect information about the child, including the child's test results and any potential sources of lead in the child's environment. These programs share some of this information with the CDC to compile in a national database. CDC's Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program provides technical and financial assistance to state and local programs and provides national guidance and policy for the prevention and treatment of childhood lead poisoning.

The motor vehicle-related fatality data are available from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). FARS contains data on all vehicle crashes in the U.S. that occur on a public roadway and involve a fatality.


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