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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Annual Tank Car Facility Survey

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of the Tank Car Facility Survey?

The purpose of the Tank Car Facility Survey is to collect information as required in Sec. 7308(c) of the FAST Act on the projected number of tank cars expected to be built or retrofitted in each calendar year to meet the new safer DOT-117 or 117R specifications. This information will be used in an annual report to Congress on the industry’s progress in upgrading tanks cars that carry flammable liquids.

Am I required to respond?

Your response to the Tank Car Facility Survey is voluntary, however, comprehensive reporting is strongly encouraged to ensure the results provide a comprehensive and accurate picture of facilities and planned new tank car builds and retrofits.

Why should I provide you my information?

It is important that all tank car facilities provide information to ensure comprehensive and accurate estimates in the report sent to Congress. Incomplete or missing information from facilities will not accurately reflect industry’s progress in upgrading to the new, safer tank car standards.

How long will it take?

On average, this survey is estimated to take 30 minutes to complete. This includes the time to complete the survey, as well as the time needed to compile records and review reported numbers.

Who conducts the survey and how often is it conducted?

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics, an independent statistical agency within the U.S. Department of Transportation, is conducting the survey on behalf of the Secretary of Transportation. By law, BTS is required to conduct the survey on an annual basis through 2029.

What authority do you have to conduct this survey?

The reported and collected data are mandated in Section 7308(c) of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (Pub. L. 114-94) signed into law on December 4, 2015. BTS, in accordance with its authority under 49 USC § 6302(b), is authorized to collect, compile, analyze, and publish comprehensive data sets of transportation statistics, including statistical information related to transportation-related variables that influence the domestic economy and global competitiveness, intermodal freight movement, and information related to the consequences of transportation for the human and natural environment.

What types of establishments are included in the Tank Car Facility Survey?

All facilities certified to build new tank cars or modify existing tank cars to the DOT-117 or 117R specifications are included in the survey.

What type of information is collected in the Tank Car Facility Survey?

The Tank Car Facility Survey collects data from tank car manufacturers and retrofit facilities on their estimates of tanks cars to be built or retrofitted for the current calendar year. Specifically, it captures the anticipated number of tanks cars to be built to the DOT-117 specification, as well as the number expected to be retrofitted to the DOT-117R specification by car type.

Who will see my information and how will you protect it?

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics and its employees who work on this survey are the only persons with access to individual responses. Collected information is for statistical purposes only and BTS will hold the information in confidence to the full extent permitted by law. In accordance with the Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act of 2002 (Title 5 of Public Law 107-347) and other applicable Federal laws, your responses will not be disclosed in identifiable form without your informed consent. Per the Federal Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2015, federal information systems are protected from malicious activities through cybersecurity screening of transmitted data.

How will my information be used?

A summary report of aggregate findings will be provided to the following Congressional Committees:
   (1) The Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate; and
   (2) The Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of Representatives.
In addition, this summary report will also be published to the BTS web page. No individual information or company names will be included in the published reports.

Will I have to respond in other years?

Most likely, yes. The survey will be administered every year through 2029. Each year, any facility certified to build new tank cars to the DOT-117 or modify existing tank cars to the 117R specification will be included in the survey.

What do I do if the tank car shops I am responding for are not the same as the list of ones you sent me?

Call or email us! Please contact us at 1-800-853-1351 or email at You can still fill out the survey with your numbers, but let us know which shops you are reporting.

What are examples of retrofits of existing tank cars?

Examples of retrofits include:

  • Thicker walls on the tank shell
  • Stronger, full-height headshields
  • Enhanced protections to bottom outlet valves
  • Enhanced protections to top fittings

How do I determine the number of tank cars projected?

This is the number of tank cars you expect to build this year based on the orders you have received or anticipate receiving. The projection is the number to be built in the calendar year, regardless of when the order was placed. We are aware that current projections may shift throughout the calendar year. Please provide us with the best information you currently have for this year.

How do I determine the number of tank cars approved by AAR?

We are also asking for the number of cars approved to be built by the Association of American Railroads (AAR), but those may have been approved prior to the calendar year or approved in the calendar year but will be built in a future year. If you have the Certificate of Construction from AAR, then you have approval to build the tank car. You do not need to have the UMLER® number for a tank car to be included in this count.

What if I think my facility should not be included in the survey?

If you are not sure or have any concerns, please contact the U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, at 1-800-853-1351 or email at

What if I do not know how many tank cars my facility will build or retrofit this year?

Please submit the best estimate you can. Consider past year’s work orders as well as current economic conditions. If conditions change after your submission and the expectations or actual work increases or decreases, then that is okay. We are asking for an estimate and are aware that estimates do not always match actual numbers.

What if my shop is not building or retrofitting tank cars to the DOT-117(R) specification?

Please just enter NO for each of the responses. That information is also valuable as the fleet of tank cars evolves.

Annual Tank Car Facility Survey
Bureau of Transportation Statistics
1200 New Jersey Ave SE
Washington, DC 20590
Phone: 800-853-1351

Business Hours:
9:00am-5:00pm ET, M-F

Frequently Asked Questions