An Innovative Survey Design to Understand Sustainable Travel Behaviors

PI: Cynthia Chen (UW)
Co-Investigators: Anne Vernez Moudon (UW), Qing Shen (UW), Hejun Kang (UI)
Dates: 06/16/2012 – 10/6/2014
Final Project Report: PacTrans-3-UW-Chen

An innovative survey is being undertaken with rolling samples to address a major fiscal challenge faced by many MPOs. Faced with a small, but continuous budget, MPOs are increasingly unable to continue the current survey practice: conducting a large survey every 10 years. A rolling sample design also has other benefits over the current practice. Yet, for its implementation in household travel surveys, many questions exist. Some are technical issues, while others are cost and procedural-related. The primary purpose of this project is to understand these issues and provide recommendations for a future household travel survey with rolling samples.

It is also expected that a rolling sample design can help us understand travel behavior better for the purpose of VMT reduction. By sampling participants living in very different neighborhoods, it can help us devise better VMT reduction strategies. The second purpose of this project is to assess the potential of a rolling sample design in addressing the potential of land use and infrastructure related strategies for VMT reduction.

We anticipate taking a three-pronged approach: an extensive review of the relevant issues, a pilot data collection effort with a survey with rolling enrollment, and the analysis of the survey administration process as well as the data collected.

The research will help transportation planners and analysts to proactively reposition their service in light of the changing budgetary environment by developing a new approach to travel surveys based on small samples but continuous enrollment. This new approach is also more consistent with the recent changes in data collection methods used by the US Census Bureau. The proposed research will also enable researchers to gain a much better understanding of the potential of designing a new methodology for empirical examinations of the effects of built environments on transportation outcomes based on data collected from continuous enrollment.

PacTrans-UW-Chen-Cynthia-Project Update-2012-M-0003