Federal governments, state DOTs, and regional governments rely on results from household travel surveys (HTS) to assist in transportation modeling and planning projects. Traditional HTS typically collect a single day’s worth of travel from a sample of area residents via travel diary web survey, call center, and/or paper survey. However, recent research suggests GPS data and longer data collection periods (e.g., a week or more) are warranted to provide better data for modeling and understanding trends. A new method is needed to accurately collect travel data over a week or more without overburdening respondents.
The “In the Moment” Travel Study (ITM) was a proof-of-concept study to fully replace a traditional HTS experience with a sophisticated location-aware (i.e., GPS-enabled) mobile application and web service that captures all travel behavior and travel characteristics currently collected by traditional household travel diaries. This pilot project asked participants to download the rMove™ smartphone app to their Android or iOS (Apple) smartphone to capture their daily travel for a week, and then asked a short set of survey questions after each trip. Among around 300 participants, almost 90% answered every single survey for the entire week of data collection. The results of the project are: 1) being compared to a 2014 HTS project in the same region, and 2) being evaluated for further improvements to advance the technology, reduce respondent burden, and eventually fully replace traditional HTS.