Standardized Procedures for Personal Travel Surveys

Transportation surveys are the most typical way to obtain personal travel behavior information used by the transportation community. These surveys serve two primary roles within the transportation planning process: First, they describe travel trends to support understanding of demands on the transportation system and to identify areas in which problems can be expected. Second, they provide information for travel forecasting and other models that are used to identify potential long-term problems and to test the efficacy of proposed solutions. Although transportation planners have employed personal travel surveys for over 40 years, there are no standards for determining what constitutes an acceptable level of quality or reliability in the conduct and evaluation of these surveys. Thus, the quality and design of the surveys may vary widely. Currently, there are no consistent, objective standards applied throughout the transportation community to survey data and to the conduct, analysis, and application of surveys. Some degree of standardization can improve the consistency of transportation-planning data, the accuracy of models, and the quality of transportation decisions. The proceedings of two recent Transportation Research Board (TRB) conferences (the 1995 conference, "Household Travel Surveys: New Concepts and Research Needs," and the 1997 conference, "Information Needs to Support State and Local Transportation Decision Making into the 21st Century") and National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Synthesis 236: "Methods for Household Travel Surveys," have emphasized the need for improved standardization in survey data collection. Declining response rates and potential sample biases are major issues. Resources are being wasted because standards are lacking in both survey methods and assessment procedures. Additionally, comparisons of travel from one metropolitan area to another are often difficult to accomplish because of the differences in survey methods. The results of this research will be useful to transportation practitioners in state Departments of Transportation (DOTs) and in Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) for preparing statistically sound data collection and management programs. The objective of this project is to develop standardized procedures for improving the conduct, evaluation, and reliability of personal travel surveys. The project will identify and prioritize those survey procedures (e.g., selecting samples, reporting results, and editing data) within the personal travel survey process that lend themselves to standardization. It will define assessment measures (e.g., standard errors, confidence intervals, response rates, and response bias) for those procedures and identify costs and tradeoffs to improve the reliability of survey results. Finally, the project will test and evaluate proposed procedures and their relative effectiveness.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 8-37

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials

    444 North Capitol Street, NW, Suite 225
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Project Managers:

    McCready, Ronald

  • Performing Organizations:

    Louisiana Transportation Research Center

    4101 Gourrier Avenue
    Baton Rouge, LA  United States  70808
  • Principal Investigators:

    Stopher, Peter

  • Start Date: 20000307
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20080430
  • Source Data: RiP Project 4459

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01547933
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: National Cooperative Highway Research Program
  • Contract Numbers: Project 8-37
  • Files: RiP
  • Created Date: Dec 17 2014 1:00AM