Wider Dissemination of Household Travel Survey Data Using Geographical Perturbation Methods

Historically, concerns regarding disclosure risk have been addressed in travel behavior research through the aggregation of these important and expensive data in order to adequately uphold the confidentiality pledge made between a survey respondent and administrator. Unfortunately, this practice of zonal aggregation compromises the utility of these datasets to researchers requiring a finer spatial representation to better understand the connection between non-motorized travel and the built environment since many of these trips often occur over shorter distances. Thus, there is a great benefit to providing these household travel data as a disaggregate representation. While largely unaddressed in travel behavior research, the negotiation of this barrier centered on minimizing the risk of identity disclosure for a survey respondent and ensuring the possibility of valid geographical analyses has received ample attention in other disciplines, which have sought to address this complication by the application of geographic perturbation methods. In general, a decrease in the potential for a breach of survey respondent confidentiality through the application of a geographic perturbation technique is directly associated with a decrease in the utility of the spatially altered dataset to the researcher. Although this relationship between disclosure risk and data utility has been established, there is no consensus on a single procedure for balancing these central concepts with the intention of aiding the dissemination of these valuable disaggregate data to a wider audience. This report offers an in-depth exploration of this overarching tradeoff by: (1) Examining the state of the literature with respect to geographic perturbation methods, disclosure risk and compromised data utility. (2) Developing a conceptual framework to guide efforts of geo-perturbation with respect to risk disclosure and data utility. (3) Conducting an empirical application of an innovative methodology that has the potential to permit the dissemination of higher resolution household travel survey data that also protects the confidentiality of the respondent’s household location. (4) Quantifying the concepts of disclosure risk and data utility in this implementation of a geographic perturbation technique in order to improve the understanding of their tradeoff.

  • Record URL:
  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This document was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation, University Transportation Centers Program.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Portland State University

    Portland, OR  United States  97207

    Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium

    P.O. Box 751
    301A Engineering Building
    Portland, OR  United States  97207

    Research and Innovative Technology Administration

    University Transportation Centers Program
    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Authors:
    • Clifton, Kelly J
    • Gehrke, Steven R
  • Publication Date: 2014-1


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Edition: Final Report
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; Maps; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 92p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01641837
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: OTREC-RR-489
  • Created Date: Jul 26 2017 9:28AM