Using Internet-based marketplaces to conduct surveys: An application to airline itinerary choice models

Within the transportation community, there has been increasing interest in using online outsourcing platforms such as Amazon Mechanical Turk (AMT) to conduct surveys. To date, transportation researchers’ use of AMT has been justified based on findings from studies in other fields. That is, to the best of the authors' knowledge, there has been no study that has evaluated how the distribution of responses associated with each question and behavioral model estimated from AMT survey data compares to survey data collected from a traditional platform for a travel behavior application. This paper fills an important gap in the literature by examining (1) whether the distributions of responses from AMT and Qualtrics (a traditional market research firm) respondents are statistically equivalent, and (2) whether itinerary choice models estimated from these two surveys are statistically equivalent? Results show that AMT and Qualtrics respondents reported similar air trip characteristics and were drawn from a similar geographic distribution, but they exhibited distinct sociodemographic characteristics. After controlling for different age distributions in the two datasets, the authors found that airline itinerary choice models estimated from the AMT and Qualtrics survey data produced similar results, with the key difference related to price sensitivities. The authors' study provides preliminary evidence on the viability of using AMT and similar online outsourcing platforms for air travel behavior studies.


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  • Accession Number: 01705216
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: May 15 2019 3:05PM