Household Travel Surveys: Not Just for Large MPOs

Over the past decade, household travel surveys have been conducted in more than 30 major metropolitan areas, including New York City, Philadelphia, the Research Triangle, Seattle, and San Francisco. At the same time, smaller MPOs such as those in Olympia, WA and Evansville, IN have also conducted travel surveys. While the scale of these surveys has been smaller (1,500 households vs. 11,000 households), the survey objectives and implementation challenges have remained the same. The main objective for most household travel surveys conducted today is the collection of travel data at the person and household level sufficient to support the development and calibration of travel demand models. These models are then used in travel forecasting and air quality planning tasks. In order to fulfill this purpose, the data must be adequate to fulfill the model’s functions of estimating trip generation and distribution, mode choice, and assignments. The 1997 Thurston County Household Travel Survey was a comprehensive survey of 1,500 households in the Olympia region of Washington. This small metropolitan area faced challenges associated with being the state capital as well as having a tremendous volume of external work trips to the metropolitan Seattle area. The objectives of the Olympia survey were to provide data for continuing development and refinement of their regional travel demand forecasting model and to provide a better understanding of travel behavior in the southern Puget Sound region of Washington. The resultant data was used to fulfill the model’s functions of estimating trip generation and distribution, mode choice, and assignments. This study collected comprehensive 48-hour travel data from 1,500 households. In Evansville, IN, a household travel survey of 1,720 households is currently underway. The purpose of this survey is to obtain accurate information on household activities and personal travel behavior in the study area which can be used to develop and calibrate travel demand models for use in travel forecasting and air quality planning. The resultant data will be used to update their existing model. The study utilizes a 24-hour diary to gather travel and activity information from the study area residents. Both the Olympia and Evansville surveys were “place-based” surveys. This method focuses the respondent on the places visited throughout the travel day as opposed to the trips or activities made and locations involved in each. While each typology (trip-based, activity-based, and place-based) can be used to collect the same travel details, the respondent burden, volume of data collected, and cost of data collection varies.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: CD-ROM
  • Pagination: 10p
  • Monograph Title: Seventh National Conference on Transportation Planning for Small and Medium-Sized Communities, September 28-30, 2000, Little Rock, Arkansas

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01042384
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Feb 27 2007 5:13PM