Innovation of the Dutch National Travel Survey; Implementation of the New Design

Innovation of the Dutch National Travel Survey; Implementation of the New Design


Remko Smit, Rijkswaterstaat, Water Traffic and the Environment, Martine Mol, Satistics Netherlands, Jan Van Der Waard, KiM Netherlands Institute for Transport Policy Analysis


Over the years 2015-2017 an innovation programme for the Dutch NTS is conducted with the aim of implementing a new design in 2018. The paper describes the new design for the NTS that will be implemented in January 2018


Traditional travel surveys serve as the ‘backbone’ of many models, and source of overall insight in mobility and (developments in) travel behavior at regional / national level. It is to be expected that traditional surveys will continue to be an important source of information and explanation of (developments in) travel behavior.
Information from the NTS is basically used for three purposes:
1. Monitoring, requirements:
- Stable time series over the years
- Low statistical margins
- Topics mostly known in advance
2. Explanation of trends and developments in travel behaviour
3. Strategic National and Regional models
For explanation and models a lot of background information of the respondents (age, gender, income etc..) is needed. These last two purposes have typically a broad scope, topics and required information in the survey are not always known in advance.

A NTS is complex, and the costs are high. In order to realize better control of the costs versus quality an innovation program was started. The goal of this program is to innovate the Dutch NTS with new techniques of data collection, survey design and mode design.

The Dutch NTS has been a continuous travel survey starting 1978. Since then it has run with some changes and with a varying annual sample. The sample of the NTS that will be run for 2015-2017 will be 35.000 net respondents per year.
Parallel to the 2015-2017 contract Rijkswaterstaat, Statistics Netherlands and KiM are conducting an innovation program. The innovation program will define a new design of the Dutch NTS that will be implemented in 2018. The aim is to get better control on the costs of the survey whilst maintaining its quality.
The innovation program has three stages. In 2015 a broad exploration was conducted both directed to improve the current design as well as investigate radical new possibilities like big data applications and new data collection techniques. In 2016 the research has focused on the most promising approaches that emerged from the 2015 exploration. In 2017 the new design will be developed, tested and prepared for implementation in 2018.
The 2015 research concluded that a more or less traditional personal travel diary survey will stay to be the core of a new NTS. Some new data collection techniques may be incorporated in this new survey. This was concluded based on the results of a work program consisting of 8 topics (Non-Response analysis, Stakeholder analysis, Test incentives, Big data, Data collection methods, Public Transport chipcard data, Small Area Estimators, Relation OViN-The Netherlands Mobility Panel (MPN)).
In 2016 the research focused on Data collection techniques (also use of GPS loggers, Smart Phone), Respondent approach and Questionnaire design. Besides these topics trend modelling in combination with techniques for Small Domain Estimators and use of PT chipcard data were investigated.
The results of the research will be implemented in a new design for the NTS 2018. The new design will be based on a renewed respondent approach with (1) improved letters and supporting communication products such as folder and motivation video, (2) conditional incentives and (3) a renewed questionnaire that exploits the possibilities of the new questionnaire software Blaise V. In order to balance costs and quality there will not be a full CAW-CATI-CAPI design anymore, but a design that is based on CAWI only with additional CATI (and maybe CAPI) follow-up modes for specific groups.


Association for European Transport