Current Issues in Travel and Transport Demand Surveys



Current Issues in Travel and Transport Demand Surveys

Authors

BONSALL P, University of Leeds and AMPT E, Steer Davies Gleave, UK

Description

This paper represents the authors' personal views on what they consider to be the main issues in current transport survey methodology. It was prompted by discussions before, during and after the fourth International Conference on Survey Methods in Transpo

Abstract

This paper represents the authors' personal views on what they consider to be the main issues in current transport survey methodology. It was prompted by discussions before, during and after the fourth International Conference on Survey Methods in Transport (ICSMIT) which we organised in Steeple Aston, Oxford, in September 1996.

Before moving to the main content of the paper, it is useful to indicate the origin, role and outcome of the Steeple Aston event. Previous ICSMIT conferences had been held in Grainau, Germany (1977) Hungerford Hill, NSW Australia (1983) (Ampt et al., 1985), and Washington, DC (1990) (Ampt et al., 1993). The fourth conference was organlsed as a three-day meeting for invited experts with the aim of sharing the latest thinking on current issues in transport survey methodologies. Delegates were invited on the basis of their active involvement in the development and use of state-of-the-art methods. Some were invited to speak on specified aspects of their recently published work while others were asked to present work which was as yet unpublished. Their experience brought examples of survey methodology from the United Kingdom, mainland Europe, the United States of America, Canada and Australia.

Several ongoing conference series deal with survey methods as part of their wider remit: for example the Transportation Research Board Conference (TRB), The European Transport Forum, the World Conference on Transport Research, and the conference of the International Association of Travel Behaviour Research, but the ICSMIT series is unique in devoting its attention exehisively to methodological issues of transport and travel surveys.

Another conference deserves special recognition here - Transport Surveys: Raising the Standard - held in Eibsee, Germany in May 1997. This conference was conceived as a forum to help advance quality standards in all phases of the travel survey effort - an issue which was highlighted at the Steeple Aston conference and which had emerged at many recent meetings (e.g. The Conference on Household Travel Surveys, Irvine, California, 1994; and the Colloquium of Urban Travel Movement, Lyon, France, 1995).

We suggest that there are two major motivations for the conduct of travei and transport demand surveys. The first is to provide usage and user profile information for system operators as an input to their strategic and tactical management decisions.

The second is to provide more detailed input to analyses which are intended to improve our ability to understand or predict behaviour. The first group constitutes the bulk of the survey activity in practice, however, perhaps because of its greater intellectual content, it is the second group which tends to attract most interest from academics and conference-attending professionals.

The emphasis of the fourth ICSMIT reflected this interest and so concentrated on surveys involving some form of interview or questionnaire with transport system users or potential users. As conference organisers, we had also recognised the growing importance of automatic and semi-automatic means of monitoring the usage of the transport system but had concluded that there would not be time to do them justice within the same programme as the interview/questionnaire survey issues.

Publisher

Association for European Transport