Using the Interact to Collect Data on Travel Behaviour
JACKSON P G, Steer Davies Gleave, PLAXTON J, POLAK J W, Imperial College, WOFINDEN D, Social and Transport Research Services, UK
Over the past decade there has been a significant growth of interest amongst policy makers in Europe in the subject of long distance travel 2. This reflects a number of factors including the increasing number and length of long distance movements (includi
Over the past decade there has been a significant growth of interest amongst policy makers in Europe in the subject of long distance travel 2. This reflects a number of factors including the increasing number and length of long distance movements (including; but not limited to, tourist movements), the increasing importance of cross- boarder flows of people and goods (especially following the liberalisation of national borders in Europe), the continuing promotion and development by the European Commission of Trans European Networks, which mainly serve long distance movements and, finally, the growing recognition of the need to manage the environmental and other impacts of increasing mobility at a European as well as a national/regional level. These factors have lead to a growing demand for information on long distance travel behaviour, and indeed, several European countries are now considering undertaking for the first time national surveys of medium and long distance travel.
But collecting such information can present particular methodological difficulties, above and beyond those normally associated with daily mobility. These include:
* Rarity: Long distance journeys tend to be undertaken much less frequently than the shorter journeys that are more commonly the focus of behavioural research. For example, long distance journeys comprise less than 1% of all travel by number, despite contributing over 20% of all passenger kilometers. This leads to the need for longer sampling periods, which in turn raises unique difficulties of respondent burden, recall, nonresponse and seasonalities.
* Complexity: Long distance movements often involve highly complex multi- day itineraries, with stop overs, breaks, detours and excursions, multiple modes and complex interchange. The greater complexity of long distance movements therefore increases the burden placed on respondents in trying to achieve accurate recall. Moreover, in contrast to daily mobility, where journeys are typically made in familiar surroundings, many long distance movements will involve travel in wholly or substantially unfamiliar environments, which is likely to exacerbate problems of recall.
* Boundary effects: Long distance journeys can often involve traversing various significant boundaries such as national borders, language frontiers, currency regions and time zones. The existence of these boundaries adds significantly to the complexity of recall and reporting, as well as making it desirable that the survey approach be capable of properly reflecting geographical differences in language and convention.
At the same time as these new methodological challenges are emerging, we are also witnessing an unprecedented growth in computing technologies in the form of the development of the World Wide Web. The WWW present a variety of new possibilities for travel data collection and is particularly suited to addressing some of the specific difficulties associated with collecting data on long distance travel. The objective of this paper is to describe work currently underway at Imperial College to develop a WWW-based travel survey tool for the collection of long distance travel data. The work forms part of the TEST (Technologies for European Surveys of Travel Behaviour) project, which is being funded by the European Commission under the Fourth Framework initiative.
Association for European Transport