Workshop descriptions

1. Bringing Location-Aware Technologies into the Travel Survey Mainstream:  Complement or Stand-Alone?

Location-aware technologies, suitable for the support of transport surveys, are maturing rapidly, both for custom-built survey devices and as a component of increasingly ubiquitous “smart” mobile telephony and portable computing.  The most important developments in the past three years have been in person-based surveys, but at the same time vehicle-based surveys have also improved, especially those combining data on drivers and passengers with data streams from on-board systems that monitor vehicle performance, energy and emissions.  In personal travel surveys, the recent past has seen the first 100% GPS-based applications, alongside a growing variety of subsample strategies intended to cross-validate results with more conventional methods.  There is also a new questioning of the role, in overall data collection strategies, for both passively monitored travel over extended periods, and actively validated trace data (through prompted recall).  In part, this is about new combinations of sensor technologies (accelerometers, air quality sensors, ambient noise recorders, etc.).   It is also about combining these technologies with interviews or questionnaires on the attributes of travellers, travel and activities that can be interpreted more meaningfully because of the duration and fidelity of automated observation.

2. Cognitive and Decision Processes Underlying Engagement in Stated Response Surveys

Recent research into the ways travel and activity participation decisions are made has paid increasing attention to the degree to which respondents are engaged in the tasks and experiments that they are asked to undertake in Stated Response surveys, notably those using Stated Preference and Stated Adaptation methods.  Much of the methodological debate focuses on the relevance of attributes and of associated information (whether supplied in the survey or not), and the nature of heuristics.  This workshop will explore these and other issues based on recent methodological experiments in a number of countries, including Australia, the United States and Switzerland.

3. Measuring the Influence of Attitudes and Perceptions

In developing methods to more accurately forecast activity and travel behaviors, transportation researchers have increased the study of attitudes and perceptions and their connections to travel behavior. Travel attitudes / perceptions and the relationship to behavior can be and have been studied in many ways, but generally the emphasis has been on the measurement of behavior (which is of greater interest to planners and more applicable for policymakers).  Focusing on the measurement of perceptions, attitudes and intentions is still uncommon and presents unique challenges as will be explored in this workshop session.   In addition this workshop expands the exploration of the impact of attitudes and perceptions on behaviors to examine their influence on people’s engagement in the survey task itself.  Key questions to be explored include:  How do we define attitudes?  Perceptions?  How do we measure them?  How are attitudes and perceptions formed?  How and when do they influence behavior?

4. Longitudinal Methods:  Overcoming Challenges and Exploiting Benefits

The phrase “longitudinal survey” covers many different types of designs – retrospective, continuous, panels, and multi-day surveys.  While the transportation research community widely believes that longitudinal surveys provide much deeper insight into behavioral processes than do cross-sectional surveys, the designs have not been widely implemented.   Longitudinal studies track the same people, events, or behaviors over time, which brings particular methodological challenges.   Even with these challenges, longitudinal surveys provide unique benefits such as expanded opportunities for dynamic travel behavior analysis, providing more responsive survey information to support policy and planning information needs, and bringing potential statistical and cost efficiencies to future survey efforts.  This workshop session explores the challenges and benefits of different types of longitudinal surveys in the light of recent experience.

5. Methods for Capturing Multi-Horizon Choices

Transportation researchers are being confronted by new questions about decisions that span multiple time horizons.  These include:  long-term strategic commitments such as residence location or mobility tools  (e.g. vehicle ownership, public transport season tickets, or subscriptions to shared vehicle services); tactical short-term daily choices such as alternative destinations, travel timing, route, mode or accompanying persons; and en route choices such as spontaneous activity stops or re-routing.  In the longer time frame of a year or several years, households may change in composition, acquire a vehicle, move to another house, or have a member join or depart from the labour force or change jobs. Travel surveys sometimes include the history of long-term choices, but the interdependence between short- and long-term choices is poorly understood and rarely addressed.  While the importance of long-term choices in conditioning short-term activity and travel behavior is generally acknowledged, the possibility that short-term and long-term choices are mutually informed is commonly ignored.  This workshop explores the complexities of measuring and analyzing these multi-horizon choices and their interdependencies.

6. Designing New Survey Interfaces and Front-End Software

Transportation survey methodologists are increasingly turning to information technologies and geomatics to enhance data quality, to decrease respondent burden, to lower costs and, eventually, to design continuous self-administered surveys that are predominantly passive.  There is still a lot of work to do to understand the usability and relevance of these survey interfaces to gather complex spatial-temporal data on daily travels.  Good designs depend on a strong understanding of web technologies and an excellent sense of graphic design, layout and style to build high performance front-end user-interface components that engage the users.   The very growth in computing power and design options for the latest systems also means that there are more opportunities to get it wrong – to design systems that do not comprise an effectively integrated information system that works well as a whole.  This workshop session presents models of recent integrated survey systems and the challenges and solutions that were a part of their development.

7. Post Processing of Spatio-Temporal Data

With advances in remote sensors, sensor networks, and the proliferation of location sensing devices in daily use and survey practice, the generation of disaggregated, dynamic, and geographically distributed spatiotemporal data has exploded in recent years.  The rate at which geospatial data are being generated challenges our ability to organize and analyze them to extract patterns critical for understanding in a timely manner dynamically-changing travel behavior patterns. More specifically, efficient and reliable data processing and mining techniques are needed for extracting useful geoinformation from large heterogeneous, often multi-modal spatiotemporal datasets.  The workshop will concentrate on the broad set of experiences available on methods and routines to capture spatial and temporal characteristics of travel behavior.  Such methods include post-survey prompted-recall interviews as well as statistical, GIS, and expert based systems. Examples of key issues to be discussed include techniques to identify trip characteristics such as destination, modes, stage and types; as well as routines for data cleaning and validation.

8. Exploring and Merging Passive Public Transport Data Streams

The availability of large data sets from passive public transport data streams such as smart cards, web-based services, and simplified count techniques, provides interesting opportunities to gather information about the demand and performance of public transport systems. The workshop will concentrate on experiences on analyzing and merging this rich information as a way of collecting and analyzing key characteristics of public transport systems from around the world.

9. Validating Shifts in the Total Design of Travel Surveys

The process of trying to achieve an optimum balance in survey design decisions to achieve the best total quality is known as the “total survey design” approach.  In this approach, major efforts are taken to better understand, and therefore, to control both sampling and non-sampling errors throughout the design, capture, processing, and analysis of survey data.  New approaches available to design travel surveys promise the capability of collecting better quality data while accommodating increasing budget restrictions and expectations.   But the implications of these shifts in total survey design have not been well researched or documented.  This workshop focuses on important issues in understanding the implications of implementing changes in survey design, such as improvements in telephone instruments, using GPS devices, or developing online survey systems.  What are the implications in terms of the validity and reliability of the resulting information and for its utility for transportation planning and policy-making?

10. Comparative Research into Survey Methods

This workshop focuses on research that was explicitly undertaken to compare different transport survey methods for collecting information in one or more specific contexts.  In part, such research addresses shifts in the challenges faced by transport survey methodologists, such as the decline in importance of location-specific telephones or the increasing need to support multiple languages in some urban regions – but two of many relevant examples. This Workshop also reflects the need for the comparative testing of recent developments in survey methods, including but not limited to biographical, CATI, CASI and web interviews, technological aids, and complementary data.  The discussions will center on the pros and cons of each technique in different transport-related contexts.

11. Survey Methods to inform Policy: Environment, Energy, Climate, and Natural Disasters

Widespread contemporary awareness of environmental issues has raised important questions, such as how to achieve a clean, carbon-neutral and more secure energy future, or how to define evacuation policies and programmes in case of natural disasters.  Survey and analysis tools are needed to study the interaction of the transport system and the environment, especially regarding energy demand, atmospheric emissions, and impacts on ecosystems, as well as the disruption of transport systems by extreme natural events such as earthquakes, tsunamis, cyclones and floods.  The aim of this workshop is to discuss the data collection methods and the variables required for modelling the environmental performance of the transport system, and the potential for improving performance through changes in technology, infrastructure, or regulation, with due regard to the behavioural response of users.  A particular interest is the dynamics of user behaviour when facing unexpected events.

12. Multi method data collection to support integrated regional models

Much has happened in the past decade to develop integrated regional models of land-use and transport systems, and their environmental impacts, as decision-support tools for urban regions.  Used as a complement to well-established network-based travel demand forecasting models, they allow decision-makers to “try on for size” (in a sensitivity-testing sense) different scenarios for technology, markets and policy, and to compare different development paths for the region.  Many sub-models covering different decision-making agents, including individuals, households, developers, employers and regulators, are designed to interact in integrated modelling platforms using the best available agent-based and econometric methods. More than ever, behavioural mechanisms for all agents need to be founded in an understanding of the spatial and temporal patterns of the activities of transport users. What is the feasible best data-collection strategy to both specify and run this new generation of integrated regional models?  Are the available survey toolsets adequate for the purpose, or is new survey methodological research required?  This workshop is charged with determining the state of these questions, and making recommendations for survey research in the shorter and longer terms.

13. Alternative Approaches to Freight Surveys

There are fundamental differences between passenger travel and freight travel that point to the need for alternative approaches for freight surveys.  Such differences include that fact that the items being transported range from an urgent single parcel to non-urgent bulk shipments of thousands of tons, several actors influence the travel itinerary of freight items, and service frequency and transport costs for shipments are often undefined until a potential sender makes an enquiry.  This workshop will examine different methods, techniques, and results of current efforts to survey and collect data on freight transportation.   This topic is of growing interest for urban and regional policy-makers, as evidenced by the increasing number of surveys being undertaken worldwide.  This trend is likely to continue given pressures for improved air quality in urban areas, pressures to regulate and reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases, and pressures imposed on logistics chains by increasing fuel prices.  Because primary data collection is expensive and often difficult to justify, the workshop includes a focus on the feasibility and benefits of linking survey data with data from informatics such as roadway, on-board vehicle, and wide area sensors.

14. Collecting Qualitative and Quantitative Data on the Social Context of Travel Behavior

Recent interest in understanding the social context of travel behavior has been framed by an array of transport-related questions.  While neglected in the past, these questions are associated with emerging policy concerns, such as inter-generational and transport-related social exclusion, as well as ways to promote pro-environment travel behavior. In this context, some examples of key research questions are the direct role of interpersonal interactions on transport related decisions, such as leisure travel, residential location, and auto ownership, as well as the relevance of social influence, cohesion and trust on travel decisions, such as mode choice. The scope of these questions requires innovative data collection methods that could incorporate and adapt a diversity of methods from social sciences, both qualitative and quantitative. This workshop will review recent practical experiences as well as explore opportunities for applying methods from social sciences and other related fields as we seek to capture the inherent complexity of the role of the social context in travel behavior.