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New Methods and Technologies for complex activity diary surveys - The SIMPT experience

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New Methods and Technologies for complex activity diary surveys - The SIMPT experience. B e rnhard Fell, Thomas Haupt, Uwe Reiter Budapest, 27.4.2006. PTV travel surveys at a glance. 15 years experience in planning, conducting and analysing travel surveys

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New Methods and Technologies for complex activity diary surveys - The SIMPT experience

Bernhard Fell, Thomas Haupt, Uwe Reiter

Budapest, 27.4.2006


PTV travel surveys at a glance

  • 15 years experience in planning, conducting and analysing travel surveys
  • Travel diaries with activity-based approach
  • Sample range from 200 to over 20,000 households
  • Mainly CATI with web-based data collection and quality enhancement
  • Two-stage surveys: Stated Preferences based on given trips and situational experiments
  • Travel behaviour modelling
  • Research projects to understand the causal relationship behind human mobility

NHTS Italy

  • National household travel survey for the Italian transportation model SIMPT (Sistema Informativo per il Monitoraggio e la Pianificazione dei Trasporti)
  • Covering summer and winter mobility (two demand models)
  • Concurrent panel and one-off survey
  • Focus: cross-border travel between provinces
  • Correct determination of trip rates for the whole spectrum of trip lengths
  • Net sample: 21,779 households
  • Duration of the actual field survey: 12 months
  • Application of „virtual call center“ technique (VCC)
  • CATI with web-based data collection and realtime eService requests for quality control

Multi-level mobility survey

Questionnaire: Overview


Section A: Household data 1

Persons, vehicles, household head, accessibility of PT stops, telecommunications, income

Section B: Person data 1

Year of birth, occupational status, PT season tickets, driving licence, car availability, normality of reporting week

Section C: Everyday trips 3

Trip diary; reporting period 1 day

Section D: International journeys 1

Number of journeys + 3 most recent in detail; reporting period 6 months

Section E: Long/medium distance trips 8

Trip diary; domestic trips only; reporting period 1 day


Questionnaire: Long/medium distance trips (LDT)

All LDT in this section restricted

to domestic trips


Definition of a long-distance trip

  • Pilot study in May/June 2004 to determine the optimal survey design
  • Section E was tested in four different versions depending on the minimum distance and the reporting period:

*without commuter trips

 Main study: Trips over 20 km OR inter-provincial trips

7 reporting days


Survey phases

  • Winter phase breakdown into one-off and triple survey (panel)
  • Recruitment of panel participants during the summer period: 81% of the respondents joined the panel
  • No replenishment of panel loss: 56% of the original recruits remained until the final panel wave

Why a panel?


    • Knowledge not only about collective but also about individual variation in terms of activity and mobility patterns
  • One-off survey: 20% transit share
  • Panel survey: 15% are always the same people, 5% alternating
    • Less variance of data
    • Lower costs for model update
    • Better understanding of long-term changes
    • Identification of multi-modal person groups


    • Panel mortality and fatigue

 Combination of one-time and panel survey


Survey progression (winter phase 2004-05)

Easter break

Christmas break

Partial exchange

of address stock

Technical problems!

Problems finally solved


PTV eServices

enable realtime geocoding, routing and mapping



Enter trip destination

Activates geocoding

Trip form


Scalable map

Select correct address

from proposals


Navigation between trips

Activates routing


Single trip

Trip chain

Calculates distance and time



VCC technology offers several control functions to the survey manager

  • Names of interviewers currently logged-in
  • Log-in and log-out times for each interviewer
  • Completed interviews per interviewer and period
  • Completed and missing interviews per province
  • Trip rates per interviewer and household



Assessment and outlook

  • Multi-level mobility approach with particular designs seems to be trend-setting for travel surveys
  • VCC technology works very well in terms of robustness and speed
  • Commercially rewarding: reduction of the costs per response unit in comparison to established techniques
  • Large flexibility in the disposition of workplaces and staff
  • Permanent monitoring, realtime control and electronic timestamps improve staff morale and affects data quality positively
  • Application of eServices for geocoding, mapping and routing during the interview boosts correct localisation of addresses


PTV – cutting edge mobility.

PTV Planung Transport Verkehr AG

D-76131 Karlsruhe