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Introduction and Research Approach 7 1.3 Scope The research conducted in this study has focused on the design, execution, and management of personal travel surveys as conducted in the United States. This does not mean that survey practice in other countries was not considered nor that the experience of survey professionals in other coun- tries was not drawn upon, but merely that standardizing personal travel surveys in the United States was the subject of research in this study. The study team included professionals from Germany, Austria, Canada, Australia, and the United States, and survey practice in these countries was con- sidered in developing the recommendations included in this report. The research included the review of past practice, the analysis of survey data, and the execution of special purpose data collection efforts to investigate specific issues. Of the research targeted at U.S. practice, the investigation involved review of more than 50 past surveys, analysis of travel sur- vey data from 12 surveys conducted between 1990 and 2000, execution of a non-response survey, and execution of a survey to measure the impact on response rate and respondent satisfaction of a household having the same interviewer throughout the interview process. As implied by the title of the study, the research conducted in this study was limited to the consideration of personal travel surveys and excluded freight, vehicle, and inventory surveys. All forms of reporting were considered in this study including mail, telephone, face-to-face inter- view, Internet, and instrumented surveys such as the use of global positioning system (GPS) devices in tracking vehicle and person movements. However, Internet and GPS surveys were considered beyond the scope of the study because they are a new and rapidly developing form of data collection that has not matured to the point where standardization or standardized procedures would be appropriate. Similarly, all data considered in this study have been of revealed travel behavior, rather than of stated behavior as typically collected in stated preference surveys. Stated preference surveys were also considered a developing field and not recommended for standardization in this study. A sample RFP serves as a guide in the commissioning of future personal travel surveys. The sam- ple RFP describes the scope of work recommended in a travel survey and the relationship between individual components of the survey process and the standardized procedures and measures rec- ommended in this study. 1.4 Research Approach The approach adopted in this study was to conduct the research in two consecutive phases. In the first phase, potential areas for standardization were identified, the level of effort to research each estimated, and a subset selected for potential work in the second phase. In the second phase, those areas selected for investigation were formulated into standardized procedures or guidelines, depending on the level of specificity thought to be appropriate. It must be stressed that it was not the intention in this study to establish standards. Rather, the goal of the study was to develop rec- ommended standardized procedures or guidelines for consistent practice that agencies could require in the surveys conducted in their areas or that survey practitioners would voluntarily apply. The research in this study was initiated by a literature review on personal travel surveys, as well as a review of relevant research and current practice of state Departments of Transportation (DOTs) and MPOs. Standardized procedures used or promoted by survey research organizations or associations--such as the Council of American Survey Research Organizations (CASRO), the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR), and the International Stan- dards Organization (ISO)--were also reviewed. The procedures and assessment measures were identified as candidate procedures for stan- dardization in the study using information from two sources. First, candidate procedures and
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8 Standardized Procedures for Personal Travel Surveys measures were identified from the literature and practice review. Second, they were identified by considering the chronological steps in survey planning and execution, similar to that defined by Richardson et al. (1995) and shown in Figure 1. In reviewing each step of the process, the elements that appeared susceptible to standardization were identified based on the literature review, on team members' experience, and on the potential for standardization to aid or stagnate the design of personal travel surveys. Once identified, the candidate procedures for standardization were evaluated. The criteria used to evaluate them included extent of current use, perceived value, affordability, common definition, uniform method of application, and whether there were interdependencies between the procedure or measure and other procedures or measures. Weights were assigned to the criteria, and each can- didate procedure or measure was scored on the criteria. A total score for each candidate process was established by summing the product of the weight and score on each criterion. These scores were used to prioritize the candidate procedures for review in the remainder of the project. Some survey procedures and assessment measures required no further work before being rec- ommended as a standardized procedure, but most required further analysis to assess their effec- tiveness and applicability. Some procedures and measures were tested using existing data sets, such as the 1995 Nationwide Personal Transportation Survey (NPTS), or recent metropolitan travel sur- veys. Two surveys were specifically conducted to address issues that could not be answered using existing data. The first survey involved testing the impact of having the same interviewer (or at least a limited number of interviewers) deal with the same household throughout the survey. The results were compared with those using regular interviewing procedures where there was no attempt to keep the same interviewer in consecutive contact with the same household. The second survey involved undertaking a non-response survey to determine the probable reasons for refusing to respond or for terminating part way through the survey process. The results were used to suggest strategies that could be used to increase response rates by changing aspects of the design and con- duct of the survey. Pre-Survey Planning Selection of Sample Survey Method Design Survey Pilot Instrument Test(s) Design Survey Fielding Data Data Coding Editing Data Correction Data and Expansion Analysis Cleaning Up Presentation of Results Figure 1. The transportation survey process (Richardson et al., 1995).