For the last several years transportation agencies have been increasingly interested in using GPS and survey data in richer ways for travel behavior analysis and modeling. In addition, there is strong interest in new methods to stave off continued declining survey response rates, interest in better methods to conduct regular (recurrent or continuous) data collection, and most strongly a desire to reduce respondent burden for survey or data collection efforts.

The objective of the 2014-2015 “In The Moment Travel Study” is to conduct a pilot study in February-March 2015 using an activity sampling or “random moments” sampling approach via a smartphone application to capture travel behavior and characteristics with far less burden than traditional household travel diary surveys. This includes using very brief Smartphone interactions, e.g. a few minutes per interaction, but conducted multiple times per day and over multiple days, to replace survey methods that often take 20 or 30 minutes in one sitting.

As a proof of concept study, FHWA, the Madison County Council of Governments (MCCOG), and RSG, Inc are conducting this study with households who also participated in the 2014 Heartland in Motion Transportation Study household travel diary survey. By conducting this proof-of-concept study with households who participated in the spring 2014 Heartland in Motion Transportation Study, both an assessment of the accuracy and completeness of the collected smartphone application data and comparisons between the random moments sample method and traditional household travel surveys can conceivably be drawn.

In short, this study is to determine whether or not daily travel can be measured by using a random moments sample-style approach combined with a smartphone application to ultimately replace or highly supplemental traditional household travel diary methods. The survey method includes a short recruitment survey, instructions and a process for downloading and using the Android and iOS (Apple) smartphone application for a minimum of three days, and a brief follow-up survey to obtain feedback about the overall pilot experience in order to inform future smartphone GPS applications to replace traditional household travel diaries.