Gathering travel behaviour via a smartphone: a pilot study of the Dutch mobile mobility panel

Sander Veenstra, Karst Teunis Geurs

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractOther research output

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Objective: With the rise of Smartphone use, a new method of travel behaviour data acquisition arises as well. The Smartphone, carrying numerous sensors including GPS, may allow for registered data acquisition instead of reported data from the traditional travel diary surveys. In this research, we use an automated trip registration procedure via a Smartphone application in contrast to self-registration. This survey design may cater for a reduction in under registration of trips in comparison to self-registration and therefore provides a benchmark for the quality of the traditional travel diary surveys. However, the use of Smartphone’s in the acquisition of travel behaviour data is still in an emerging phase and the potential is still largely unclear. The objective of this study is to assess the potential of using a Smartphone in the process of data acquisition of travel behaviour by evaluating the accuracy of measurement, battery life and participant burden in a pilot study. Methodology: To assess the potential of using the Smartphone in travel behaviour data acquisition, we will evaluate the functionality and the user experience of the MoveSmarter-application during the pilot study of the Dutch Mobile Mobility Panel (DMMP). This panel, containing over 500 individuals, will be monitored for 4 weeks and are paid for their cooperation. We provide some non-smartphone-users in the sample group with a Smartphone with the MoveSmarter-application installed. The application uses the data from the GPS-sensor in the Smartphone to recognize trips of an individual. After processing the data, information per trip can be extracted such as distance travelled, time spent, (average) speed, modality used and travel purpose. Furthermore, the respondents are asked roughly twice per week to verify and, if needed, to correct the processed trip information using a web interface to ensure the accuracy of the trip overview. Moreover, the respondents are asked to answer some additional questions about their travel choices as well. On a daily basis the respondents are asked if there were any circumstances that influenced their travel choices (e.g. weather conditions and delays in the transport system). Results: The results of the pilot study will show the potential of using Smartphone for the acquisition of travel behaviour data. The results will be analyzed from an accuracy, technical and usability viewpoint. Firstly, the data gathered should accurately reflect the travel behaviour of the participants. All trips made should be detected and an accurate estimation of the trip purpose and modality should be made. Secondly, the Smartphone’s and measurement application should not use too much of the Smartphone’s resources to ensure sufficient battery life (i.e. recharging only once per day). Finally, participating in a travel behaviour study as such should not come with a large burden on the respondent. The evaluation of the pilot study will reflect on the balance between these three elements in using Smartphone’s for travel behaviour research and will provide suggestions for future application in longitudinal travel behaviour research in combination or eventually as a substitute for the widely-used cross-sectional one-day travel surveys.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jun 2013
EventXII NECTAR 2013 International Conference: Dynamics of Global and Local Networks - University of Azores, Sao Miguel Island, Portugal
Duration: 16 Jun 201318 Jun 2013
Conference number: 12


ConferenceXII NECTAR 2013 International Conference
Abbreviated titleNECTAR 2013
CitySao Miguel Island


  • IR-96281
  • METIS-317915


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