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Rounding of Arrival and Departure Times in Travel Surveys: An Interpretation in Terms of Scheduled Activities


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  • Piet Rietveld

    (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)


In travel surveys most respondents apply rounding of departure andarrival times to multiples of 5, 15 and 30minutes: in the annual Dutch travel survey about 85-95 percent of allreported times are 'round' ones. We estimaterounding models for departure and arrival times. The model allows oneto compute the probability that a reportedarrival time m (say m=9: 15 am) means that the actual arrival timeequals n (say m=9:21 am). Departure timesappear to be rounded much more frequently than arrival times. Aninterpretation for this result is offered bydistinguishing between scheduled and non-scheduled activities, and byaddressing the role of transitory activities.We argue that explicitly addressing rounding of arrival and departuretimes will have at least three positive effects.1. It leads to a considerably better treatment of variances ofreported travel times. 2. It enables one to avoid biasesin the computation of average transport times based on travelsurveys. 3. It overcomes the problem that the use oftravel survey data for the minute-per-minute records of thedevelopment of the number of persons in trafficdisplays erratic patterns.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Tinbergen Institute in its series Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers with number 01-110/3.

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Date of creation: 20 Nov 2001
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Handle: RePEc:dgr:uvatin:20010110

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Keywords: travel time; transitory activities; rounding; Bayesian approach; scheduling;

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  1. Small, K.A. & Gomez-Ibanez, J.A., 1996. "Urban Transportation," Papers 95-96-4, California Irvine - School of Social Sciences.
  2. Small, Kenneth A, 1982. "The Scheduling of Consumer Activities: Work Trips," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(3), pages 467-79, June.
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Cited by:
  1. H. Schneeweiss & J. Komlos & A. Ahmad, 2010. "Symmetric and asymmetric rounding: a review and some new results," AStA Advances in Statistical Analysis, Springer, vol. 94(3), pages 247-271, September.
  2. Peter Stopher & Camden FitzGerald & Min Xu, 2007. "Assessing the accuracy of the Sydney Household Travel Survey with GPS," Transportation, Springer, vol. 34(6), pages 723-741, November.


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