Combining web and face-to-face in travel surveys: comparability challenges?
Response rates for household travel surveys are tending to fall, and it seems unlikely that this trend will be reversed in the future. In recent years, travel data collection methods have evolved in order to obtain reliable data that are sufficiently detailed to feed increasingly complex models, and in order to integrate new technologies into survey protocols (Internet, GPS…). Combining different media is an obvious low-cost way of improving data quality as it increases the overall response rate. But the question of the comparability of data over time and between different survey modes remains unresolved. This paper makes a comparative analysis between the travel behaviours of web-based survey respondents and respondents to a face-to-face interview. The data were obtained from the 2006 Lyon conurbation household travel survey. Our analysis shows that the Internet respondents reported fewer trips per day than the face-to-face respondents (3.00 vs. 4.04 daily trips), and that the differences between the two groups varied according to the travel mode and trip purpose. While part of this difference can be explained by socioeconomic disparities (the Internet respondents had a specific profile) we cannot exclude the possibility of under-reporting due to the web medium. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2012
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