Travel Study Data Improves Travel Models
The Oregon Department of Transportation and Oregon’s eight Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) are conducting a statewide travel study to better understand when, where, how, and why people travel in Oregon.
As technologies evolve and travel behaviors change, transportation planners need current travel data to inform future transportation investments and prioritization. This study will help us plan for a more safe, equitable, and sustainable future transportation system. It is especially important to gather this information now at a time when patterns are changing and adapting to new conditions post pandemic in the face of inflation and housing shortages.
A pilot study was completed in April 2023 to ensure the study approach worked as planned. In addition to collecting about 15% of the total data needed from randomly selected households, the pilot study was an important step in ensuring the results will produce the information needed within reasonable cost before inviting additional households for the main study.
Between September 2023 and June 2024, about half of Oregon’s 1.6 million households will receive invitations by mail to participate in the main study.
The study is providing critical data for transportation policy decisions and investments at local, state and federal levels. “Many of the decisions we make rely on data from this study,” says Becky Knudson, ODOT senior transportation economist. “The more Oregon transportation agencies understand how and why people use their local systems, the better we can make informed investment decisions to meet their needs.”
Households are randomly selected using U.S. Postal Service data and receive invitations in the mail. Selected households can participate in the survey via a smartphone app, online, or over the phone. The goal is to collect travel information from at least 21,000 households, which will allow analysts to draw accurate insights from the data across the entire state.
Transportation planners and policymakers will use the collected data over the next 10 years to create a safer, more sustainable, and equitable transportation system for all users throughout the state. We expect to publish study results in early 2025.
Equity in data collection
Ensuring collected data represents all people in Oregon, and all the different ways they travel, is a top priority. Here’s how the study partners are casting a wide net:
• There are three ways to report travel: smartphone app, via a website, or over the phone.
• The survey is available in multiple languages across the smartphone app, website and phone line, including English, Spanish, Russian, Vietnamese, and simplified and traditional Chinese.
• Study researchers are partnering with community-based organizations to reach disadvantaged communities in ways that work best for those communities.
• Some communities and mode users will be “oversampled,” meaning more invitations will be sent to those folks to ensure we achieve the needed response rate.
Learn more at oregontravelstudy.com, which includes frequently asked questions about how it works and who to contact for more information.