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March 30, 2012 > Caltrans to survey California travelers

Caltrans to survey California travelers

Survey will sample 10,000 Bay Area households to help regional agencies develop long-range Transportation and Housing/Land-Use Plan

Submitted By MTC

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area's transportation planning, coordinating and financing agency, is supporting a statewide survey of California residents' travel behavior as part of an effort to help government agencies plan for transportation investments. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is conducting the comprehensive two-phase "California Household Travel Survey" with support from the California Energy Commission and all 18 Metropolitan Planning Organizations in California, including MTC.

MTC is contributing funding to the statewide effort to increase the Bay Area survey size. In total, approximately 10,000 Bay Area households are being surveyed about their demographic and travel characteristics to help inform the development of Plan Bay Area, the region's long-range transportation and housing/land-use plan. Data collected by the travel survey will also be used to better understand the travel behavior of different groups within the Bay Area and to inform transportation funding and policy decisions.

"We encourage all Bay Area residents who are invited to participate, even if they do not use transit or travel much," said MTC Chair Adrienne J. Tissier. "The findings will help us make decisions about future transit service improvements and infrastructure enhancements."

A random sample of California households will be contacted and asked to participate in the survey. If a contacted household chooses to participate, an independent survey firm, PTV NuStats, will ask questions about their household, including some initial questions about their travel habits (Phase 1). All participants, including residents who do not have a landline telephone or an unlisted number, will be offered the option to take the survey online or by phone on a toll free number.

After the initial household recruitment interview, respondents will be sent travel diaries for all household members to complete on an assigned travel date. Household members will indicate the places they visited, the times they traveled and how they got to and from each location and what they did there (Phase 2). PTV NuStats will collect travel information from approximately 52,000 California households. Some will be asked to use Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and On-Board Diagnostic (OBD) devices to record actual vehicle and/or person movements and engine operation. About 3,000 households within the Bay Area will be asked to carry personal GPS devices and a much smaller number asked to use the vehicle GPS devices.

The results from this survey will also help the sponsoring agencies develop plans for transportation improvements that affect mobility, access to jobs, air quality and quality of life in the region.

The survey will continue until February 2013.

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