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DVRPC To Conduct Household Travel Survey

Where are yo going and how are you getting there? DVRPC wants to know.

The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission wants to know where you’ve been, where you’re going, and how you’re getting there.

This summer, the DVRPC will conduct a Household Travel Survey in our region, to identify the Delaware Valley’s travel behaviors and to help guide future transportation projects. The DVRPC conducts this survey about once every 10 years, with the last study concluding in 2000. Similar studies are conducted nationwide for transportation planning purposes. The DVPRC’s Household Travel Survey will be administered by specialized consulting firm Abt SRBI, in collaboration with PennDOT, NJDOT, SEPTA, NJ Transit, DRPA, the City of Philadelphia and the eight other suburban counties in the Delaware Valley: Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Burlington, Camden, Gloucester and Mercer.

The agency is hoping to recruit 10,000 households throughout the Delaware Valley. The survey process will begin in July with a pilot survey and last a full 12 months, in order to account for seasonal variations in travel. The main, and official, portion of the survey will begin in August.

According to Christopher M. Puchalsky, associate director, DVRPC Technical Services Division, Office of Modeling and Analysis, households will be notified of selection by letter.

“The selection of households will be done by statistical techniques, to ensure that a representative cross-section of regional residents is obtained,” Puchalsky said.

Households that agree to participate will be mailed a survey packet, including travel diaries for each member of the household over the age of 5, and a travel day assignment. Each household member will record his or her daily travel information, including modes of travel, destinations, trip purposes and times.

Each household will record their travel behavior for a single “survey day,” Puchalsky said, and he assures that survey findings and participants’ information will be kept private.

“We will ask people to provide a lot of information about their daily travel habits, for example, ‘Where did you go, what did you do there, how long did you stay?’ and the habits of everyone in their household,” Puchalsky said. “As the father of two daughters, I understand that people may be hesitant to provide some of this useful information. For these reasons we are very, very serious about safeguarding the confidentiality of survey participants.”

The survey information will be used to provide an up-to-date data set regarding travel characteristics in the Delaware Valley, which will help to shape future transportation planning projects, like high-occupancy vehicle lanes, bicycle and pedestrian studies, access of disadvantaged populations, the Congestion Management Process, studies to evaluate the potential for electric vehicle use, and more.

In order to obtain valid statistics, Puchalsky said DVRPC is not accepting volunteers for the program.

“We hope, however, that households receiving a recruitment letter will ‘answer the call’ and participate,” he said.

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