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Assessing the representativeness of a smartphone-based household travel survey in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

P. Christopher Zegras (), Menghan Li (), Talip Kilic, Nancy Lozano-Gracia (), Ajinkya Ghorpade (), Marco Tiberti (), Ana I. Aguilera () and Fang Zhao ()
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P. Christopher Zegras: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Menghan Li: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Ajinkya Ghorpade: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Marco Tiberti: The World Bank
Ana I. Aguilera: The World Bank
Fang Zhao: Future Urban Mobility Lab

Transportation, 2018, vol. 45, issue 2, No 5, 335-363

Abstract: Abstract The household travel survey (HTS) finds itself in the midst of rapid technological change. Traditional methods are increasingly being sidelined by digital devices and computational power—for tracking movements, automatically detecting modes and activities, facilitating data collection, etc.. Smartphones have recently emerged as the latest technological enhancement. FMS is a smartphone-based prompted-recall HTS platform, consisting of an app for sensor data collection, a backend for data processing and inference, and a user interface for verification of inferences (e.g., modes, activities, times, etc.). FMS, has been deployed in several cities of the global north, including Singapore. This paper assesses the first use of FMS in a city of the global south, Dar es Salaam. FMS in Dar was implemented over a 1-month period, among 581 adults chosen from 300 randomly selected households. Individuals were provided phones with data plans and the FMS app preloaded. Verification of the collected data occurred every 3 days, via a phone interview. The experiment reveals various social and technical challenges. Models of individual likelihood to participate suggest little bias. Several socioeconomic and demographic characteristics apparently do influence, however, the number of days fully verified per individual. Similar apparent biases emerge when predicting the likelihood of a given day being verified. Some risk of non-random, non-response is, thus, evident.

Keywords: Household travel survey; Smartphones; Response rates and biases; Dar es Salaam; Tanzania (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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DOI: 10.1007/s11116-017-9851-6

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