As of October 1, 2016, the SWUTC concluded its 28 years of operation and is no longer an active center of the Texas A&M Transportation Institute. The archived SWUTC website remains available here.

SWUTC Hosts Productive Symposium

Travel Surveys:  Moving from Tradition to Practical Innovation

The SWUTC Travel Survey Symposium was held in Dallas on November 8 and 9.  This event was attended by more than 70 travel survey professionals from across the United States, from Florida to Alaska, with one attendee from the City of Calgary (Canada) as well, representing an almost equal mix of agency, consultant, and academic researchers.  The symposium started with a poster session, featuring research from 22 related efforts.  This was followed by an opening session that included a Texas welcome from Mr. Michael Morris, Executive Director of North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) and a key note speech from Dr. Kermit Wies of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning.  Attendees were encouraged to think outside the box and consider all users of travel survey data as their customers.

The symposium was divided into two parts.  The discussion groups on Thursday focused on identifying lessons learned and opportunities to advance methods and sampling approaches, as well as considering all uses of the survey data.  The day ended with attendees presenting their versions of the “travel survey of the future” – incorporating new technologies, known and on the horizon.  Friday, the focus of the symposium discussion turned to identifying what can be implemented now and establishing a research agenda to move us toward the newly identified survey designs.  Overall, the symposium received very positive reviews from the attendees.

The Travel Survey Symposium was extraordinary in several ways.  First, it attracted a very high proportion of the true thought leaders in the field.  Second, it was very timely in that our traditional methods of travel survey have over-relied on the telephone which is failing us.  But at the same time technology such as smart phones and GPS are in wide-spread use and have great potential for travel data collection.  Finally, the program committee designed an engaging sequence of activities which deviated from the typical conference presentations and encouraged peer exchange and active participation by all attendees.   – Attendee Lisa Aultman-Hall

A compendium with details of the discussions and recommendations is in-process and anticipated to be released in mid-January 2013.

Symposium Participants

Symposium participants exchange ideas on how to sample hard-to-reach populations.