Westat uses a wide variety of methodologies to develop, implement, and analyze regionally and nationally representative travel studies. We have researched and developed advanced computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) and personal interviewing (CAPI) capabilities, web-based questionnaires, specialized global positioning system (GPS) data collection, geocoding, and other geospatial analyses, and field methods for national and regional travel surveys. These methods target a range of groups, from general regional travelers to the elderly and persons with disabilities.
2009 National Household Travel Survey
For the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Westat conducted the 2009 National Household Travel Survey. The multicomponent CATI survey included a nationally representative 25,000 household sample and 125,000 households from 20 separate regional and statewide add-on samples, plus a separate cell phone-only sample. Geocoding of home, workplace, and trip ends was done during the interview as a feature of Westat's CATI system. Additional geospatial census data were attached to enhance each record in the delivery file. Our survey management system coordinated the timed mailings and incentives, and managed the complex sample to achieve a balanced, uniform sample across the 12 survey months.
Developing a Technique to Produce Data Products
For the Transportation Research Board, Westat is developing a technique to produce data products from the American Community Survey (ACS) that comply with census disclosure rules. The data products will be used to produce the tables needed in the Census Transportation Planning Package (CTPP) from the 2005-09 5-year ACS.
Demand for Passports Resulting from New Regulations
For the U.S. Department of State, Passport Services Office, Westat estimated the increased demand for passports resulting from new regulations requiring passports for U.S. citizens to re-enter the United States. The study included a Westat-designed personal digital assistant (PDA) CAPI survey of U.S. citizens entering the United States at Canadian and Mexican land border crossing stations.
Measuring Daily and Long-Distance Travel of All Household Occupants
For the FHWA and the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Westat conducted the pretest and the main survey for the 2001 National Household Travel Survey of 160,000 persons in 70,000 households to measure both daily and long-distance travel of all household occupants. In support of the multistage CATI survey, our GIS Unit provided in-house geocoding and geospatial data for household, workplace, and trip-end locations.
Longitudinal Household Travel Survey
Westat conducted the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments' longitudinal household travel survey annually from 1998 to 2003, measuring changes in the regional travel of more than 2,000 households each year.
Improving Public Transit Options for Older Persons
For the Transportation Research Board, Westat conducted the 2002 study on improving public transit options for older persons. We examined the demographic characteristics and functional status of the elderly, conducted focus groups of seniors and transit providers, and recommended a range of strategic options that public transit agencies could use to better serve seniors and attract additional riders.
Procedures for Household Travel Surveys
Westat assisted Louisiana State University in developing standard procedures for household travel surveys under a contract with the National Academy of Sciences/Transportation Research Board. Westat helped develop and test a set of standardized best practices for planning and conducting household travel surveys that include sampling procedures, sample design, questionnaire items, interview procedures, and case management techniques.