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How do people and goods move about in Michigan?

Conducting surveys of Michigan residents’ travel activity

Transportation experts at all levels of government must routinely assess people’s transportation behaviors, including how supplies are transported, to help them plan for future transportation infrastructure needs.

To support these efforts for the Michigan Department of Transportation and the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, Westat conducted household surveys of Michigan residents’ travel activity.

  • We created a research design that enabled us to select a sample of participants who represent Michigan’s different age groups, income levels, and ethnicities.
  • Households were selected from a listing of all home addresses rather than random-digit-dial telephone numbers because many households no longer have landline telephones. Using addresses as a basis for the sample helps to ensure diversity and broad coverage of participants.
  • We asked participants to report on all of their travel activity, in any mode, over the course of 1 day. They reported the data either on a customized website or in a telephone interview.
  • Some of the participants volunteered to wear a GPS device that tracked their travel for 1 day. This method provides more accurate and detailed information than a participant may provide from memory.
  • Data collection was a success, and more people than expected agreed to participate.
  • The results of our study assist both city and state planners in Michigan to address current transportation needs and to better prepare for future demand.

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