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Massachusetts Travel Survey

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The Massachusetts Travel Survey (MTS) was a large-scale effort (the first since 1991) that collected information on
residents' travel patterns, preferences, and behavior to help build a fuller, more accurate picture of transportation needs. This MassDOT project is providing the data necessary to define travel patterns on the Commonwealth's highway and transit networks.  This data is used for projections of expected future highway traffic and transit ridership throughout the state. The information that has been gathered will help MassDOT to prioritize its investments, and was also part of federal requirements to ensure compliance with air quality standards in Massachusetts.

Between June 2010 and November 2011, MassDOT contractors asked over 15,000 households to identify where and how they traveled on a specific, designated travel day (24 hours). In order to ensure a sample that was representative of the Massachusetts population, each household was asked a series of detailed questions about their socioeconomic characteristics and access to transportation.

The MTS was completely confidential for participants, as personal identifying information was separated from all responses collected before the results were provided to MassDOT. Publicly available data is summarized by geographic area and general socioeconomic categories, and can be found in the final report and appendices [5 MB]. In the coming months, additional detailed information on specific travel patterns, preferences, and activities will become available to researchers and interested parties on an incremental release basis (similar to the U.S. Census), as the final data sets are fully processed to protect the personal and location information of all households.

Note that the MTS is not an attitudinal, or "stated-preference" survey, so respondents were not asked the what would you do types of questions. Other surveys have been (and will continue to be) used to gather that type of information.  The MTS is an activity survey that measures what people actually do in terms of how far they travel (and to where, and when), what mode(s) they take, how much they pay for parking, etc.  Especially taken collectively, what people say they are willing to do, then what they actually do, are often quite different - that is why collecting the actual behavioral information is so important.

For additional information on the Massachusetts Travel Survey, see the Project Summary, click on the additional topics below or contact Bob Frey at (857) 368-9800.

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