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GIS as a tool for selection of sample areas in a travel behaviour survey

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Anna Fraszczyk


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Whilst Geographical Information Systems (GIS) are now used more commonly in transport research and modelling, GIS techniques were used in this study to select similar sample areas (in terms of geography and census attributes) for data collection. For this purpose, a GIS mapping system for Tyne and Wear, UK, was built. The system included topographic maps of the area, boundary maps of Lower Super Output Areas (LSOA), and aggregated census statistics datasets for LSOAs. Criteria relating to census attributes and the nature of transport were employed to identify ‘hotspots’ by GIS enquiry to provide suitably matching areas, which then formed the basis of the sampling frame.The research project was concerned with commuters’ travel choices and so the study needed to identify commuters. In this case-study context, it is not possible to select fully homogeneous areas, so the GIS ‘hotspots’ approach allowed the identification of areas where there were a high concentration of commuters with multiple alternatives for travel to work. A pilot study showed that the GIS origin-based approach was good in collecting a balanced sample, as compared to an employment-based destination survey. This paper explores the benefits and costs of these origin- and destination-based approaches. In the origin-based home sample, households with paper-based surveys were targeted after identification by GIS. This origin approach requires more data preparation compared to the alternative of an employer-based, destination-based sample that could use online survey methodologies.The paper concludes by identifying GIS as an important tool in selecting a sample area for data collection using multiple criteria, but argues that plans for data collection need to be flexibly constructed to overcome unexpected challenges. Although this paper focuses on a transport research case study, the methodology presented can be applied to survey design and selection of sample areas in other disciplines.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Fraszczyk A, Mulley C

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Transport Geography

Year: 2014

Volume: 34

Pages: 233-242

Print publication date: 01/01/2014

Online publication date: 07/08/2013

ISSN (print): 0966-6923

ISSN (electronic): 1873-1236

Publisher: Pergamon


DOI: 10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2013.06.018


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