Enriching activity-based models using smartphone-based travel surveys

Bat Hen Nahmias-Biran, Yafei Han, Shlomo Bekhor, Fang Zhao, Christopher Zegras, Moshe Ben-Akiva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Smartphone-based travel surveys have attracted much attention recently, for their potential to improve data quality and response rate. One of the first such survey systems, Future Mobility Sensing (FMS), leverages sensors on smartphones, and machine learning techniques to collect detailed personal travel data. The main purpose of this research is to compare data collected by FMS and traditional methods, and study the implications of using FMS data for travel behavior modeling. Since its initial field test in Singapore, FMS has been used in several large-scale household travel surveys, including one in Tel Aviv, Israel. We present comparative analyses that make use of the rich datasets from Singapore and Tel Aviv, focusing on three main aspects: (1) richness in activity behaviors observed, (2) completeness of travel and activity data, and (3) data accuracy. Results show that FMS has clear advantages over traditional travel surveys: it has higher resolution and better accuracy of times, locations, and paths; FMS represents out-of-work and leisure activities well; and reveals large variability in day-to-day activity pattern, which is inadequately captured in a one-day snapshot in typical traditional surveys. FMS also captures travel and activities that tend to be under-reported in traditional surveys such as multiple stops in a tour and work-based sub-tours. These richer and more complete and accurate data can improve future activity-based modeling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)280-291
Number of pages12
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number42
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes


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