Effects of survey techniques on on-board survey performance

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - north america, planning - surveys, mode - bus


Transit survey, On-board survey, Origin/destination survey


On-board survey is one of the most common survey methods utilized on transit units like buses to obtain vital information regarding customer trip characteristics, travel behavior, demographic characteristics, and customers’ attitude toward services. The quantity and the quality of data collected through on-board surveys are very critical and often are a major concern for transit systems because survey results are used for current or future route planning, modeling, etc. Thus, applying appropriate survey techniques for on-board surveys is crucial to collecting the required amount of data to fulfill the transit system's current and future needs without survey cost and time overruns. This study tested three different on-board survey techniques to quantitatively evaluate the effects of each technique on the overall response rate and unit cost. These three tests are (a) length of questionnaire, (b) incentives, and (c) surveyors. The tests were conducted on selected routes of the Tulsa Transit System. The test results indicate that different combinations of techniques will result in different response rates and unit costs. Thus, good planning and piloting tests for the different on-board survey techniques, and appropriate interpretations of the pilot test results, are crucial to acquiring the expected performance of the main survey while staying within budget.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


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