Driver-Assisted Bus Interview: Passive Transit Travel Survey with Smart Card Automatic Fare Collection System and Applications

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

operations - traffic, planning - surveys, ridership - demand, mode - bus, mode - mass transit


Trip purpose, Trip generation, Trip data, Travel surveys, Travel patterns, Travel models (Travel demand), Travel demand, Transit operating agencies, Transit lines, Transit, Traffic generation, Smart cards, Public transit lines, Public transit, Mass transit lines, Mass transit, Local transit, Integrated circuit cards, Data quality, Data integrity, Data enrichment, Data collection, Data acquisition, Contactless fare cards, Chip cards, Bus transit operations, Automatic fare collection


A new concept in transit travel surveys, called the driver-assisted bus interview, is proposed. The survey uses data that are passively gathered by smart card automatic fare collection systems on public transit. Its superiority lies in the resolution of the data as well as the continuous geographic and temporal coverage of the network and cardholders. The paper first discusses the quality of survey data. It then describes a totally disaggregate object-oriented approach as a method to understand, validate, correct, and enrich the data. The study uses one month of archived smart card boarding data from a medium-size transit agency. The data go through a validation and correction process that makes use of planned service and cardholders’ historic travel pattern. Trip data not collected by the survey are obtained through enrichment techniques. The anchor points of a cardholder can be inferred from the derived employment status, multiday travel pattern, and a trip-generator database. The procedure that infers trip destination and trip purpose for the student subgroup is explained. Advanced analysis and visualization techniques demonstrate the versatility of the data, which can be scrutinized as a travel demand survey, a special trip generator survey, a resource allocation and consumption survey, and a multiday survey.