Officials hope to learn travel behaviours to determine future transportation

The City of Calgary’s transportation department is conducting a survey that asks households to record their travel experiences for a day.

Whether you take transit or drive, the survey aims to gather information about travel behaviours that will help future transportation decision-making.

Invitations to participate in the survey are being sent out in the mail to random households from now until March.

Kristina Hill, project coordinator for the transportation forecasting division of the city, said that there will be 100,000 to 200,000 invitations sent out to the Calgary region. Currently, 2,500 households have responded, she added.

Once receiving the invitation, the first step is to respond by filling out an online survey.

Hill said the first part of the survey is to collect basic household information on what affects people’s travel decisions.

“We find that we don’t really make the decision of how we’re going to travel as we’re leaving the door in the morning,” Hill said. “You’ve kind of already made that decision based on who you live with, how old you are and what you need to do over the course of the day.”The City of Calgary has sent out over 100,000 invitations to Calgarians to participate in a transit survey and track their travel choices for a day.
Photo by: Aryn Guthrie

After responding, participants will then be assigned a day to document their typical travel experiences for a 24-hour period.

Hill said this information is used to run tests which would allow the city to predict future impacts if they were to put in a new interchange or an LRT line.

Participants are allowed to opt out of the survey if they wish.

Erik Paul, who lives in southwest Calgary, uses his car as a primary means to get around. He said one of the biggest transportation problems he sees is the traffic build-up at the Crowchild Trail and Kensington Road intersection. But he doesn’t think a travel survey is going to help problems like this or ones in the future.

“I think [the city] knows about the problems already,” Paul said. “The survey is a waste of money and it could be put to better use.”

However, Vanessa Dixon, who resides in southeast Calgary, said she thinks the diary will prove to be useful.

“It could help by improving the way [the city] thinks of doing things,” Dixon said. “Calgary isn’t really an efficient city to get around in.”

Dixon also said she believes the invitations to participate in the diary project could hit one major problem. Because the households are chosen at random, the invitations could very well land on more doorsteps of those who drive or use transit exclusively, instead of an even balance.

Results of the survey are expected to be available to the public towards the end of the year.

For more information visit calgary.ca/travelsurveys

aguthrie@cjournal.ca