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Big data, small changes: evaluating the impact of the local sustainable transport fund on travel behaviour and awareness

Big data, small changes: evaluating the impact of the local sustainable transport fund on travel behaviour and awareness
Big data, small changes: evaluating the impact of the local sustainable transport fund on travel behaviour and awareness
A common question asked in current travel behaviour research is whether investment in sustainable travel leads to significant changes in travel behaviour and awareness? In this large-scale study, we looked at the preliminary impact of UK Central Government funding to encourage sustainable modes of transport as implemented by three regional transport authorities and local councils through the Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF). The evaluation method was predominantly quantitative, the main component being a longitudinal postal cohort survey. The survey was conducted in five treatment areas that were
the subject of local LSTF-funded transport interventions, which included physical
infrastructure upgrades as well as softer measures: a town in Leicestershire; two districts in South Hampshire, and two districts of Greater Manchester. In addition, in each of the three regions, surveys were undertaken in control (or comparison) areas that had not received such interventions. The survey tool comprised a self-completion questionnaire covering respondents’ awareness and usage of various land-based transport modes, including a seven-day travel diary. The initial survey was conducted in December 2013/Spring 2014 (with
the after survey a year later - to follow), and the results compared against identical surveys in the three similar demographic control areas in the three regions. Over 64,000 questionnaires were distributed, which gave rise to a response rate of over 13%, from which nearly 6,800 completed or partially completed records were obtained and analysed. An age-weighting was
applied to the travel diary data, to account for the variation in the sample versus the demography of the local populations, and the results analysed according to five different travel purposes, using guidance from the UK’s Department for Transport, the project sponsor. The data from this 2013/14 survey suggests there are already small effects arising from the LSTF interventions, particularly from public transport interchange improvements, bus priority measures, demand responsive transport and improved cycling infrastructure. The level of awareness for these schemes is higher in the treatment areas than the control areas, and this is reflected in the travel diary data, which suggests respondents from the treatment areas tend to travel shorter distances per round trip on average, with a significant greater proportion being conducted by bus, and less as car driver. This study also shows the potential of collecting large datasets across different sources for travel behaviour analysis; however further research, including comparisons with cordon counts and results from the follow-on survey, need to be conducted before more substantive conclusions can be drawn.
Data collection methodologies, sustainable travel, longitudinal survey, encouraging walkingand cycling, public transport, travel behaviour research, transport monitoring and evaluation.
Wong, Alan
5f0c96fb-605f-4c3d-a50d-3f07e6e7c8f2
Preston, John
ef81c42e-c896-4768-92d1-052662037f0b
Hickford, Adrian
55d34672-b7bb-47d4-97a6-095304c429de
Wong, Alan
5f0c96fb-605f-4c3d-a50d-3f07e6e7c8f2
Preston, John
ef81c42e-c896-4768-92d1-052662037f0b
Hickford, Adrian
55d34672-b7bb-47d4-97a6-095304c429de

Wong, Alan, Preston, John and Hickford, Adrian (2015) Big data, small changes: evaluating the impact of the local sustainable transport fund on travel behaviour and awareness. 14th International Conference on Travel Behaviour Research, United Kingdom. 19 - 22 Jul 2015. (In Press)

Record type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

Abstract

A common question asked in current travel behaviour research is whether investment in sustainable travel leads to significant changes in travel behaviour and awareness? In this large-scale study, we looked at the preliminary impact of UK Central Government funding to encourage sustainable modes of transport as implemented by three regional transport authorities and local councils through the Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF). The evaluation method was predominantly quantitative, the main component being a longitudinal postal cohort survey. The survey was conducted in five treatment areas that were
the subject of local LSTF-funded transport interventions, which included physical
infrastructure upgrades as well as softer measures: a town in Leicestershire; two districts in South Hampshire, and two districts of Greater Manchester. In addition, in each of the three regions, surveys were undertaken in control (or comparison) areas that had not received such interventions. The survey tool comprised a self-completion questionnaire covering respondents’ awareness and usage of various land-based transport modes, including a seven-day travel diary. The initial survey was conducted in December 2013/Spring 2014 (with
the after survey a year later - to follow), and the results compared against identical surveys in the three similar demographic control areas in the three regions. Over 64,000 questionnaires were distributed, which gave rise to a response rate of over 13%, from which nearly 6,800 completed or partially completed records were obtained and analysed. An age-weighting was
applied to the travel diary data, to account for the variation in the sample versus the demography of the local populations, and the results analysed according to five different travel purposes, using guidance from the UK’s Department for Transport, the project sponsor. The data from this 2013/14 survey suggests there are already small effects arising from the LSTF interventions, particularly from public transport interchange improvements, bus priority measures, demand responsive transport and improved cycling infrastructure. The level of awareness for these schemes is higher in the treatment areas than the control areas, and this is reflected in the travel diary data, which suggests respondents from the treatment areas tend to travel shorter distances per round trip on average, with a significant greater proportion being conducted by bus, and less as car driver. This study also shows the potential of collecting large datasets across different sources for travel behaviour analysis; however further research, including comparisons with cordon counts and results from the follow-on survey, need to be conducted before more substantive conclusions can be drawn.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 25 January 2015
Venue - Dates: 14th International Conference on Travel Behaviour Research, United Kingdom, 2015-07-19 - 2015-07-22
Keywords: Data collection methodologies, sustainable travel, longitudinal survey, encouraging walkingand cycling, public transport, travel behaviour research, transport monitoring and evaluation.
Organisations: Civil Maritime & Env. Eng & Sci Unit, Transportation Group, Faculty of Engineering and the Environment

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 391241
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/391241
PURE UUID: b6dcfc07-8589-46c9-ab48-e9f8fbc9329e
ORCID for John Preston: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-6866-049X
ORCID for Adrian Hickford: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-6414-9064

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 07 Apr 2016 12:14
Last modified: 16 Jul 2020 00:29

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