How do Bay Area residents use transportation network companies like Lyft and Uber to get around? Do Uber customers also ride electric scooters? Does the rise of online shopping really mean people are making fewer trips to the store? These are just a few of the questions the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the San Francisco County Transportation Authority will be able to answer with the results from an important travel survey co-sponsored by the two agencies this fall to better understand resident’s mobility needs and preferences.
MTC and the Transportation Authority last week sent postcards to some 100,000 randomly-selected Bay Area households inviting residents to participate in the survey. Another 20,000 invitations will be mailed in early December. The survey is part of each agency’s planning efforts, with the collected data used to refine statistical models of future travel patterns. Participation in the study will help answer questions about how the Bay Area can maintain and improve mobility, accessibility and connectivity for residents as the region’s population grows, as new travel choices emerge, and as travel patterns evolve. Data collected in this study will be treated confidentially and used only for transportation planning and research purposes.
“If you received an invitation to participate in the travel survey, we really encourage you to accept it,” said MTC project manager Shimon Israel. “Aggregated data about current travel patterns is essential for making wise decisions about future investments and for prioritizing improvements to the Bay Area transportation network. Not just for highway projects but for local streets, public transit, bicycle improvements and pedestrian travel, too.”
MTC and the Transportation Authority selected Vermont-based Resource Systems Group Inc., an independent research firm, to administer the survey. Residents are asked to participate using an app called rMove™ on their smartphones. The survey is available in English, Spanish, Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese.
“The app collects travel and trip information,” explained Transportation Authority project manager Joe Castiglione. “Participants are advised to keep their phones with them any time they travel during their study period, including short trips such as walking the dog."
Because the impact of transportation network companies is a particular focus for the current study, the lion’s share of invitations will be mailed to households in those counties with the highest number of Lyft and Uber trips. This includes 60,000 invitations sent to addresses in San Francisco; nearly 21,000 in Santa Clara County and almost 18,000 in Alameda County. Smaller numbers of invitations will be sent to households in Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Mateo, Solano and Sonoma counties.
MTC is the transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area. The San Francisco County Transportation Authority plans, funds and delivers transportation projects to improve travel choices for residents, commuters and visitors throughout San Francisco.