Post-Car World: data collection methods and response behavior in a multi-stage travel survey

  • Basil SchmidEmail author
  • Milos Balac
  • Kay W. Axhausen


The main research question addressed by this study is to what degree individuals would change travel modes, time allocation and activity patterns after experiencing large changes in generalized transportation costs and how they would react regarding their longer-term ownership in mobility tools, assessing suppressed demand effects from an activity-based perspective. The empirical basis is a multi-day travel and online diary that is required to obtain the personalized reference values for the later stated choice and stated adaptation tasks. This paper provides first detailed information of the survey methods, recruitment and fieldwork. An initial investigation of the data and its quality attributes, descriptions of the sampling structure and response behavior are presented. Participation choice models indicate that a high incentive level leads to a higher participation rate, but the net-effect on completing the survey is zero: once recruited, higher incentives also lead to a higher drop-out incidence. Certain socioeconomic characteristics are consistently overrepresented in the sample: season ticket ownership, better education and higher income strongly increase participation and completion of the survey. Findings reveal saliency effects, whereby response behavior is influenced by the respondents’ interest in the survey topic. While general fatigue effects can only be detected for the number of reported online activities, better educated and car-less respondents exhibit an increased reporting behavior of trips over time. Importantly, while showing no effects on completion of the survey, higher incentives tend to increase response quality in terms of absolute levels (trips) and stability (online activities).


Survey methods Stated preference Response behavior Participation choice Fatigue effects 



For finite sample size corrected Akaike Information Criterion


Swiss Francs (1 CHF \(\approx\) 1 US$)






Institute for Transport Planning and Systems at ETH Zurich, Switzerland


Motorized individual vehicles (car, motorbike)


Motorized public vehicles (carsharing, carpooling, taxi)


Data from the (representative) Swiss microcensus for mobility and travel behavior


Post-Car World (name of the project)


Public transportation (train, bus)


Revealed preference


Stated adaptation


Stated preference



The authors gratefully thank to the SNSF (Swiss National Science Foundation) for funding the Post-Car World project (Grant Number 2-77894-13). We also give thanks to Simon Schmutz, former research assistant at the IVT, for his outstanding contributions to the project.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Transport Planning and Systems (IVT)ETH ZurichZurichSwitzerland

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