Policies aimed at Traffic Demand Management (TDM) rely heavily on the gathering of accurate individual level activity and travel data to understand and unpack the demand for transport. Moreover, self-report based data collection methods face problems such as a high-respondent burden and inaccuracies in the number and duration of the reported trips. On that account, this paper presents ongoing research to assess the reliability and feasibility of passively collecting high resolution spatiotemporal data on activity and travel behaviour using GPS-enabled smartphones. A small-scale pilot study was conducted in which respondents from the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, were passively tracked for the course of two days by means of a purposefully designed smartphone application, termed TrackLog. The results of the small experiment indicate that while GPS technology in smartphones potentially holds a number of benefits for collecting activity and travel data, the technology is not without problems. This project has highlighted that these problems can be classified as: (1) user, (2) technology, and (3) methodology related problems. Notwithstanding these problems, the results indicate that gathering high resolution space-time data by means of GPS-enabled smartphones is feasible and that it opens doors to a range of possible applications that are unattainable by traditional survey methods.
Paper presented at the 34th Annual Southern African Transport Conference 6-9 July 2015 "Working Together to Deliver - Sakha Sonke", CSIR International Convention Centre, Pretoria, South Africa.