From Simple Labels to Time-Use Integrations: Supporting the Spectrum of Qualitative Travel Behavior Data

Jack Greenlee, Alireza Raei, Sebastian Barry, Maliheh Tabasi, Amarin Siripanich, Taha Rashidi, K. Shankari

Research output: NRELPoster


In transportation research, applications of travel behavior data collection are context-specific and require different types of qualitative inputs. These inputs can be viewed as spanning a spectrum of user burden and data quality, from simple trip labels to complex time-use surveys. However, each currently active smartphone-based travel diary platform appears to only support one type of qualitative input, and the effort required for customization is unclear. In this paper, we characterize the spectrum by defining four canonical use cases: (i) trip labels, (ii) trip questionnaire, (iii) counterfactual trips, and (iv) time-use surveys. We then outline a mechanism for supporting configurable user inputs on the same underlying smartphone-based sensing mechanism and demonstrate that it can support all the use cases without any code changes. We further demonstrate that the flexible data model that underpins this mechanism can enable real-time monitoring and analysis. Finally, we evaluate per-user data collection and engagement metrics for large-scale deployments of three canonical use cases, spanning 10 programs, 435 users, and 251,041 trips, and a maximum duration of 800 days. Future efforts may support additional use cases through an expanded configuration and provide greater insight into user engagement. We hope that these insights enable the research community to look at qualitative inputs through a new lens and experiment with novel use cases to fill in the spectrum.
Original languageAmerican English
PublisherNational Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
StatePublished - 2024

Publication series

NamePresented at the Transportation Research Board (TRB) 103rd Annual Meeting, 7-11 January 2024, Washington, D.C.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PO-5400-88306


  • architecture
  • configuration
  • integration
  • time-use
  • transportation
  • travel survey


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