Using Facebook to Recruit Urban Participants for Smartphone-Based Travel Surveys: Article No. 101116

Amarin Siripanich, Taha Rashidi, Shankari Kalyanaraman, Travis Waller, Meead Saberi, Vinayak Dixit, Divya Nair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Social media has become an integral part of everyday life for many individuals, serving as a platform to express opinions, share memories and lifestyles, follow news, and adapt to social trends and norms. The wealth of user information and analytics on these platforms has facilitated the development and sale of tailored products and services, benefiting advertisers and researchers seeking survey participants. Social media advertising has demonstrated its effectiveness in reaching hard-to-reach populations. However, transport researchers have yet to capitalise on this potential fully. This paper presents our experience using social media to recruit participants for two smartphone travel surveys conducted in Australia. We demonstrate that social media recruitment and smartphone-based travel surveys are highly effective, adaptable, and can be rapidly deployed in response to research opportunities, such as during the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic when traditional methods may be less suitable. This approach also holds great potential for travel surveys targeting the general population. This paper shares several lessons from this experiment, including our administrative approach and detailed technical instructions to utilise open-source software tools for conducting smartphone travel surveys like ours. This approach significantly reduces study costs compared to most commercial solutions.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages17
JournalTransportation Research Interdisciplinary Perspectives
StatePublished - 2024

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5400-90291


  • open-source software
  • smartphone travel survey
  • social media
  • survey recruitment


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