Cost-effective data collection in Louisiana.
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Cost-effective data collection in Louisiana.

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    The purpose of this research was to identify cost-effective methods to accumulate data for metropolitan transportation planning in Louisiana. The research was directed at making maximum use of existing data sources, investigating the transferability of data to metropolitan areas in Louisiana, considering the use of small local samples to update transferred or outdated local data, and investigating the potential of Global Positioning System (GPS) equipment to collect travel-related information.

    Data considered for transfer are aggregate relationships, distributions, and proportions of the data from one or more external, primary, or secondary data sources. Transferability to the Baton Rouge metropolitan area was tested by comparing aggregate measures of data from the National Personal Transportation Survey (NPTS) of 1995 for metropolitan areas, with populations between 1/2-1 million, and from the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) survey of 1996, with values obtained from the Baton Rouge Personal Transportation Survey of 1997. Some aggregate measures were found to be transferable to Baton Rouge while others were not. The possibility of using current, local data to update transfer data was investigated by collecting data from a sample of 108 households in Baton Rouge in 1998 and using it to update aggregate measures from NPTS 95 and NCTCOG. While the sample was too small to provide consistently improved transferability to the transferred data, simulated results with a sample of 450 households suggested that data updating can provide aggregate measures of transferred data that are comparable with locally-collected data.

    Three research thrusts were conducted to investigate the potential of improving the efficiency for collecting local data. First, stratified sampling of households to improve the homogeneity of data in strata was investigated. Second, a new form of time-use diary using a day-planner type format was developed and tested. Third, GPS devices were used to record auto travel. All three tactics appeared to improve the efficiency of collecting local data.

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