News - OPTIMISM workshop on Collecting and Reporting Travel Behaviour data

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Forum of European National Highway Research Laboratories

OPTIMISM workshop on Collecting and Reporting Travel Behaviour data

OPTIMISM workshop on Collecting and Reporting Travel Behaviour data to be held in Brussels on 14th March 2013


One of the objectives of the OPTIMISM project is to gather, analyse and harmonise national travel data statistics in Europe, which are based on different methodologies. More specifically:

  • To research, identify, gather and process relevant information and key factors about general conditions of national travel behaviour,
  • To compile and analyse the identified data in order to understand differences in the individual national context of transport and mobility,
  • To identify the different methodologies used for elaborating national statistical data,
  • To determine the need of harmonising national travel data,
  • To identify and assess various methods of harmonising statistical data,
  • To develop a methodology to collect and report data on travel behaviour,
  • To give guidelines and recommendations for harmonising differences of statistical data and scientific analysis on travel behaviour.

In order to achieve these objectives, the following three tasks are identified, of which the first two have already been accomplished in the first year of the project:

  1. Gather and analyse national travel statistics: A questionnaire was developed and sent to relevant authorities responsible for conducting the national travel surveys (NTS) in the respective countries across Europe. The results revealed that there is much variation between the types of data collected by NTS across European countries and harmonisation is problematic under the current survey methodologies and approaches. It is recommended that a consistent system be developed and agreed by member states, as well as a core set of data items to analyse transport movements and trends as a basis for future European and national policies.
  2. Develop a methodology to harmonise travel statistics: The information collected was analysed further for 15 countries in order to analyse data gaps, identify potential data formats that can be used for data collection and propose a methodology and common standardised structure for NTS. As a result, a set of parameters has been identified for which information needs to be collected in order to properly analyse the most important European transport policies that are linked to passenger transport.
  3. Define recommendations to collect and report data on socio-economic drivers of travel behaviour: This final task aims to propose a methodology to collect and report travel data with the identification of main data needs and gaps, and the analysis of alternative sources of information and new data collection techniques. It will start from a list of variables needed for policy making but unavailable/insufficient with the existing data collection methodologies. Then, it will investigate potential use of modern data collection techniques and their association possibility with the NTS.

For this purpose, a workshop ia being held at the Centre Albert Borschette in Brussels, Belgium on 14th March 2013 to discuss existing data collection techniques across Europe, elaborating the problem areas, gaps and needs for harmonisation of the NTS and indentify alternative sources of information and new data collection techniques with the help of stakeholders and experts from the public and private sectors of travel statistics. To register, click on the following link: and for more information, contact


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