Workplace travel surveys

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1 Department of Transport Department of Environment and Conservation Department of Health TravelSmart Workplace fact sheet Workplace travel surveys Travel surveys are important for understanding and monitoring how people travel to a workplace. This fact sheet covers the basics of running a travel survey as part of efforts to promote active, sustainable travel to a workplace. WHY SURVEY? Workplace travel surveys are used to gather data on travel to and from a workplace. Key reasons for running workplace travel surveys are to: Assist in choosing actions that are appropriate for influencing travel behaviours Provide data that allows you to measure change in behaviour after actions have been implemented. RUNNING A TRAVEL SURVEY IN YOUR WORKPLACE The steps for running a workplace travel survey are shown below. These steps should be integrated with your workplace travel plan or similar for example run a survey every year and use the results to review past activities and plan the year ahead. Allow time for planning and testing the survey before you run it. Step 1 Preliminary planning Step 2 Setting up the travel survey Step 3 Running the travel survey Step 4 Analysing the data and using results TRAVEL SMART A joint Australian, State and Territory Government Initiative under the National Partnership Agreement on Preventive Health

2 Steps in conducting a travel survey STEP 1 - PRELIMINARY PLANNING Thinking ahead is critical for a travel survey so you can ask the right questions of the right people, in the right way. Invest some time in preliminary planning so your survey provides the data you need. 1.1 Define survey purpose and target Defining the purpose of the survey is important as it will shape what follows. If you are developing or reviewing a workplace travel plan, the purpose and scope of the plan sets parameters for the survey. TRAVEL PLANS A travel plan is a package of actions for managing travel to a workplace. A travel plan is a good way to address issues raised in a travel survey and so promote active, sustainable travel to a site. The TravelSmart Workplace program offers information and support to employers to develop and implement workplace travel plans. If a travel plan aims to increase employee health through active travel, the survey should cover the mode and distance of employee commuting and business trips. If you want to extend your workplace s efforts to reduce carbon emissions from transport the mode and distance of all trips generated by the workplace are relevant. Clarifying survey purpose will help decide the data you need to collect and the target groups you need to collect it from. The target groups and trips for a workplace survey could include: Commuting by employees Business trips by employees, including use of fleet vehicles and flights Trips to your workplace by clients and visitors Service trips such as deliveries. Once you have selected the target group/s, seek information on them. For example find out from Human Resources how many people work at the site you will survey. Information on the gender balance or proportion of full and part time or shift workers can be useful in planning the survey and checking how representative the survey sample is. In the TravelSmart Workplace travel survey tools we ask people about how they travel to and from a workplace. If you want input into actions to influence this behaviour, this is best done separately, for example through focus groups, workshop or team discussions. Survey results can be used in these forums to gain informed feedback. 1.2 Choose survey methods Choose the survey methods and sampling design (see next section) with these factors in mind: The people you need to target, i.e. all or some employees, clients, visitors The size and nature of the workplace - the number of people travelling to a site and whether they can access the internet at work will affect what methods can be used. If your organisation has multiple sites that you want to survey, consider these aspects for each. Methods that could be used for a workplace travel survey are summarised in the table below. You can use a combination of online and printed surveys if you have office based staff as well as employees in different settings (e.g. a workshop). IMPORTANT INFORMATION TravelSmart Workplace has developed an online survey tool for use by organisations that are part of the program. This tool is free to use and the program staff will analyse and prepare a report of findings for your workplace. For a medium to large office the TravelSmart online survey tool is the recommended survey method. Print versions of the online survey are available for small and medium to large workplaces. The survey is for use with employees; it can be adapted to survey clients/visitors. 2

3 Table 1: Survey methods Survey method Description Sampling design Things to consider Self-completion online survey People complete the survey online through a provided web link Census, random, stratified random sample - Suitable for office based staff; - easy to distribute to employees; - less time required to process and analyse data, and; - promotion and reminders to maximise response Self-completion printed questionnaire People complete a hard copy of the survey Census, random, stratified random sample - Suitable for employees without computer access; - considerable time to process and analyse data, and; - promotion and reminders needed to maximise response Interviewing people Interviewer ask people at their desks or when mobile in the workplace Census or random based sample - Suitable for mobile workforce or shift workers, and; - can achieve high response rates but is labour intensive and interviewer could bias results Intercept survey Questions asked at point of movement or activity Census or systematic sampling - Need discrete access points/routes; - provides a snapshot of travel to the site including clients/visitors, and; - Must be brief, so few questions included 1.3 Determine sampling design The sampling design depends upon the size of the workplace. For most workplaces a census should be used to maximise the sample and cover variation in the population at the site. Random sampling is usually only feasible where there are large numbers of people, for example 1,000 employees. Relatively large samples may be needed to detect the relatively small changes in travel behaviour likely from survey to survey. For a large, complex workforce such as a hospital, a stratified sample may be needed. Sampling designs are summarised in the next table. In all random samples a sample size needs to be determined. A sample size is the number of responses needed for valid analysis and can be estimated using a sample size calculator. If your organisation is participating in TravelSmart Workplace please discuss sampling design and appropriate sample size with the program team. Table 2: Sampling designs Survey method Census Random sample Stratified random sample Systematic sample Description Survey of all people in the population with attempt to achieve a high response rate Obtain a list of employees and assign them a number and then use random numbers to select the sample Makes use of relevant prior information to subdivide the population into sampling units, e.g. work group or job type Systematic sampling is a method of selecting units through application of a selection interval, e.g. each fifth person 3

4 STEP 2 - SETTING UP THE TRAVEL SURVEY 2.1 Decide upon timing of the survey In your preliminary planning you will have decided upon your survey method (online, paper etc.) and sampling design. You can now decide when to conduct your survey. It is wise to avoid: public holidays, school holidays or other times when many people aren t at work; busy work periods, e.g. end of financial year- if employees are busy, response rates could be lower, and; periods when other surveys are being distributed to employees. 2.2 Select survey questions The questions asked in the TravelSmart Workplace online survey tool and print questionnaires are listed in the table below. For an intercept survey questions could be: How did you travel here this morning/afternoon? Prompt respondent to mention all modes used, record these. Where did you travel from to get here? Is this your home suburb? This will help estimating travel distance. Are you an employee, client or visitor? Amend terms as appropriate. This will help separate employee commutes from client or visitor trips when analysing the data. Survey questions should be written to obtain data needed to address your survey purpose. The questions should be put in clear and simple language appropriate for the intended sample. Questions should allow for measurement of change. Table 3: Survey questions Question Where did you travel from or what is your home suburb? Enter street address, at least suburb. For each day in a week, how did you travel to and from work? Select each mode used, for example walk, bus and train. Why do you travel to/from work using these modes? Select from options e.g. need to drop off children at childcare/school or no alternative available. How likely is it that you will change how you travel to work? What travel modes are you interested in changing to? Did you make any trips for business on given date (e.g. to meetings, for site inspections, to make deliveries)? If so, note where travelled to and modes used. How likely is it that you will change how you make business trips? What travel modes are you interested in changing to? Does your workplace currently provide you with any of the following facilities or policies? E.g. free car parking at the workplace, flexible work hours. What is your gender? Is your work: full time, part time, casual, volunteer, other? Why asked To estimate trip distances useful in considering potential for change Asking about a week picks up variation in the modes people use and allows people working part time to contribute. It is also used to calculate the number and proportion of trips by mode key statistic for evaluating behaviour change Help in understanding the influences on people s travel choices and what could be changed to make it easier to use alternatives to driving Indication of people s interest in change Used to calculate the number and proportion of trips by mode - key statistic for evaluating behaviour change. Also used to consider potential to change business trips Indication of people s interest in change Indication of provision of and staff awareness of facilities and policies that may influence their travel choices. Can highlight issues for attention Check how representative the sample is of the workforce Check how representative the sample is of the workforce 4

5 2.3 Set up and test the survey This is a key step, regardless of what survey method you have chosen. Leave a week or two to test the survey. Check that people understand and can appropriately answer questions. If an online survey is being used test it across a few internet browsers. Also test data entry and analysis using test responses. Actions for setting up and testing surveys are summarised in the next table. Table 4: Survey set up and testing Survey tool TravelSmart Workplace online survey tool (for participants in the program only) Paper survey Action needed Contact the TravelSmart Workplace team to set up a profile for your organisation The Workplace team will you a link to your organisation specific survey this link to a few people in the workplace to test the wording and also check the survey is compatible with internet browser and security settings in your workplace/s Gain approval to run the survey at the timeframe you have specified. Customise the travel survey template example with your organisation logo and fill in blank fields Where it states to insert a date into a survey field, insert the dates for your survey week. When it asks to insert a day, insert one day (Tuesday, Wednesday etc., whichever day works best for your organisation) of the week you intend to survey. Print off your paper surveys. Test data entry and analysis. Intercept or interview survey Customise the travel survey template the same questions can be used for interviews. For intercept surveys only a few questions are asked (see above). Prepare record sheets for interviewers to use. Recruit volunteers to undertake the survey. They could be rostered on for a few hours each across the survey day. For some sites it may be enough to intercept people across a few hours during which most people travel to work. Some sites such as hospitals may have staff and visitors arriving across the day so a longer period would need to be covered. Identify and allocate volunteers to places for intercept survey, e.g. main entry or staff entry. Ensure volunteers are briefed on the purpose of the survey, understand the survey questions and have the opportunity to try out interviewing people and accurately recording data that you need. 5

6 STEP 3 - RUNNING THE TRAVEL SURVEY 3.1 Communicating the survey One week prior to your survey start date commence communication to employees about the survey. This will maximise response rates and reduce bias from nonresponse. In the pre-survey communication include: the reasons for the survey in brief, e.g. to help us improve employee access to the workplace organisational/executive support for the survey what will happen to the data (privacy assurance) dates for the survey any incentives that will be offered. You could use posters, an article on internal intranet, broadcast message from senior management or any other method of communication the works for your workplace culture to communicate the above pre-survey information. The TravelSmart Workplace team have draft text you may wish to use for survey notices, survey week announcements and reminder s Distributing the survey On the week of your survey it s time to distribute your survey. If an online survey is used, the link to staff at the workplace (or a sample if random sampling is used). If a printed questionnaire is used, distribute it to staff for example desk to desk or at a staff meeting (having people spend five minutes filling it in at the meeting and collecting it straight afterwards can work well). If clients/ visitors are to be surveyed, ask the reception staff to provide the questionnaire or ask a few questions directly. If an interview or intercept survey is used, have volunteers ask people at their workstations or designated points in or around the workplace. 3.2 Tracking responses and issuing reminders For the online survey, the TravelSmart Workplace team can provide updates on how many employees have completed the survey during the survey period. We also recommend the travel survey is open for responses for up to two weeks after the survey week to maximise the response rate. Good response rates are vital to get good data. Besides the above communication other ways to maximise participation include: Incentives such as prize draw, coffee vouchers, store gift vouchers and movie tickets. Ensure prizes aren t linked to travel in order to reduce bias of respondents. If incentives are used you will need to ask respondents to give their name or address so they can go in the prize draw (this question can be added to the online or print questionnaires). Reminders - Keep track of the number of people responding. Within two or three days of distributing the survey send out a reminder and repeat a few days later if needed. It is likely that if people will respond within a day or two of receiving the survey. Reminders are most successful if they are varied in nature. (For example an , a phone call or even a personal reminder in team meetings) STEP 4 - ANALYSING THE DATA AND USING RESULTS 4.1 Analysis If the TravelSmart Workplace online survey tool is used, program staff will undertake analysis of the data for you and present a report of findings. For printed questionnaires and interview and intercept surveys data entry and analysis of results can be undertaken in Excel. Structure the spreadsheet using the survey questions and response options. To allow crosschecking and further analysis it is suggested that each respondent/survey form be represented as one row of data (i.e. not aggregated). The responsibility for analysis of survey data lies with the individual organisation if they are not participants in the TravelSmart Workplace program. If more detailed analysis is required dedicated statistical software packages such as SPSS are available. Key statistics that can be calculated from the survey data include: Average trip distance - How far people travel from home to the workplace, broken down by categories if necessary, such as employees and clients/visitors. Mode split for commute trips - The percentage of commute trips by mode used across the survey period. If respondents select more than one mode, they can be grouped e.g. public transport to include train, bus, ferry and walk, cycle or car trips to stations. Reasons for mode choice - Tally the number of times a reason is selected; a breakdown of reasons by mode can be useful in understanding travel choices people make. Mode split for business trips - The percentage of business trips by mode/s used on the survey day. 4.2 Interpreting the results The travel survey will highlight a range of information about travel at your organisation, this will include the following (see table 5): 6

7 Table 5: Data analysis and use Question Analysis Use Where did you travel from or what is your home suburb? Enter street address, at least suburb. For each day in a week, how did you travel to and from work? Select each mode they used, for example walk, bus and train. Why do you travel to/from work using these modes? Select from options e.g. need to drop off children at childcare/school or no alternative available. Estimate home to work distance using Google Maps (done automatically in the TravelSmart survey tool). Calculate average trip distance and breakdown mode of travel by distance categories. Estimate emissions generated by travel to/from the workplace (using total car km and emissions factors). Calculate the number and proportion of trips by mode, i.e. % of trips as car driver alone. Calculate proportions by mode and reason Consider potential for change, e.g. target cycling Demonstrate impact e.g. carbon emissions from employee commuting. You could compare with other workplace emissions. Compare with other workplaces Assess change over time by comparing figures before and after action (e.g. did use of active travel increase as intended?) Consider what could be changed to make it easier to use alternatives to driving How likely is it that you will change how you travel to work? What travel modes are you interested in changing to? Did you make any trips for business on given date (e.g. to meetings, for site inspections, to make deliveries)? If so, note where travelled to and modes used. How likely is it that you will change how you make business trips? What travel modes are you interested in changing to? Does your workplace currently provide you with any of the following facilities or policies? E.g. free car parking at the workplace, flexible work hours. Tally interest in change by current and intended modes Calculate the number and proportion of trips by mode, i.e. % of trips as car driver alone Estimate trip distances Tally interest in change by current and intended modes Tally response by option Consider when developing actions and choosing target groups Assess change over time by comparing figures before and after action (e.g. did use of travel alternatives increase as intended?) Use in considering potential to change business trips Consider when developing actions and choosing target groups Identify issues for attention, e.g. need to promote facilities if few staff know of them or high level of car commuting where workplace parking is provided What is your gender? Tally Check how representative the sample is of the workforce (ask Human Resources Manager for breakdown for the workplace) Is your work: full time, part time, casual, volunteer, other? Tally Check how representative the sample is of the workforce (ask Human Resources Manager for breakdown for the workplace) 7

8 4.3 Sharing and using the results across the organisation It is important to share the findings of the survey with all employees to demonstrate how their input has contributed to the development of the travel plan at your organisation. Feedback can be provided by: Broadcast /intranet article with key results and findings from the survey Making the travel survey report available on the intranet Providing feedback summaries to discuss at team meetings Summary posters in lunchrooms or noticeboards. Use the results to consider what action could be taken in the workplace to promote greater use of travel alternatives. If results show reduced solo car commuting then actions could be continued or business trips could be looked at to achieve more. If lots of staff live within cycling distance (10km is a 30 min bike ride at a moderate speed), but many drive, consider cycle training or a bike buddy scheme. MONITORING SURVEYS Follow up surveys enable your organisation to monitor how successful you have been in achieving your stated travel objectives and targets. You can then consider how successful the actions you have put in place have been and whether you need to continue, replace or modify some of the actions you are implementing at your workplace. Key points to consider for monitoring surveys The survey methods used need to be consistent - if you used the TravelSmart online survey you need to use that again. Repeat your follow up survey annually. The survey needs to be repeated at the same time of the year to avoid the effects of seasonal variation. The survey needs to repeat the same core questions. Use other monitoring measures to supplement your travel survey results, these can include: Quarterly counts of bicycles in bike parking facilities. Repeating access audits or noting down any changes to workplace facilities, policies and practices as a result of the plan. Note: Follow the same travel survey process described here when completing follow up surveys 8

9 WORKPLACE CHECKLIST Question What is the purpose of your travel survey? Your notes Have you considered how the size and nature of your organisation will determine survey methods, sampling design used? What survey method/s are you going to use? What sampling design will you use? Do you need to consider the sampling size? Have you chosen the timeframe for the survey? Have you tested the survey at the workplace/s? How are you going to communicate the travel survey to employees? How are you going to maximise participation? Who will undertake the analysis of the travel survey? (TravelSmart if online survey tool used) How will you share the results across the organisation? Have you scheduled in your follow up survey? REFERENCES Ampt, Richardson and Wake 2009 Simple and suited: Guidelines for workplace travel surveys. Paper to the Australasian Transport Research Forum, 29 September-1 October 2009, Auckland Sinclair Knight Merz 2007 TravelSmart Workplace Surveys: Recommendation of preferred survey methods. Report for the WA Department of Planning and Infrastructure. (Available on Department of Transport s TravelSmart website) 9

10 TravelSmart Workplace is helping WA workplaces reduce car use and promote active, sustainable travel choices. The program is a partnership between the Department of Environment and Conservation and the Department of Transport. To find out how your workplace can be part of the transport solution, contact TravelSmart Workplace: MORE INFORMATION Find out how your workplace can be part of the transport solution, contact TravelSmart Workplace: Department of Environment and Conservation Phone: (08) Department of Transport Phone: (08) Website: The information contained in this publication is provided in good faith and believed to be accurate at time of publication. The State shall in no way be liable for any loss sustained or incurred by anyone relying on the information Published April Printed on recycled paper.

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