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Evaluation of a Shared-Use Electric Vehicle Program: Integrating a Web-Based Survey with In-Vehicle Tracking

  • Author(s): Lee, Ming S.
  • Marca, James E.
  • Rindt, Craig R.
  • Koos, Angela M.
  • McNally, Michael G.
  • et al.
Abstract

An experimental shared-use vehicle program in Irvine, California, is assigning 15 Toyota ecom electric vehicles to several public and private sector organizations who have identified a group of employees to utilize the vehicles in a shared-use mode. The primary goal of this experiment is to evaluate the potential of shared-use electric vehicles as a means of reducing urban traffic and vehicle emissions. The decision to travel with the shared-use vehicles can be understood only through examining the entire process of how participants schedule activites before, during and after shared-use vehicles become a travel option. To effectively evaluate performance of this prototype application, a novel data collection procedure is proposed that integrates GPS-based vehicle tracking and web-based travel survey technologies. The data collection process will occur in three stages: (1) before the vehicle-sharing program, (2) during the program and (3) after the program is completed. A computer-aided self-administered interview (CASI) program, REACT!, is being used to collect travel/activity schedules from participants for one week periods. The data derived from the first stage will depict participants' typical weekly activity programs before the alternative of sharing vehicles is present. After a simple installation of REACT! on a home or work personal computer, each respondent completes a 45 minute self-administered inverview and summarizes known travel plans for the week. On each subsequent evening, REACT! prompts respondents to update what they actually did that day, as well as to update any plans for the remainder of the week. Data are sent to a project web site at the end of each REACT! session. At the end of the week, REACT! provides a summary of travel/activity for the entire week. In the second phase, when electric vehicles are in shared-use, REACT! will be used in conjunction with the GPS tracing instrument, TRACER, equipped within the study vehicles. TRACER will be used to track each venicle for the duration of the study, recording vehicle position and speed every second. At one of two intervals within the six month study period, respondents will repeat the REACT! study. These repeat applications will involve a brief initial self-administered interview and daily updates focused on the use of the shared-use vehicles. The actual tracings of the vehicles will be provided to each respondent both as a memory-jogger to help them complete the survey as well as to examine under what conditions shared-use vehicles were utilized. In the third stage, the stage 1 procedure will be repeated to test for residual effects on travel patterns.

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