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Open Access Publications from the University of California

GPS-Based Tracking of Daily Activities

  • Author(s): Golledge, Reginald G.;
  • Zhou, Jianyu
  • et al.

While characteristics of daily travel behavior have been determined from analyses of the reconstructed household travel behavior recorded in travel diaries, such reconstructions are subject to criticisms. Respondents in a survey may lie or falsely recall information about destinations, times of travel, trip purpose, trip destination and other critical characteristics, such as under-reporting of short trips and the number of stops in a trip chain (Brog, et al., 1982; Purvis, 1990). In 1997 the Department of Transportation carried out a one-week study in Lexington, Kentucky in which the cars of 100 households were equipped with GPS and in-car computers. Every stop was logged by the GPS receiver, and the purpose of the stop was recorded in real time on an in-car computer. The final report of the study gave descriptions of travel behavior but performed little analysis on the data so collected. Although the new GPS-involved data collection methodology is not expected to replace the traditional data collection method in behavioral science within a short period of time, it does provide a more robust alternative for defining personal travel than the current methods. After being provided with a CD data record of all the transactions by DOT, a variety of analytical techniques and methods were used on the GPS-collected survey data.

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