NOTE: This information refers to a 2014 historical survey.

For information about the Oct 2015 onwards survey go to Current Survey(external link)

What is the survey about?

This survey collects information regarding day-to-day travel in New Zealand - how we travel, where we go, when, and so on. The results will give us a picture of the actual travel patterns of all types of people - information which is vital for developing road safety, roading, public transport, pedestrian and cycling policies. More information on the survey here.

What is the trial about?

The Ministry of Transport is undertaking the trial to see whether using online methods and Global Positioning System (GPS) is more accurate, user-friendly and cost-effective for gathering survey data than the current methods of a paper-based diary and face-to-face interviews.

Why I am being asked to use a GPS device or a smartphone app?

As well as testing a new online diary system some of the participants in the trial will also be using either a GPS device or a smartphone application. We are trialling whether these methods will make it easier than the current paper diaries for people to record their travel information.

We are also testing whether using GPS devices and smartphone apps will give us better information at a lower cost than the current method.

What information is collected?

As part of the trial, you will be asked to provide information about the travel made by each person in your household on five consecutive days once a month for three months. We call these your Travel Days. The questions we ask each of you are in three parts:

Before your Travel Days

You will have been sent an email from our research company - TNS New Zealand - introducing the survey and inviting you to participate.

The email will give you all the practical details of how to take part in the trial.

During your Travel Days

You will fill out an online diary at the end of each Travel Day.

If you have agreed to use a GPS device or a smartphone application (app) as part of the trial, you will receive an email at the end of each Travel Day asking you to confirm the details of your day’s travel.

After your Travel Days

You will be sent a link to an online survey asking some general background questions. Most people find this interesting and enjoyable.

What happens to my information?

The information you provide in the trial will help us assess whether these new methods of carrying out the survey can be used in the future.

Will someone be tracking where I am travelling via the GPS device or smartphone app?

No. Data provided by individuals taking part in the trial is not monitored. The data gained from the GPS device or smartphone app will be analysed in bulk once all the participants have completed the survey.

Will details about me and my travel patterns remain private?

Yes. Privacy, security, and confidentiality are vital to any government research. While the trial will be collecting data on your actual trip behaviour, including addresses, any data collected is used for statistical purposes only. Results will be reported at an aggregate level only and no information that can identify any individual or household will be published as a result of this survey. Only Ministry of Transport staff and approved researchers will have access to the data.

Will children have to carry a GPS device or smartphone app as part of this trial?

No. To take part in the trial the GPS device or smartphone app, you need to be over 16 years old. However, if you are taking part and have children under 16 , you will be asked to fill in an online diary about their travel.

What if I drive for a living?

Professional drivers such as courier, bus, taxi or truck drivers are excluded from this trial. If the trial’s new methods of data collection are adopted, the personal travel undertaken by professional drivers would be included.

I don't go anywhere much - are you still interested?

Some people think that, if all they did on a Travel Day was to walk across the road to buy a newspaper, this would not be important. In fact, this type of travel is just as important as a trip from one end of the country to the other.

So, whether you make a lot of trips, only leave the house once or twice, or even if you don't go anywhere at all... just record what actually happened on those days.

Every single respondent in this trial is important - old, young, car owner, non-car owner, those who walk, those who travel a lot, and those who never go anywhere.

But today is an unusual day for me

It's not only what you usually do that's important, it's what actually happens.

If you hardly ever go out, but your Travel Day is a special outing day, write that down. Every day in New Zealand lots of people are having 'unusual' days, and we need to include this in our trial.

What about privacy?

The information we collect is used for statistical purposes only. First names are used as part of the trial process to help identify different people in the same household. No information from which any individual or household can be identified will be published as a result of the trial or the survey.

What other information is collected?

We will ask some basic information about you and your household, such as age, gender and employment status.

Is the data gathered by GPS device/smartphone app transmitted and stored securely?

Yes. Secure systems are used to transmit and store the data. Only Ministry of Transport staff and approved researchers will have access to the data.

Will the my personal information gathered from the trial be shared with other agencies?


What will happen with the data at the end of the trial?

The Ministry of Transport will analyse the data gathered through the online diary, survey questions and the GPS device or smartphone app to see if this method can be used in the future.

What will happen with the GPS device or smartphone app at the end of the trial?

If you have been using a GPS device, you will be provided with an envelope to return it. If you have been using a smartphone app, you will need to remove it from your smartphone. You will be sent an email reminder with instructions on how to do this.

What difference will taking part in this trial make?

Taking part in this trial will help us improve a survey that provides information about the various ways our transport network is used. Information from the survey is used to improve our planning and design work to help reduce traffic congestion and prevent road accidents. This includes developing safe cycling and pedestrian networks and developing road safety policy. This will benefit everyone.

Who is working with the Ministry on this trial?

The research company TNS New Zealand is undertaking the trial on behalf of the Ministry. The School of Civil Engineering, University of Queensland has also worked for the Ministry on developing the smartphone app for iphones, while Auckland-based company Trackit are developing the android app and will be supplying the GPS devices.

How was I selected?

You have been selected to take part in this trial either because you have already undertaken a travel survey, or you are part of the online community SmileCity.

What is Global Positioning System (GPS)?

The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a space-based satellite navigation system that provides location and time information.

What is a smartphone application (app)?

A smartphone application (app) is software designed to run on smartphones, tablet computers and other mobile devices.

Who can I contact about the trial?

You can phone TNS on 0800 473 732.