Washoe County Travel Study 2015 - FAQ


Hotline Telephone Number : 1-877-221-7828


1. What is the RTC Household Travel Survey? Back to List

The Regional Transportation Commission Household Travel Survey (RTC HHTS) is the first in-depth study of household travel behavior in Washoe County in 10 years. Beginning in June, the RTC will be asking approximately 2,600 households to identify where and how they traveled on a specific, designated travel day (24 hours). In order to ensure a representative sample for the study, each household will also be asked a series of detailed questions about the household’s socioeconomic characteristics. When completed, this data will be used to estimate how much travel is generated by all households across the County.

The RTC has contracted with NuStats, a professional transportation survey firm, to help design and execute this survey. NuStats will be making phone calls for the survey. All contractors will be informing households that they are calling concerning the Household Travel Survey on behalf of the Regional Transportation Commission.

The different steps of the survey and time requirements of each step are described below in the section, How long will the survey take?


2. Who is being asked to participate in the survey? Back to List

Participants in the survey will be taken from a list of household addresses randomly selected to ensure participation from across Washoe County. Households with addresses with listed phone numbers will be contacted by phone. Those households without a listed phone will be contacted by mail.


3. How will the RTC use my information? Back to List

Travel forecasts produced by the RTC’s travel models are used to help plan for future transportation needs of Washoe County. The outputs of the travel models are used to evaluate and prioritize different regional transportation projects. The data collected from households will be statistically summarized to describe a variety of travel patterns. For example, how many trips people make on average, where these trips come from and go to, what methods of transport are used on these trips, at what time of day are the trips made and so on. This information is vital in assisting the forecasting of travel for future populations.


4. Will my individual data be made public? Back to List

No, the survey is strictly confidential. Your responses will be separated from your personal identifying information before the information is given to the RTC. Data provided to the RTC will be summarized by geographic and socioeconomic categories before being made public. This information will be broad in nature and will not be specific to any individual participant in the survey.


5. How did you get my number? Back to List

Our telephone numbers are randomly selected through a statistical process. This process might include unlisted telephone numbers as well. Everyone in your area has an equal probability of being selected to participate in our study.


6. How long will the survey take? Back to List

The initial phone or online interview to screen a household and collect demographic data usually takes between 15 and 20 minutes and will depend on the number of household members and the number of vehicles you own. If you agree to participate, you will then be asked to agree to an assigned travel day. If you agree with that date or select another day with the interviewer, then NuStats will send your household a travel diary for each household member and instructions on how to fill out the diary on your day.

Each household is contacted the day before the scheduled travel day to help remind the household of the travel day and to answer any questions you might have. This may be a telephone, email, or text message reminder.

Your travel day will begin at 12:00 AM and last for 24 hours. Don’t worry; we don’t expect anyone to get up at 12:00 AM to fill out the diary! You will be asked to simply record all trips as they would normally occur throughout the day. If you record as you travel throughout the day, the recording time will be minimal. If you record all your trips at the end of the day, it may take additional time to recall each and every trip.

If you selected to report your travel by phone, the day after the travel day, an interviewer will call to collect the household’s results. Depending on how many household members you have, this will take from 20-30 minutes. If you selected to report your travel online, depending on how many household members you, this will take from 20-30 minutes. Completing your travel diary and mailing it back to NuStats will take approximately 20-30 minutes, as well.

If there are any questions about your responses in the reported travel, you will receive a follow-up phone call. This follow-up call should not take any more than a few minutes.


7. Is participation mandatory? Back to List

The survey is not mandatory, but participation by all selected households is encouraged so that the information obtained from the survey truly represents all residents of Washoe County.


8. Why should I bother? Back to List

You have a truly rare opportunity to help your community! If you participate, your household will be one of only 2,600 selected to represent all the rest. When you participate, you make sure that your travel behavior and needs and the behavior and needs of other households like yours are included. This helps the RTC build a more full and accurate picture of local transportation needs.

Your local, state, and federal officials depend on the RTC’s recommendations when making important transportation decisions. The RTC must show that it has accurate models for communities throughout each region and accurate travel data is a critical component.

If you have ever wondered how you might influence that traffic you sit in daily, this is your chance to play a part in solving the problem!


9. Why do you collect data from all members of the household? Back to List

We need to study every household as a unit. Many of our travel patterns are affected by decisions made by other members of a household.

By understanding the interaction between household members we can better understand and predict future travel behavior.


10. Why do you want to know about the characteristics of the people in my household? Back to List

We ask a number of questions about households and the people in them because we are trying not just to describe the travel patterns in the region but also to understand why they occur. We know from previous studies that some things about people and households explain why they travel in certain ways. By collecting this information along with travel patterns, we are able to better understand why people travel the way they do, and this also enables us to estimate future travel patterns as the population grows and changes.


11. Why do you need to know about income? Back to List

As explained above, some characteristics explain a lot about travel patterns. Income has been found to be a strong influence on the amount of travel people make. It is also useful when trying to explain the social implications of various transportation investments. Be assured that the information about income is kept strictly confidential and will not be used for any purpose other than in connection with explaining travel patterns.


12. Can I participate even if I don't get an invitation? Back to List

Due to the need to gather statistically accurate information that represents the study area, we can only include randomly chosen households. To see if your household is one of the randomly selected participants, please call 1-877-221-7828.

For more information about the household survey, please go to www.RTCSurvey.com where you can view the survey materials that recipients will complete.

For additional questions, please contact Xuan Wang with the Regional Transportation Commission at 775-332-9521 or XWang@rtcwashoe.com. Or contact Vivian Daigler with NuStats at 1-512-279-4153 or vdaigler@nustats.com