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Fort McMurray Traffic Surveys

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Household Travel Survey

In 2013 the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo initiated a traffic survey to assess the travel pattern for residents on the roadway network in the urban area. The Municipality successfully completed Phase 1 of this survey which included surveys with 800 households (30% of the target) and at 205 workplaces (70% of the target). Phase 2 of the Fort McMurray Household Travel Survey took place from October 2014 through February 2015. Households across Fort McMurray were asked to fill out Travel Diaries to keep track of all the trips that each person in the household takes on a single day. This information about daily travel patterns will be used for transportation planning and become a part of a Regional Transportation Master Plan

Street view

What is the survey about?

This survey is about an issue which affects everyone on a daily basis – Transportation. Whether you walk, drive, cycle, ride the bus, or even skateboard, the transportation infrastructure influences how quickly you can reach your destination. With the rapid growth of the Fort McMurray area, transportation planning plays a key role in future needs for transportation infrastructure that can support current and future demands. The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo is currently updating the Regional Transportation Master Plan to assess transportation needs, and desires to hear from as many residents in order to develop improvements that serve everyone in the community.

The Fort McMurray Household Travel Survey will collect current, reliable information on the travel behavior of Fort McMurray residents. The detailed data gathered on trip patterns and daily travel choices of area residents will help the RMWB and provincial agencies make sound decisions on the routes and services communities and residents in the region need for an improved and sustainable transportation future. Similar surveys are typically conducted regularly in communities throughout North America to provide reliable, baseline information about where, why, and how people travel.

Who is conducting the Household Traffic Survey?

The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo has contracted RA Malatest & Associates of Edmonton to conduct the Household Travel Survey. Malatest has extensive experience with household travel surveys, having recently completed surveys in several Canada cities, including Ottawa, Winnipeg, Vancouver, and Victoria. The information you provide will be kept confidential and will only be used by the RMWB for transportation planning purposes.

How can I participate?

The Fort McMurray Household Travel Survey is open to all households in the Fort McMurray area and can be completed by telephone or online. Your household will receive a letter with information about the survey and instructions on how to register. You may also receive a telephone call from a professional interviewer from R.A. Malatest & Associates Ltd. Since the intent of survey is to predict travel pattern on road network, the Municipality encourages all residents to take a part in participating.

What kind of questions are in the survey?

There are 3 steps to the survey:

  1. Recruitment:
    • Recruitment from the survey can be done online or by phone with a surveyor from Malatest.
    • This part of the survey will gather basic information about your household and the vehicles you drive. You will also need to confirm your address to receive your survey package for each member of your household.
    • This initial survey will take 5-10 minutes to complete
  2. Travel Diary:
    • You will be sent a survey package containing a travel diary and questionnaire for each member of your household. On your designated ‘Travel Day’, simply carry the diary with you and use it to keep notes about where you travel, your activities, and the mode(s) of transportation you use.
    • Questions in the Travel Diary include:
      • Destination – where did you go?
      • Arrival and departure times – when did you travel?
      • Mode of transportation – how did you get there?
      • Trip Purpose – why did you travel?
    • See an example of a completed Travel Diary
  3. Follow-up:
    • After your Travel Day, you can go online to enter the information from your travel diaries into the online survey. If we do not hear from you, a Malatest surveyor will call you on the day after your Travel Day to collect the information you recorded in your travel diaries.
    • The follow-up call will include all the information from the Travel Diary, along with some additional information about:
      • School location (if a student)
      • Work location (if employed)
      • Occupation
    • Depending on the size of your household and the number of trips you took on your Travel Day, this survey could take between 15 and 45 minutes. If you are completing the survey online, all your information will be saved so you do not need to enter everything in one sitting.

How will the information collected be used?

The data you provide will be used to plan future transportation improvements in the Fort McMurray area. Detailed trip data from each survey participant will be combined with other surveys from throughout Fort McMurray to develop an understanding of total travel demand in the urban area. We understand privacy is important to you, so only combined survey results will be used and individual surveys taken will never be released.

The personal information is collected under the authority of section 33(c) of Alberta’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. The personal information will be used to analyze travel patterns to plan future transportation systems within the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. The personal information will be kept confidential and only used for research purposes

If you have any questions about the survey, please call the survey hotline at 587-674-0104, email RMWBtravel@malatest.net, or contact Jean Dally, in the RMWB Engineering Department at 780-793-1027.

What if I do not travel on my designated Travel Day?

Not everyone travels every day. This is part of normal travel patterns, and it is just as important for us to hear from people who did not travel on a particular day.

Why do you need to know my age, employment status, and household income?

It is important that the information we collect accurately represents the travel patterns of all residents of the Fort McMurray area. Demographic factors such as age, gender, occupational status, and household income all have an effect on household travel patterns. It is important that we collect some basic demographic information about the people participating in the survey so that we can ensure the results apply to the entire community. Remember, the information you provide is confidential and will not be released in any way that can be used to identify you or your household. The survey is voluntary and you don’t have to reveal personal information if that would be your choice.

Workplace Traffic Survey

A traffic survey was also conducted at selected businesses, workplaces, and schools throughout Fort McMurray. At these locations, trained interviewers were counting vehicle and pedestrian traffic during regular business hours. At selected sites, customers, employees, and other visitors were asked to participate in a brief survey about where they had just travelled from, how they travelled, and where they are going next. This information will help transportation planners understand the vehicle and pedestrian traffic generated by different types of businesses in the Fort McMurray area.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the workplace portion of the survey.

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