Survey aims to assess huge changes in travel behaviour

PUBLISHED : Friday, 26 August, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 26 August, 2011, 12:00am


Hard on the heels of the 2011 census covering the whole of Hong Kong, the government will launch another major survey next month to assess residents' commuting patterns and transport needs.

The Transport Department commissioned the survey of 50,000 households to get a clearer sense of how people get around and whether current services meet their needs. Officials say the city has undergone massive change since the last time such a survey was done in 2002.

'Due to the changes in social economies and infrastructure construction, travel patterns have changed phenomenally in recent years,' Assistant Commissioner Anthony Loo Khim-chung said. 'We feel it's time to have a new survey.'

The department plans to collect for the first time some information through an online questionnaire, although it would still prefer participants to co-operate with a 30-minute face-to-face interview.

Select individuals will be asked to provide a complete picture of their household's travel behaviour, including that of any children and elderly at home.

Questions will cover travel details for the 24 hours prior to the interview and probe what factors led residents to choose certain modes of transport over other options.

Interviewers will also request any suggestions or complaints that residents might have about the transport system.

The survey will for the first time include questions on bicycles and electric vehicles.

Unlike the population census which relied on the efforts of mostly part-time workers, the department spent HK$150 million on an outside contractor, MOV Data Collection Centre, to conduct this survey.

MOV plans to deploy more than 100 surveyors starting September 5 to conduct interviews over a five-month period. Many questions will require in-depth answers, so one-on-one interviews provide the most efficient way to conduct the survey, officials said.

'Though we do have an online version of the survey, we strongly encourage the selected residents to opt for our face-to-face interview,' MOV operation manager Oscar Ng said.

Officials said the data will serve as an important source for authorities to create new transport models and to improve public services.

For example, said Loo, 'if we find out the route from point A to point B is in great demand, we may consider adding a bus line in future'.