Travel Options Project (TOP)

The Travel Options Project (TOP) is an innovative travel behavior study seeking to understand the transportation ecosystem populated by members of the University of Minnesota community.

Through the use of smartphone software developed for the research, TOP collects travel data with exceptional accuracy in a minimally intrusive format while protecting participants’ privacy. The findings will help guide transportation improvements on campus and off and advance understanding of what factors determine people’s travel choices.

Cars driving on a road near University of Minnesota

Mood State in Transport Environments

The Mood State in Transport Environments study is a travel survey that explores personal mood, satisfaction, and habit in daily travel, such as commuting, grocery shopping, socializing, and other travel activities.

Respondents use Daynamica to track their trips during a week and report their activities, satisfaction, and mood in a brief trip survey associated with each trip. As time use, travel routes and modes are automatically recorded by the app, the data are then be merged with weather, transport, and land use data to consider various factors that may influence travel satisfaction.

Full project description from the Virginia Tech School of Public and International Affairs:

Think about your most recent trip, either going to work, shopping, or picking up your child: if it were possible, would you like to arrive at the destination immediately without making the trip?

Researchers at the School of Public and International Affairs and Department of Psychology at Virginia Tech are looking to measure mood and satisfaction from daily travel and activities during trips in order to see the factors behind travel satisfaction, sustainable mode choice, and well-being. The study includes an entry survey that asks respondents’ travel patterns, perceptions, and health status.

Results from the study could aid planners and policy makers create a more satisfactory transport system, plan for healthy cities — both physically and mentally, and promote the use of sustainable transport modes such as bicycle, walking, and public transit. It will also contribute to the understanding of autonomous vehicle usage through studying satisfaction and multitasking during trips.

Integrated Urban Infrastructure Solutions for Environmentally Sustainable, Healthy, and Livable Cities

Led by Professors Anu Ramaswami (University of Minnesota), Patricia Culligan (Columbia University) and Armistead Russell (Georgia Institute of Technology), “Integrated Urban Infrastructure Solutions for Environmentally Sustainable, Healthy, and Livable Cities” focuses on a new movement gaining momentum in cities around the world toward “distributed,” or more local, infrastructure. Until now, development trends have resulted in very large infrastructure systems—large roadway networks, regional power grids, and complex networks that supply food and water to cities from distant locations. Emerging trends suggest that cities may be better off building more local systems—urban farms, household and neighborhood solar generation, district energy systems, bicycle paths, car-sharing systems, and more. The research network seeks to identify the best mix of local and large infrastructure systems to achieve urban sustainability, health and livability goals, by examining possibilities in diverse cities across the U.S. and in India. Researchers are exploring physical changes in infrastructure design, the role of new technologies, as well as the changes in public attitudes and policies that can help achieve the infrastructure transitions needed to build desirable cities, today and into the future.

As part of this project, Daynamica has been used to better understand associations between trip modes, activity types, and emotions (happiness, sadness, pain, etc.).