University of Vermont Transportation Research Center

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Online travel surveys are increasingly common because of cost, user burden, and geocoding advantages. Consequently, it is important to ask how online survey samples compare to paper survey samples. This study compares paper and online responses to a 2016, state wide, Vermont transportation planning survey. Internet and smartphone access were analyzed by socioeconomic characteristics as well as by residential location to assess rural coverage. Respondents’ selection of the paper option was linked to lower population density. Online respondents showed significant spatial clustering. Crucially, the travel behavior and transportation attitudes of paper and online respondents differed even after weighting for demographic attributes. Smartphone ownership in Vermont is too skewed by age to be a primary travel survey method. Internet access is more widespread but does exclude some population segments. We recommend consideration of respondents by geographic location as well as socioeconomic characteristics when selecting survey mode and weighting, especially for state-wide surveys.