Dr. Ahsan Habib is intrigued with how transportation connects every aspect of our lives and with how it impacts the environment.
Where we choose to live and work and how we get there are also important determinants in understanding a region’s transportation needs.
To help gain a better understanding of those and other related factors, Habib and his graduate students at Dalhousie’s Transportation Collaboratory (DalTRAC) are encouraging HRM residents to fill out the innovative Household Mobility and Travel survey they posted online a little over a week ago.
“We are looking for responses from across HRM. From the urban core, suburban areas, rural areas, we want to understand who is where,” he said.
The survey is designed to examine the connections between residential location, auto ownership and travel behaviour. Habib said because transportation is very closely tied to how cities are built, a better knowledge of the factors impacting transportation choices is essential.
“In HRM we have very limited knowledge about people’s decisions that affect transportation. We don’t have a regular travel survey like many other cities in Canada,” said Habib, assistant professor at DalTRAC, School of Planning and Department of Civil and Resource Engineering.
“The reason we’re doing this the way we have designed it is people make their long term decisions of where to live and where to work ... These decisions have a direct impact on short term daily transportation choices.”
Habib said it’s important for people like transportation professionals, planners and engineers to understand these kinds of connections.
“The survey is the first part of a research project. We will look at the data ... and try to understand why people live in different places, the difficulties facing them with sustainable and active transportation,” he said.
“How can we better serve, how can we create more choices for transportation?"
Habib said understanding the answers to those questions can help determine the type of planning needed for sustainable development and transportation decisions.
The survey will be up until Oct. 31, but the deadline may be extended if more responses are needed. Habib said their target is at least 400 to 500 survey responses, but the larger the sample, the better.
“At the end we want to develop a forecasting model to know where people will be living, what the transportation choices will be,” Habib said.
The survey takes about 20 to 25 minutes to complete, and participants are entered into a draw for a $50 gift card.
The survey can be accessed at https://surveys.dal.ca/opinio/s?s=15707 .