Originally Posted Online: Sept. 05, 2013, 8:58 pm
Last Updated: Sept. 05, 2013, 11:26 pm

Bi-State commission launches survey to update Q-C travel patterns

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By Dawn Neuses, dneuses@qconline.com

ROCK ISLAND -- The Bi-State Regional Commission will launch a survey next week to update information on the travel habits of Quad-Citians, with the hope that the results will help money be spent on the most appropriate transportation projects.

The survey will cover 1,500 Quad-City households, members of which will be asked to track and share where and how they travel.

Bi-State also plans to deploy 150 GPS units with drivers in late September to gather "raw" travel data.

The last time such a study was conducted was in the 1960s, and travel habits have changed in the past 50 years, said Bettendorf Mayor Robert Gallagher Jr., who chairs Bi-State's Transportation Policy Committee.

"We would like to be able to use new data, accurate data, for future planning," he said.

According to Bi-State, the survey results will help transportation planners in the metro area understand how people travel and why, identify current travel choices and effect on the transportation system and improve regional mobility.

Bi-State also is scheduled to complete a draft update to its Long Range Transportation Plan in 2016, which will include goals and proposed recommendations for roads, trails and transit systems through 2045.

Bi-State's planning director,Gena McCullough, said the information from the survey can be used by cities, counties and agencies such as the Quad Cities Chamber to identify opportunities along transportation corridors.

Ms. McCullough said if getting around the metropolitan area is important to an individual, their participation in the survey is invaluable.

"The more response we have, the more accurate data we will have," Mayor Gallagher said.

Starting Monday, area residents will be randomly chosen to participate in the survey and mailed a letter. Starting Sept. 16, survey research firm ETC Institute will call those households and ask questions about daily travel and to keep a travel diary.

A pilot survey done in July and August found the first interview with participants took 14 minutes and the second interview took about seven minutes, Mayor Gallagher said.

Information collected will include home address, number of drivers and vehicles, annual household income, travel across the Mississippi River, vehicle make and model and trip data.

Bi-State only will receive the "raw" data. All information will be confidential and only used for statistical purposes as part of the Long Range Transportation Plan update, he said.

The survey also will offer transportation planners information on the use of Mississippi River crossings.

"We are hoping to find certain pockets of information that can help us," Mayor Gallagher said. "There are different things we can do to aid area transportation needs with those federal and state dollars."

Bi-State expects to get the raw survey data in late November or early December. A draft report is expected in January 2104, Ms. McCullough said.

The study is funded through a $300,000 Iowa Clean Air Attainment Program grant.

For more information on transportation planning, contact Bi-State Regional Commission at 309-793-6300, or go to bistateonline.org.