Skip to main content
European Commission logo

The Dutch Mobile Mobility Panel (480-11-005)

Netherlands Flag
Complete with results
Geo-spatial type
STRIA Roadmaps


Background & Policy context

In most countries, including the Netherlands, the understanding of people’s travel behaviour is based on cross-sectional travel surveys where only one day is surveyed for each respondent. This is not enough to gain a proper understanding of the dynamics in travel behaviour and changes in behaviour needed to reverse the worrying long-term trends of growing mobility, congestion, increasing oil consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The Center for Transport studies is setting up a research programme to examine the implications of the long-run dynamics and temporal variation in individual travel behaviour and accessibility for transport policy making. In a joint initiative with the Netherlands Institute for Transport Policy Research and Goudappel Coffeng, a Mobility Panel (2,000 households) for the Netherlands (MPN) will be launched in 2013, using three-day self-completion diaries. Self-completion diaries are however associated with well-known data collection problems. Firstly, there are problems with picking up short-distance walk and cycle trips and accuracy of measurements (in particular trip departure and arrival times). Secondly, multiple-day trip diaries are associated with a high respondent burden.


In the Dutch Mobile Mobility Panel project we will examine if GPS-enabled mobile phones are an effective and efficient alternative data collection method, and the value added in examining the variability and stability in individual travel behaviour and accessibility over time. Mobile phones are truly ubiquities having computation, sensing and communication capabilities and are carried by people throughout the day. It may become the most important solution to collect accurate and extensive travel behaviour data at low level of respondent burden in the near future. However, here is little experience yet with using mobile phones as data collection tools in the transport field. In this project we will develop an appropriate mobility monitoring tool to automatically record trips in detail (origin and destination locations, travel times) using algorithms to automatically detect (multi-modal) tours, trip purpose and transport mode. A field experiment will be conducted aiming to collect multiple-week and multiple-year travel behaviour data from 600 Dutch panel members. If monitoring using mobile phones has proven to be successful, it is intended to gradually replace trip diary data collection for specific population segments of the Mobility Panel for the Netherlands.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Research agency
Type of funding
Public (national/regional/local)
Funding Source


T. Thomas, K.T. Geurs, M. Bijlsma, S. Douhou(2014): Hoe mobiel zijn we nu eigenlijk? Eerste inzichten uit het Mobiele MobiliteitspanelTijdschrift Vervoerswetenschap pp. 138 - 154

This article describes the results of the first measurement period from April to June 2013. Approximately 60% of participants received a loan smartphone, 40% participated with its own smartphone. An extensive user evaluation at the end of the experiment carried out. The results provide interesting insights. The Sable Moves app does not detect all the rides and also users sometimes forgot to take the smartphone. However, the number of trips per person per day is significantly higher than in the displacement studies of CBS. Automatic ride detection provides a good distribution of journeys across the modes of transport and travel classes. Only the number of public transport journeys were no under-registered. Participants were generally satisfied with the accuracy of measurements, but less satisfied with the automatic detection of the mode and the battery consumption. The conclusion is that automatic trip registration with the Marten Moves app appears to offer a viable alternative or complement to traditional diaries, and that there is a room for further improvement of the detection mode and battery management to increase the usability for participants.


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


Contribute! Submit your project

Do you wish to submit a project or a programme? Head over to the Contribute page, login and follow the process!