Measuring travel problems: Testing a novel survey tool in a natural experiment

Matan E. Singer, Karel Martens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper we present and test a survey instrument to determine the prevalence and severity of travel problems, defined as any difficulty a person may experience in reaching destinations due to a poorly functioning transport system. The tool distinguishes between three types of travel problems: difficulties encountered while traveling; reliance on others; and forgoing trips. The deployment of the tool prior to and during the COVID-19 pandemic offers a unique natural experiment. A series of tests for internal validity, consistency, and reliability, including confirmatory factor analysis, support two of the proposed travel problem indices (Reliance and Trips Forgone). Exploiting the natural experiment, known-group analyses and Two-Part regressions delivered evidence for the external validity of the indices and demonstrated the ability of the instrument to elicit insights on travel problems. We end with a research agenda for developing robust measurement tools that can be used in research and policymaking.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103834
JournalTransportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment
StatePublished - Aug 2023


  • Mobility status
  • Travel insecurity
  • Travel problems

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Environmental Science
  • Transportation
  • Civil and Structural Engineering


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