Smartphone ownership has skyrocketed to be above 70% of the North American adult population in less than 10 years (Pew 2016). The rate of smartphone ownership will continue to grow rapidly in the next few years, creating even more widespread survey and research opportunities. While these ownership rates are higher and getting higher, RSG has experience is using the full array of study design and implementation options to complement smartphone-based data collection.
Users must receive an invitation to use rMove and participate in a study. The exact recruitment process and study design varies for each study, but typically each participant will be asked some basic demographic information before beginning to record information about their travel. They will then receive the login information necessary to begin using rMove on their smartphone. Interested parties can request to test rMove.
rMove is available for Android and Apple (iOS). Smartphones compatible with rMove represent the vast majority of smartphone owning adults in North America and abroad.
rMove automatically and securely collects information about location, speed, and time. When rMove senses that a user has stopped moving, it will also prompt them to enter additional information about their trip through a series of easy-to-answer questions presented on their smartphones. These questions collect information such as the type of vehicle and the purpose of their trip, information important to transportation planners to make informed projections about future travel in their region.
While each study is unique, rMove typically asks two types of surveys: surveys after making a trip and surveys at the end of each day. Both types of surveys take most people less than one minute to answer, and because it’s on their smartphone, they can do so at their own convenience. Our experience has shown that the majority of participants answer their trip surveys within two hours of ending the trip, ensuring that each survey is answered quickly and accurately.
As a device that frequently uses your smartphone’s location services (particularly GPS), rMove does impact the battery life of most phones. rMove uses various adaptive data collection methods to regularly capture location data with a minimal impact on battery life. There has been significant progress to minimize rMove’s impact on battery life, allowing the vast majority of users to continue to enjoy a full day of battery life from their phone.
rMove is designed to minimize data use when sending and receiving travel behavior information collected on a device during the study period. If both WiFi and a cellular network signals are available, rMove first uses WiFi to send and receive data. If no WiFi network is available, then rMove sends and receives data using a participant’s mobile data plan whenever a cellular signal is available.
During participation in the study, rMove will use the location services on participants’ phones (e.g., GPS and compass) and accelerometer to collect information about their travel behavior. rMove will operate unobtrusively in the background and provide users with notifications only when additional information is required.