Modal choice

In addition to the Mobility and Transport Microcensus (MTMC) the ARE conducts a stated preference (SP) survey to gather data on people’s choices with regard to mode of transport and route. The data gathered in this way is used to arrive at a better understanding of these choices. It is also needed as a basis for transport modelling.

Stated preference data provides information on individual interviewees’ preferences in hypothetical situations, thereby enabling an evaluation of:

  • options which are not yet available; it also enables researchers to identify the effect on preferences of factors which vary little in real life, such as the cost of a trip over a given distance; and
  • characteristics which are closely linked, such as the cost of a trip and the distance it covers.

Stated preference data nonetheless has one obvious drawback: what  respondents say they would do as part of a survey does not necessarily correspond with what they do in reality. To mitigate this problem, and to give respondents the most realistic context possible, the hypothetical situations of the declared preference questionnaire were based on trips they had actually made in the past. This was achieved by selecting respondents for the stated preference survey from among those who took part in the MTMC survey.

Furthermore, the statistical models that were developed, termed ‘discrete choice models’, used both the stated preference data and the MTMC data, which are referred to as ‘revealed preference’ (RP) data, together. They thus take into account the genuine preferences expressed in the MTMC survey.

These models enable us to put an estimated value on time, and also to work out elasticities to some extent. The value of time reflects the price that people are willing to pay to save one hour of travel. This currently stands at CHF 13 per hour for private motorised transport, and CHF 12 per hour for public transport, corresponding to CHF 2 for every ten minutes gained. Drivers are less sensitive to variation in the duration and cost of their journeys than those who travel by public transport. What's more, where public transport is concerned, a 1% reduction in travelling time would generate a greater increase in demand than a 1% reduction in the corresponding fare. The examples selected here should nonetheless be regarded as average figures. The detailed findings of the report differ in terms of length of journey, the reason for travelling, and personal income, etc.



Analyse der SP-Befragung 2015 zur Verkehrsmodus- und Routenwahl (PDF, 5 MB, 01.09.2017)This report describes a number of models of modal and route choice, based on the data gathered by the 2015 stated preference survey. It also presents the findings of the research, and evaluates their potential for transport modelling. In German; Abstract in French.

SP-Befragung 2015 zum Verkehrsverhalten (PDF, 3 MB, 01.09.2016)This report describes the stated preference questionnaire that was used for the 2015 survey. In German; Abstract in French.

Stated Preference-Befragung (SP-Befragung) 2010 zum Verkehrsverhalten im Personenverkehr (PDF, 4 MB, 08.05.2012)This report describes the stated preference questionnaire that was used for the 2010 survey. In German; Abstract in English

Übersicht zu Stated Preference-Studien in der Schweiz und Abschätzung von Gesamtelastizitäten (PDF, 981 kB, 10.05.2012)This report compares the data gathered in the 2010 stated preference survey with that of earlier studies. It makes recommendations on the general elasticities of demand that are to be used to forecast energy usage up to 2050. In German; Abstract in French.


Federal Office for Spatial Development ARE

Antonin Danalet
+41 58 462 49 98
3003 Berne

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