, Volume 38, Issue 1, pp 81–99 | Cite as

Impact of different criteria for identifying intra-household interactions: a case study of household time allocation

  • Hejun Kang
  • Darren M. Scott


Studies of household activity time allocation patterns typically do not differentiate between joint and independent activities. For those that do, more often than not, they use a set of restrictive criteria for identifying joint activities. One consequence of using such criteria is that the occurrence of joint activities may be underestimated due to inconsistent reporting or ambiguities involved in many large-scale, activity-travel surveys. This research is unique in its effort to examine the impacts of criteria at different levels of flexibility (i.e., restrictive vs. flexible) on the identification of joint activities, and the implications of such criteria on our understanding of household time allocation patterns. Using data from the first wave of the Toronto Travel-Activity Panel Survey, the results derived from both the descriptive analysis and structural equation modeling provide evidence of disparity. Specifically, the use of flexible criteria improves model fit, and provides more insights into household time allocation patterns. These findings suggest that new activity-travel surveys should collect information on involved persons. However, in the absence of such companion information, transportation modelers should not necessarily use restrictive criteria to identify joint activities. Instead, they should use more flexible criteria.


Activity analysis Flexible criteria GIS Intra-household interactions Joint activities Restrictive criteria Structural equation modeling Time use Toronto Travel-Activity Panel Survey 



We would like to thank the editor (Prof. Patricia L. Mokhtarian) and three anonymous reviewers for providing insightful comments to improve our paper. Also, we would like to thank Sean T. Doherty (Wilfrid Laurier University) for providing us with the 2002–2003 TTAPS data set for our empirical study. The research was supported financially by two grants awarded to Darren M. Scott: grant 261850 from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and grant TDM-DSD-08 from GEOIDE (Geomatics for Informed Decisions), one of Canada’s Networks of Centers of Excellence.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of IdahoMoscowUSA
  2. 2.TransLAB (Transportation Research Lab), School of Geography and Earth SciencesMcMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada

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