Effects of minor phrasing variations in traffic-related questionnaires - Comparison of objective equivalences and respondents' subjective statements

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This paper examines questionnaire-related issues of variations in the wording of questions and the objective accuracy of the response, in terms of three traffic-related phenomena (accident frequency, incident frequency, and speeding). ca. 900 survey respondents, living along four major arterial streets in Malmö, Sweden, estimated the occurrence of the phenomena in question. The dispatch consisted of two parallel questionnaires with minor variations in question wording which showed significant differences in the given estimates of accident and incident frequency depending on the phrasing. The correspondence between the subjective estimates and objectively measured accident and speeding figures is discussed along with the potential impact of wording, the phenomenon’s characteristics and response scales. Increased knowledge of these factors could ease communication with the public in the municipal traffic-planning process.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Civil Engineering
  • Infrastructure Engineering


  • Response effects, Traffic planning, Question wording, Public participation
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-328
JournalTransportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2010
Publication categoryResearch