Sawtooth Software: The Survey Software of Choice

Matthew Barron

Matthew is currently working on his thesis for the Transport and Planning MSc course at Cardiff University, Wales. In his free time he enjoys cooking, football, and listening to heavy music. Matthew’s research interests include sustainable transport, car use, and parking. Matthew has worked as a planner on several major infrastructure projects in the UK. He is currently working towards accreditation by the Royal Town Planning Institute.



There is an ongoing debate as to whether light rail or a form of high quality, high frequency bus service known as ‘bus rapid transit’ (BRT) is more attractive to commuters and would encourage them to use public transport instead of the car. There has however been little research as to which of these modes is more effective as part of a ‘park and ride’ (P&R) service, where commuters park their car on the periphery of an urban centre and use a public transport service to complete their journey into the city centre.

Matthew’s research therefore seeks to investigate whether light rail or bus rapid transit-based park and ride would be more attractive to commuters travelling into Cardiff city centre. In order to do this Matthew is carrying out an online stated choice survey using Sawtooth Software’s CBC with the Advanced Design Module.

The survey asks respondents to consider a hypothetical scenario where they are using park-and-ride to commute into Cardiff city centre. They are presented with a selection of choice sets with three alternative P&R modes: bus, BRT, and light rail, with the attributes of total travel time, frequency and return-trip cost outlined for each. After each choice set, respondents are asked whether they would switch from their current mode to the P&R mode they had just selected. Through the use of this choice experiment and follow-up question, along with an earlier question asking respondents what their current mode is, it is possible to investigate whether light rail or BRT-based park and ride would be more effective at stimulating a shift away from the car.

The Welsh Government is currently developing a proposal for a South East Wales Metro system which will develop and integrate new public transport services in the region, and include park and ride facilities for travel into Cardiff. It is hoped that through providing an indication of the relative effectiveness of light rail and bus rapid transit-based park and ride, Matthew’s research will contribute to the discussion as to which park and ride mode should be developed. It could also be of interest to policy-makers across the world who face similar decisions as to what type of public transport should be used for park and ride.

For more information regarding his research or any questions, Matthew can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

More information regarding the Transport and Planning MSc course at Cardiff University that Matthew is undertaking can be found at the following link:

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