Household Travel Survey (HTS)

The most comprehensive source of personal travel data for the Sydney Greater Metropolitan Area (GMA). Find out how and why people travel.
About the survey

The Household Travel Survey (HTS) collects information on personal travel behaviour. The study area is the Sydney Greater Metropolitan Area (GMA) and forms the geographic scope of the survey. The area covered by the GMA includes Sydney, Illawarra and the Hunter. All residents of occupied private dwellings within this area are considered in scope of the survey and are randomly selected to participate.

The HTS is conducted every day of the year and has been running continuously since 1997/98. Currently approximately 3,000 households are randomly selected annually to participate in this survey that runs continuously every day of the year – including during school and public holidays. Data is collected on all trips made over a 24-hour period. Surveys are conducted using face-to-face interviews and each member of the household is included.

Annual estimates from the HTS are produced using three years of pooled data. For example, 2015/16 estimates are based on 2013/14, 2014/15 and 2015/16 pooled data and is weighted to 2015/16 population. All estimates are weighted to the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Estimated Resident Population, corresponding to the year of collection.

Unless otherwise stated, all estimates are for an average weekday.

HTS data is available by Region, Statistical Area Level 3 (SA3) or Local Government Area (LGA). LGA Data is only available from 2016/17 onwards.

The HTS population figures are based on the Estimated Resident Population (ERP) published by the ABS for the corresponding year. HTS population estimates are also slightly lower than those reported in the ABS census as we exclude overseas visitors and those in non-private dwellings.

What is a trip? 

The Household Travel Survey collects data on trips. A ‘trip’ is defined as travel from point A to B. The ‘purpose’ of a trip depends on point B, the destination. Each trip has one purpose and one type of transportation mode used. Collecting data on trips is important as it captures the full range of travel activities made by Sydney residents. 

Example 1:

A nurse practitioner stops into the post office on the way to work. This is counted as two trips:

Trip 1: Drive from home to the post office.

  • The purpose of this trip is 'personal business’.
  • The mode used is ‘vehicle driver’.

Trip 2: Drive from the post office to work.

  • Now the ​​​​​purpose has changed to ‘commute’.
  • The mode used remains ‘vehicle driver’.

In the data, these are reported as two trips by ‘vehicle driver’ mode and one trip each for the purpose of ‘personal business’ and ‘commute’.

Example 2:

A school student travels to school by bus. This is counted as two trips:

Trip 1: Walk from home to the bus stop.

  • The purpose of this trip is ‘change mode of travel’.
  • The mode used is ‘walking’.

Trip 2: Take the bus from the bus stop to school.

  • Now the purpose has changed to ‘education/childcare’.
  • The mode used has changed to ‘bus’.

In the data, these are reported as one trip each for the mode of ‘walking’ and ‘bus’ and one trip each for the purpose of ‘change mode of travel’ and ‘education/childcare’.

Information for survey participants

If you have received a letter from Transport for NSW regarding participation in the Household Travel Survey, you may find this page useful.

Frequently asked questions

Browse this page for answers to some of the frequently asked questions regarding the Household Travel Survey (HTS).


Please refer to HTS Visualisation User Guide for help.

Note: Datasets have been moved to the Open Data Hub. Please access Household Travel Survey data from this new site.

If you require further assistance, please contact us at