Our mobility is constantly evolving. Changing time-use and consumption patterns, technological improvements, population and urban growth, as well as sustainability issues require us to adapt our transport systems and traffic planning. Participate in our study and contribute to the design of future traffic systems.

Travel behaviour

How are people moving from place to place? Which transportation modes are they using to do so?

Time-use behaviour

How does our transport infrastructure influence our activity and time-use schedules (e.g. work, shopping, leisure)?

Future transport

How can current transportation systems be enhanced to better match the population's needs? How can we do so sustainably??

TimeUse+ is the latest study at ETH Zurich's Institute for Transport Planning and Systems (IVT). We need your support to be able to shed light on these questions.

Our TimeUse+ app includes an integrated time-use and travel diary to give you an overview of all the places you visit in a day and how you travel between them. Our app uses your location data and artificial intelligence to automatically generate a travel diary that you can enrich with additional information about your time-use behavior. Your travel patterns are visualized on a map, and personalized statistics let you monitor how much time you spend traveling and doing various other activities.

By participating in our study, you will contribute to ongoing research that will shape and improve our future transport systems. Participation only by invitation from the IVT.


Project information

Frequently asked questions
Find answers to frequently asked questions (FAQ)
User's manual
Click here for detailed information on how to use the TimeUse+ app
Click here for tutorials on how to use the TimeUse+ app
Info sheet
This PDF summarizes all relevant information for study participants
Data privacy policy
Detailed information about data privacy policy and about how we secure your data
Please find here the consent form which needs your approval in order to participate in the study


Purpose of data collection

The goal of the study is to gain new insights into how best to improve transport systems in urban agglomerations in Switzerland. How can mobility become more efficient? What do people expect from transport systems? How does the ongoing digitalization of various aspects of life influence the requirements put toward our transport systems? For more information see the section 9 of the manual.
Understanding how individuals use and value their time helps us contextualize travel behavior. This information serves transport policy, as it indicates whether individuals would prefer improvements in speed or comfort and which modes and routes they prefer using. Generally, time use data can also be used to study patterns of behavior that affect multiple fields like economic welfare, well-being, physical activity, and social and public policy.
This research project is conducted by the Institute for Transport Planning and Systems of the ETH Zurich.
The main study will run in 2022.
The study is financed through research grants from state agencies, namely the Swiss National Science Foundation
Participation in TimeUse+ is primarily by invitation only. These have been sent to randomly selected inhabitants of Swiss urban agglomerations. The invitation is non-transferable and may not be shared with others. Unfortunately, we are not able to accept any people not selected randomly, as it is precisely this random selection that makes the study statistically representative. If you were selected, please fill in the online questionnaire you receive from us by email. We will get in touch with you shortly thereafter.

To participate in the smartphone study, you need to fulfill the following requirements:

  • Be 18+ years old (by the end of 2021)
  • Live in an urban agglomeration of Switzerland
  • Own a smartphone that can install the tracking app
  • Be able to walk 200 m without pain or any other discomfort
  • Must not work as a professional driver (Bus, taxi, truck)
The app collects your mobility behavior based on GPS data. These mobility data are used to analyse transport. These analyses allow for the identification of key mobility indicators (e.g. mode choice). Further, trip purposes are derived based on multi-day travel patterns, as are spatial analyses. It also gathers the information about the your activities when you validate correctly. For technical details, see our Data Privacy Notice
The data will be exclusively used for research purposes. The data will be archived according to data protection requirements and made available for future research projects. The identification of individual persons will not be possible. The data will not be sold to third parties. Only aggregated results will be published to guarantee anonymity. This means in particular that individual movements (e.g. a walk in your neighborhood) will never be visible!

The following data is collected by the app:

  • Smartphone model (e.g. "iPhone 11")
  • Operating system version (e.g. "iOS 14.3")
  • App version (e.g. "TimeUse+ 1.1")
  • Location data (all recorded tracks are visible to you in the app)
  • Movement activity as processed by the smartphone (e.g. “motorised” or “by foot”)

See a complete summary on data collection in the Data Privacy Notice

Your private information is of the utmost importance to us, especially with regard to the collection, saving, and using of personal tracking data. The collected data are under no circumstances distributed to third parties and only used for research purposes. You reserve the right to block or delete all of your data at any time without giving reasons. To do so, please send us an email to timeuse@ethz.ch. All your data will be used strictly anonymously for the analyisis of the study. Find more details on data privacy in the Data Privacy Notice.
For the aims of the research project, this information provides a clear picture about how people interact with the city. These kind of surveys are important for the implementation of measures that enhance the well-being of the population.
You will have the opportunity to be aware of your travel and expenditure behavior. The information can show you aspects you may want to improve (for example, the chance to use the bike more), but also compare your routines with others upon the final results of the study. For this, you will receive a weekly and final summary showing interesting individual results. Furthermore, you will contribute to the future development and research of traffic systems in Switzerland and beyond. Your daily movement habits will make our knowledge of how people move and where improvements could be made more complete.

Technical requirements

Please note that it must be written without blanks. Do not forget to add the plus sign "+" right next to "TimeUse".

Use the following links:

Or search manually “TimeUse+” on your App Store.

Open the app and click on "Get Sarted" to create an account. Then, enter:

  • Your email address
  • A password of your choice (minimum 6 characters)
  • The registration code you have received by us

For more advice, see the Manual.

Once you register, your account will be activated. Then, open the app and click on "Already have an account" and enter your email address and a password of your choice when creating your account.
Only invited participants have access to a registration code. You will find the registration code on the invitation letter sent by us. If you have not recieved an invitation letter from us, and would like to participate in our study please send us an e-mail to timeuse@ethz.ch.
This happens when you have already created your account, but are trying to register again. Instead of "Get Started", choose "I Already have an account" on the app's starting screen to sign in. Enter your email and the passwort you chose when creating your account. In case this does not resolve the problem, send us an email at timeuse@ethz.ch and we will get in touch shortly.
The registration code serves as a partly anonymized link between the collected data and study participants. The researchers directly involved in the study can link participants to their registration code, but this is not possible for third parties. This partial anonymization makes it possible for the study to link responses from the surveys with the data from the smartphone tracking, which would not be possible with complete anonymization.
It is extremely important that you set up your device properly to ensure optimal results. How you configure the settings is different depending on the operating system you use (iOS or Android). You will need to allow access to use your location, activity recognition and deny battery saving mode for the app. Please read section 2 of the manual carefully or click on here.
The effect of the app on your smartphone performance heavily depends on the exact phone model and operating system. This is out of our control. Recent developments in battery technology have however extended the battery life of smartphones considerably. We suggest you charge your phone when not traveling, for example at home or work, instead of turning it off. Thank you!

App usage

Yes. You can turn off the notifications on your mobile device's settings. We do not recommend doing so during the participation on the study.
When you enter to a day in the calendar, you will see a list of events. Those events can be tracks (shown with paths, lines) or stays (shown with points). A track refers to a trip, a movement that has a start and ending point. All the tracks should take place in Switzerland in order to be considered for the study.
Yes. Validating is the essence of the study. Without your proper validation, the information is not as valuable. We made a step by step guide for you to get familiar with the validation process. Make sure to read the Validation section in the Manual. Click here to access it.
We recommend that you validate every day to make your diary as complete and accurate as possible. We tend to forget the details of our day as time goes on. It is also possible to validate every two to three days, but we strongly recommend to avoid validating every five days or even every week.
Once you are familiar with the process and the buttons it will take you about ten minutes a day to validate a given day (full day of events). Remember that you can only validate events that have already been tracked (i.e., places that you already visited). You will therefore always validate days in the past. E.g. You can validate your weekend days on the Monday that follows.

Yes. Enabling this feature it is crucial for the app to work correctly.

iOS: You will see prompts (screens with options that pop up and after choosing an option disappear) as soon as you register that will ask you to give premission for the app to retrieve your location. Please allow the app to use the GPS (e.g. your location). In some cases, you might see this prompt after the first time the app shows information tracked (i.e. after your first track).

Android: You will see prompts (screens with options that pop up and after choosing an option disappear) as soon as you register that will ask you to allow the app to use the GPS services and location. Please accept the permissions. Additionally, you will need to fix some settings in order for the app to work properly. Please carefuly read the Quickstart or the Manual (section 2, Settings).

You can tell the tracking has been successful if you can see tracks (paths) and stays (points) on the map on the top of the screen of a given day. You can only validate these recorded tracks and stays. You will know that the information is ready to be validated, thus tracked, when it appears in the calendar. Please write us an e-mail to timeuse@ethz.ch if you notice that the tracking does not work.
A few tracking errors are expected to happen. Please make sure that the start and end points are correct. If the tracking of an event is extremely wrong, we suggest you delete it. To delete the event go to the "My Events" panel, select the mistracked event and scroll down to find the option "Delete event".
There is a wide range of activities to select from. Sleeping, working, leisure time, taking care of children, cooking, shopping, going out for a meal, walking your dog, etc. Note: In some cases, the activities may appear aggregated. We are currently testing which settings work better for our main study. We created a detailed Glossary of activities for you to read. Please check the manual, section 6.
For technical reasons, your tracks may only appear on the app after some time (latest after 2 days). If your tracks do not appear for several days, please make sure that your settings are correctly set. Make sure that your data is being transfered. If you rarely connect to a WiFi connection, this might be the problem. Open the App, go to the settings and disable the function "WiFi transfer only". If your tracks still fail to appear after several days, contact us at timeuse@ethz.ch and we will help solve the problem.
All of the activities preformed during that period of time. For example, if you are working from home one day and do not leave the house for the entire day, you need to specify the time spent for each of the activities you performed while at home: sleeping, self-care, eating, working, using the laptop of phone (work), using digital gadgets (personal), online shopping, exercise, other to name some.
Group of possible actions preformed during an event: listening to music, using digital devices, eating and drinking, shopping, studying, working, sleeping, waiting, doing errands, leisure activities, excersising, gathering with others, taking care of children, among many others. The App shows a list of activities, you just have to choose one or more activities according to what you did. Visit the glossary in the manual, section 6 for detailed information.
Yes, namely the places where you stop at or stay. A stay refers to the period of time in which someone continues doing something in a particular place. For stay events, you can choose from Home, Work or Other. We call all of these "Stays".
Required expenses are typically the goods or services associated with physical needs or maintenance: Food, taxes, housing, furniture, health, education, insurance, mobility and transportation, communications, and other services that are not leisure oriented. Not required expenses are those associated with leisure activities, entertainment, recreation and culture, vacations (including trips, lodging and restaurants), electronics, clothing. Visit the Glossary in the Manual, section 6 for detailed information.
Daily needs include consumer spending on food, beverages, cafes, restaurants, movie tickets, concerts, sports, newspapers, clothing, shoes, accessories, etc. Long-term needs include but are not limited to, the purchase of computers, laptops, smartphones, cameras, sports equipment and gear, haircuts and wellness services, vacations, furniture, tuition, newspaper subscriptions, and vehicle rentals. Visit the glossary in the manual, section 6 for detailed information.
Please report any technical malfunctions to timeuse@ethz.ch
You will receive weekly summaries of your mobility behavior.
No. The app can only be used when you have an internet connection.
The app is available in English, German, French and Italian. If your phone is an another language, the app will be displayed in German. The communication, online material and FAQs are only available in English and German.


Successful tracking in Switzerland and validating all the events shown in the App properly during the given period of time.
You will receive weekly summaries of your mobility behavior.
This study requires you to be actively tracking in Switzerland on a regular basis during the smartphone study. If you intend to travel abroad, you can simply install the app and start the tracking when you return. If you intend to travel abroad for more than 2 weeks, we recommend that you not participate in the smartphone study.
We recommend that you try to keep your smartphone on and the tracking active for the entire duration of the study. Deactivating the tracking, logging out of the app, or turning off your smartphone can negatively affect the quality of the study results.
If you do not track, you are unable to validate events. This means that the participation won't be successful. Visit the manual, section 9 for detailed information.
  • Initial questionnaire and registration: 15 minutes
  • Download and activate the app: 5 minutes
  • Diary on daily activities and validate recorded travel: approx. 10 minutes daily

Contact us

Ideally you contact us by e-mail or by phone


Quickstart for your mobile devices

Quickstart guide
Quickstart guide
Institute for Transport Planning and Systems (IVT)
Federal Technical University Zurich