Each year in spring before the next survey period a representative recruitment of new households to participate in the mobility panel takes place. This is to ensure a consistent proportion of new and repeating households in the sample.
In the next step potential participants are contacted by telephone (Random Digit Dialing). In this conversation the research project is explained to the households. Until 2012 the contact was made through the fixed line network. Since 2013 households are also contacted through the mobile network.
Information about the study is sent to the households who are willing to participate. After returning a signed statement of agreement, participants receive the survey documentation. Since 2013, participants of newly recruited cohorts can choose to fill in the survey questionnaires online instead of in paper form. The online version of the questionnaires can be called up on desktop computers or laptops as well as on the smartphone or tablet. Participants who chose the paper questionnaire send it back to the research institute in a postage-paid envelope. Should participants fail to participate in the survey during the week planned they are offered an extra week. A written reminder is sent to households who forget to send back the survey documentation.
As an incentive for their participation in the everyday mobility survey of the German Mobility Panel, each participating household receives a lottery ticket for the “Aktion Mensch” lottery (household members have to consent that their address is passed on to “Aktion Mensch” for the purpose of receiving the ticket).
The fuel consumption and car mileage survey is carried out the following spring after the everyday mobility survey (about end of April to end of June). Participants in the everyday mobility survey with car ownership are asked to participate in this survey and to fill in a so-called “odometer reading and car mileage diary” in the course of eight weeks. Participants are contacted in written form. After filling in the “odometer reading and car mileage diary” participants are asked to send it back to the research institute. Participants of the fuel consumption and car mileage survey also receive a small thank-you gift for their participation.