Time Use Survey in Germany

Initial situation and framework

In April 2020, Destatis, hbits CV and VUB signed an installation contract where the MOTUS software was installed remotely on the IT-architecture of IT.NRW. The installation took place between the 22nd of May and the 14th of July 2020.

The installation was evaluated successfully, and the 3-tier capability of MOTUS was confirmed positive by IT.NRW on the 10th of July.

Next, Destatis and IT.NRW evaluated the front and back-office of MOTUS. The front- office is used by respondents and includes the mobile app for iOS and Android and the web app to be used via a browser. The back-office is a web application and available to researchers.


The German Time Use Survey, Zeitverwendungserhebung or ZVE, is conducted on an irregular basis. The span between the researches is roughly 10 years. The previous data collections were done via Paper-and-Pencil and by following most of the HETUS- recommendations. Respondents are asked to complete a time diary for 2 weekdays and one weekend day.A new ZVE data collection is planned in 2022, starting in January and ending in December. In a situation of declining response rates and an uptake of modernity, Paper-and-Pencil diaries are not (considered) effective anymore. Therefore participants need to be given the possibility to register their activities via an internet connect device.

Tasks hbits

The project running from January 2021 until March 2023 has multiple tasks:

  • Provide a non-productive license prior to ZVE2022
  • Provide a productive license during ZVE2022
  • Development and customizing of MOTUS software based on all requirements for ZVE2022
  • Obtain a secure and privacy preserving environment
  • Training sessions
  • Maintenance and support

Push-to-Online strategy

For the ZVE2022 study Destatis handles the Push-to-Online strategy.

This strategy implies that Destatis first asks respondents to complete the Time Use Survey online via a mobile and/or web application.

Only when respondents are not able to take part online, or are unwilling to do so they are invited to participate via the paper-and-pencil method.


ZVE2022 via MOTUS

For the ZVE2022 project, MOTUS is made available as a data collection platform to collect Time Use Survey data from 10.000 households in Germany.

The fieldwork takes place from January until December 2022. Prior to the data collection Destatis, IT.NRW and hbits partner-up to develop and customise MOTUS towards the ZVE2022 goals.