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46 FOCUS AND STAKEHOLDER GROUP SURVEYS-- Figure 9 provides a sample question, which asks for driver SPECIFIC TOPICS perceptions regarding the quality of travel on freeway sec- tions, according to several factors. Questions on both the Another type of focus and stakeholder group surveys is relative satisfaction of each factor and the importance of the not associated with statewide or regional freight studies factor are asked. A seven-point relative interval rating scale but, rather, with specific topics. For example, a 2007 paper is used, where 3 is "least important/least satisfied," 0 is "as reported on an attitudinal survey that was conducted of 71 important or as satisfied as others," and +3 is "most important/ Georgia-based trucking firms regarding their opinions on most satisfied." The use of a seven-point scale "balances the a proposed truck-only toll lane scheme alongside Interstate level of detail in measurement of the respondents' perceptions highways in the Atlanta region, proposed to relieve conges- and the respondent burden and error." The use of a "typical" tion. The respondents included both small carriers (10 or interval-rating, ordinal or ranking scale was not considered fewer power units) and large carriers (more than 200 power to be appropriate. This was because a typical interval-rating units). The survey solicited information about the firm's scale question allows the respondent to give an equal impor- activities--notably, the geographic extent of its services, tance to all factors, thus making the distinction among factors its frequency of use of the region's highways, the most fre- difficult. An ordinal scale or ranking question does not allow quently used highways, the time of day of operations, loca- mathematical interpretation of the survey responses, thereby tions of the most severe congestion, use of alternate routes to restricting the applicability of various statistical analyses. avoid congestion, importance of delivery time, use of truck- only lanes, and the willingness to pay (23). The study's authors noted the difficulty in gaining driver participation in the surveys. They first conducted the survey A 2005 study of the acceptability by truck drivers of in- at the Florida Truck Driving Championship, where paper vehicle technological feedback systems to improve safety forms were distributed to drivers as they registered for the illustrates the use of focus groups and stakeholder surveys. event. However, despite ongoing publicity during the event, (For example, an electronic sensor might monitor driver only 11 of 148 surveys were returned. As a result, a second alertness.) Focus groups were used to collect qualitative survey was conducted; this time, through the distribution information from 66 long-haul drivers in New England by Florida DOT staff to truck drivers at four agricultural regarding attitudes toward technology and feedback. The inspection stations. Four thousand mail-back questionnaires results were used to develop a questionnaire, which then were distributed, of which 311 were returned (7.8% response was administered to 198 long-haul truck drivers to provide rate). Another 300 mail-back truck manager surveys were quantitative information (24). sent to 60 Florida-based carriers (five surveys each): with follow-up telephone calls, 27 surveys were returned (9% More details on the efficacy of the focus group and stake- response rate) (25). holder surveys are provided in a 2009 paper reported on the development of level of service (LOS) factors that are specific Finally, two 2008 studies in Washington are of interest. to the trucking community. This is in contrast to the com- One study used online surveys of truck drivers who drive in monly used traffic engineering techniques, such as those of that state and of trucking companies that operate in the state the Highway Capacity Manual, which develop a single LOS to gather information regarding the adequacy and availabil- for all types of traffic combined. The development of specific ity of truck parking and services in the state, in light of fed- LOS factors for the trucking community reflected the unique eral regulations that require minimum rest periods and of size and operating characteristics of large trucks: in turn, the need for short-term parking while drivers are waiting these factors could be used to assess how well the statewide to make a delivery or pick up a load (26 ). The survey was road system meets the needs of freight transportation. publicized by e-mail among trucking associations and via the state DOT's freight industry stakeholder e-mail list, in The study sought input from two stakeholder groups: industry publications, and on trucking programs on satellite truck drivers ("the most important group concerning truck radio. No information is provided about the total population, LOS, in that they are the ones who actually drive the trucks and a sample was not drawn statistically. However, 473 driv- on the road") and truck company managers (whose input ers and 99 companies responded. was sought "so they could be compared with those of the truck drivers"). Perceptions on the "truck trip quality" were The surveys generally were similar, and asked: gathered from each group, first qualitatively through focus groups and then through the administration of stakeholder Characteristics of the carrier/company type, including surveys to corroborate the perceptions. Two sets of forms normal areas of operation and types of vehicles used in were prepared in order to account for the differing back- the state, and frequency of trips ground characteristics; however, the analytical questions Where trucks currently park, with a specific break- were identical. down by rest and service area location

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47 FIGURE 9 Perception of truck trip quality on freeways--Florida. [Source : B. Ko et al. (2009) (25).] Parking requirements (size, width, height) (An initial sample frame for the latter included businesses When and for how long they park that did not necessarily own commercial trucks; however, What services they use when they park this resulted in a high number of ineligible [i.e., inapplicable] What improvements should be made at truck parking cases, and so the scope was narrowed in order to generate a areas usable response.) The survey was conducted as a telephone Where it makes most sense to increase available truck interview; however, respondents were offered the option of parking participating via an Internet survey. Of the 1,750 completed Where additional truck parking areas should be responses, 1,513 participated through a short telephone inter- developed. view and 237 respondents completed a web survey for an overall response rate of 69.6%. Up to 10 contacts were made The second study solicited information on the economic with each sampled organization, to encourage participation. impacts to Washington State shippers and carriers of weather- The telephone interviews ranged between 5 and 50 minutes related closures to I-5 and I-90 (key north-south and east-west in length, with an average duration of 20.5 minutes. A com- corridors, respectively) during the winter of 20072008. The puter-assisted telephone interview (CATI) was used to allow survey contacted 2,758 establishments sampled from trucking data validation to be conducted during the interview (e.g., by industries and from businesses active in seven "freight depen- prompting the interviewer to ask about missing information dent" industrial sectors that also owned commercial trucks. as responses were processed) (27).