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18 CHAPTER FOUR DEVELOPING QUESTIONNAIRES Questionnaires are at the heart of the survey effort, with survey Examples of introductions are: questions the means by which the desired information is obtained from respondents. However, perhaps less obviously, · "The Big Blue Bus [Santa Monica, California] needs questionnaires also convey the purpose of the survey, its impor- your help to provide improved bus service. Please com- tance, and the attitude of the sponsor toward respondents. plete this survey and return it to the surveyor." · "The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority In developing on-board and intercept surveys, transit (VTA) wants YOUR help to improve transit services by agency staff must choose the questions to be asked that will completing this questionnaire and placing it in the cover the topics identified in the survey planning and return box at the rear exit before leaving the vehicle." accordingly design the questionnaire. Staff must write the · "Dear Customer: Please take a few minutes to complete questions and answer choices and the text that introduces the this survey. Your answers will be used in evaluating survey to riders. [Greater Cleveland] RTA services. When you leave the vehicle, return the survey to the person collecting them The wording of introductions, questions, and answer or drop it in any mailbox. No stamp is needed. Thank choices and the formatting of the questionnaire affect the you for taking time to complete this survey, and enjoy quality of data collected. A well-written introduction and your ride." well-designed layout encourages transit users to partici- · "Dear Bus Rider: The Citizens Area Transit (CAT) pate in the survey, thus minimizing nonresponse error. is conducting a survey to improve bus services in Well-written questions, appropriate answer choices, and Las Vegas. Please complete this form and drop it in an easy-to-follow questionnaire design help respondents to the envelope by the bus door. Thank you for your understand the questions, provide accurate responses (thus cooperation." minimizing measurement error), and answer all questions · "CTA would like to know more about your travel needs, (minimizing item nonresponse). in order to serve you better. Please fill out this brief sur- vey, and return it to the person who gave it to you." Transit agency practices and relevant findings in the liter- · "Dear Bi-State Rider: Thank you for using Bi-State ature are discussed for each aspect of questionnaire drafting Transit [St. Louis] services. In order to improve our ser- and design. vices, we are conducting a short survey of Metrolink and bus riders. Please take the time to complete this questionnaire, and when you are done, simply follow QUESTIONNAIRE INTRODUCTIONS the folding instructions and place it in the mail. We will pay for postage. Your input will help us to serve you On-board and intercept transit surveys generally include a better. Thank you for your help. Tom Irwin, Executive short introduction that explains the purpose and use of the Director." survey and requests the recipient to complete the ques- tionnaire. Introductory scripts used in personal interviews In sum, introductions are short and focused on motivating are similar to written introductions in self-administered response. Information relating to specific questions is placed questionnaires. with the question to which it applies rather than in the introduction. Introductions typically request cooperation, convey that the survey will help to improve transit service, and provide instructions on where to return the questionnaire. Stating the TOPICS AND QUESTION WORDING purpose of the survey and how the survey supports "group values" (e.g., improving bus and rail service) serves to moti- On-board and intercept transit surveys are conducted for a vate participation (Dillman 2000). By content and tone, range of purposes and the results are used in a wide variety introductions also convey a respectful attitude toward of ways within transit agencies. Questions on the survey and respondents, requesting their cooperation and assuring them response choices naturally need to serve the goals and objec- that their answers will be taken seriously. tives of the survey project. Therefore, it is useful to begin by
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19 considering how survey objectives translate into specific terms of gender, age, income, etc., common topics for survey survey questions. questions. In other cases, considerable thought needs to be given to how to translate research questions into survey ques- Figure 1 schematically diagrams the relationships tions. An example is the question of how ridership can be between agency needs, research questions, and survey ques- increased. As discussed here, in practice a variety of survey tions. Agency needs relate to the goals and objectives dis- questions are used to address this issue. cussed earlier. Each agency need results in one or more research questions. For example, agency marketing efforts This section is organized around the six research ques- can generate a variety of research questions ranging from tions: who uses transit to how ridership can be increased. 1. Where and when do customers use transit? In some cases, translating research questions into survey 2. Who uses transit? questions is straightforward. Transit users can be profiled in 3. How satisfied are the customers? Agency needs Research Survey Questions Questions Origin and Where and when destination do customers use Travel modeling transit? Trip purpose, fare payment, other trip characteristics Rider Who uses transit? demographics Long-range and areawide planning Frequency of transit use; how long use transit How satisfied are customers? Route planning and Customer scheduling satisfaction Reasons to use transit Why do customers use transit? Marketing Vehicles available to HH; for trip How can ridership Alternative mode be increased? Customer communications Needed improvements How effective are agency Awareness, web use, etc. communications? FIGURE 1 Translating agency needs into research questions and survey questions.
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20 4. Why do customers use transit? TABLE 9 5. How can the agency attract increased ridership? ACTIVITY-BASED ORIGIN AND DESTINATION SURVEY QUESTIONS FROM TRANSIT PERFORMANCE MONITORING 6. How effective are agency communications? SYSTEM Activity at origin 1) Where did you come from before you got on Question wording for each topic is discussed in the follow- this bus/train? Work/work-related ing sections. Home College/other school Shopping Medical services Where and When Do Customers Use Transit Social, religious worship, personal business Other________________ Many on-board and intercept transit surveys are primarily designed to obtain detailed information about each respon- Access mode 2) How did you get to this bus/train? Walked dent's current trip. Survey results form a profile of where and Drove my car when customers use transit services. The substantial body of Dropped off by someone O&D surveys reported by transit agencies reflects the use- Rode my bicycle Rode a bus/train fulness of on-board and intercept surveys to capturing travel Rode with someone who parked behavior information. On-board and intercept surveys are well suited to this purpose. Because the surveys are con- Activity at 3) Where are you going now? ducted during customers' actual trips, on-board and intercept destination Work/work-related Home surveys are able to cover the entire universe of riders. By College/other school inquiring about the current trip, surveys are able to minimize Shopping errors that arise from recalling past trips (as can occur in tele- Medical services phone, Internet, or mail surveys). Social, religious worship, personal business Other________________ The most common travel behavior questions in question- Egress mode 4) When you get off this vehicle, how will you get naires provided by transit agencies for this study concern to your final destination? specific aspects of "this trip." Walk Drive my car Get picked up by someone Ride a bus/train · Origin, Ride my bicycle · Destination, Ride with someone who parked · Purpose (work, shopping, return home, etc.), Source: McCollom Management Consulting 2004. · Access mode (e.g., walk, auto, bus, train), · Egress mode (e.g., walk, auto, bus, train), · Duration of access/egress trips, O&D Questions · Waiting time for bus or train on this trip, · Other routes used on this trip today, and The most comprehensive O&D surveys obtain four locations · Method of fare payment. for each trip: origin, boarding, alighting, and destination (OBAD). Each location is geocoded for further analysis and modeling. For riders who transfer between routes or modes, Trip Purpose and Access and Egress Modes the surveys usually ask place of boarding the first bus or train and where the rider will alight from the final bus or train, as The wording of trip purpose, access, and egress questions well as the route numbers for each segment of the trip. was standardized through the Transit Performance Monitor- Although some O&D surveys use the full set of OBAD loca- ing System (TPMS). TPMS was designed to collect data on tions, others use boarding and alighting locations only. transit customers through the use of on-board surveys using standardized questions. The program was funded through a O&D questions are a challenging type of question to for- cooperative agreement between FTA and APTA. From 1996 mulate and present on the questionnaire owing to the detailed to 2003, the program collected survey results from approxi- nature of the information and the nonintuitive character of mately three dozen transit agencies (McCollom Management the concepts employed in the questions; in particular, the Consulting 2002, 2004). concept of a one-way trip. Table 9 shows TPMS questions and response categories For modeling purposes, transit planners precisely define for trip purpose, access, and egress. Trip purposes were what they mean by a trip and each segment of the trip, start- asked in terms of O&D activities. Trips from home to work, ing from when travelers leave one activity site to when they for example, were classified as work trips, as are trips from arrive at the next activity site. Transit users are generally not work to home. familiar with this concept and may not think in these terms.
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21 Thus, respondents may not understand the distinctions 3. "What are the nearest cross streets or intersection of between origin and boarding, or between alighting and des- that place?" Boxes are provided for two street names. tination. For some trips, of course, the origin and boarding 4. "What is the exact street address of that place?" Boxes locations are the same and it may seem redundant to the are provided for street number, street name, city, and respondent to be asked about both locations. In other cases, zip code. respondents view the trip to begin at the boarding location; 5. "Where did you board this bus?" Boxes are provided so again, the origin appears to be redundant even though, by for cross streets and city. the intended definition, it is not. 6. "What time did you board this bus?" 7. "How did you get from the beginning location to the Customers also may not understand how to report trips bus stop where you boarded this bus?" Response cate- involving a transfer or stops along the way (linked trips, in gories are provided for "Walk," "Shuttle/vanpool," the planner's parlance). Sacramento Regional Transit "Rode with someone who parked," etc. District reports that customers transferring from light rail fre- quently report the transfer point as the end of the trip. Comparable information is asked for alighting location, destination location, and activity. Surveys for TriMet, CTA, Respondents may not even correctly identify the start and and the Southern California Regional Rail Authority end of the trip; some respondents provide round-trip (known as Metrolink) follow similar question sequences information--what appears to be a home-to-home trip, for (see Appendix C). example--rather than a one-way home-to-shopping trip. The concept behind this sequence of questions is that rid- Another difficulty is that respondents simply may not ers will most readily be able to report their trip by starting know the address or intersection information. Transit staff with their last activity and continuing sequentially. The sur- report that riders who do not drive, in particular, may not vey communicates the idea of the start of the trip by asking, know the street names at intersections, and therefore can- simply, "Where were you before riding this bus?" The survey not report the intersection where they boarded the bus. communicates the definition of a one-way trip without using Even when they know the exact address, riders may be the word "trip" and without needing to explain what is meant reluctant to report the specific address, particularly for their by a one-way trip. place of residence. Most O&D questionnaires provide several ways to report Even when precisely reported, location information can each location: as a landmark, cross streets, or address (with pose data processing challenges, as when street names repeat city and zip requested to avoid problems with duplicate street in multiple cities within an agency's service area (i.e., two or names). In the experience of transit agency staff, providing more "Main Streets"). all three ways to present location information produces more usable locations than providing only one or two ways. These problems are reported uniformly across O&D sur- veys. Although survey design, instructions, use of examples, The formatting of answer spaces for this information and other measures may reduce the incidence of problems varies. Some surveys provide separate spaces for landmark, with the data, no agency reported having completely sur- intersection, and address, as shown in the TARC survey in mounted these challenges. Figure 2. In practice, respondents typically complete only portions of the landmark/intersection/address section--hope- Transit agencies seek to overcome these problems by fully reporting enough information for geocoding purposes. asking riders to narrate their trip, usually from beginning to end. This approach takes advantage of the linear nature of Other surveys consolidate spaces for all three types of transit trips. location information. For example, a TriMet survey provided blanks for the street name, nearest cross street, city, and zip A typical sequence of OBAD questions is shown in code. (The full survey is in Appendix C.) TriMet staff Appendix C from a survey conducted for TARC. (Note that believes that a simpler format is less intimidating to riders the survey was printed on 17 in. by 11 in. paper so that the than the more extensive formats they used in earlier O&D two pages appear opposite each other in the version used in surveys. fieldwork.) The question sequence is: Even more simply, a SMART survey asked for the corner 1. "Where were you before riding this bus (beginning of two streets; instructions were under the lines specifying, location)?" Answer choices are "My home," "My "Address, street name, or landmark" and "Street name," work," "Visiting friend or relative," etc. respectively (Figure 2). 2. "What is the name of this place/building where you began this trip?" Boxes are provided to fill in the name Some agencies have experienced difficulty with the of a place; an example of a bank is provided. "street 1" and "street 2" terminology. CTA reports that these
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22 FIGURE 2 TARC (top) and SMART origin questions. words elicited O&D streets from some respondents in its Overall, it appears that avoiding the use of trip and one- West Side survey (see Appendix D). The CTA Douglas Line way trip terminology is more effective than attempting to survey asked for intersection, address, and landmark in one define or explain the meaning of these words. space, as shown in Appendix C. CTA staff believes that this approach is easier on field staff (because the questionnaire is Multisegment trips involving transfers also create confu- simpler for respondents), although more labor intensive for sion for respondents. Agencies marked by high transfer rates coding staff. In the view of CTA staff, a more complex ques- have used various approaches to improve the transfer infor- tionnaire would need more highly trained field workers. mation provided to them. For example, a Lane Transit Dis- trict survey first asked whether the rider was using one bus Regardless of these wording and formatting choices, or more than one bus on this trip, and if the latter, to specify transit agencies uniformly report at least some difficulties the route number(s) (see Appendix C). Lane Transit District with obtaining accurate and logical descriptions of riders' staff believes that overall this approach worked well, trips. Some agencies have experimented with reordering the although there was some confusion about multisegment trips. questions. The CTA West Side Customer Travel Survey begins by asking, "What bus route are you riding now?" Surveys sometimes include examples of answers. The That question is followed by questions on alighting loca- experience appears to be that providing example answers (as tion, transfers, and origin activity (home, work, school, in the TARC survey) is effective, whereas examples of the etc.) and origin location. The concept is to begin with a very meaning of instructions can be counterproductive. The CTA well-defined question (current bus route) and work back- West Side survey that illustrated the meaning of one-way wards to boarding and origin locations. CTA staff believes trips with a home to work example was taken to mean by that there is merit to this approach, although respondents some respondents that only home to work trips should be continue to have difficulty with the "Where are you coming reported (see Appendix D). from?" language. Fare Payment Metrolink also asked for the boarding station as the first question for a survey of commuter rail riders, but found little An important aspect of each trip is how the fare is paid. difference in data quality from sequences that started with the Agencies typically list fare payment options and ask respon- "where came from" question. dents to check the one that applies to this trip. The list of
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23 payment options can be quite extensive for agencies that trips per day and not simply the number of days transit is have various passes and different rates for seniors, persons used. Capturing trips per day is most relevant for transit with disabilities, and students. One approach is to present the systems that are often used for more than one round trip per options in a matrix format, as illustrated on the TriMet ques- day. However, some surveys have found that an inordinate tionnaire in Appendix C. Although there is reason to avoid number of riders report using transit for five trips per week. matrix formats (as will be discussed later), the format Many of those responding in this way are presumably mean- appears to be workable for fare payment. ing 5 round-trips per week, or 10 one-way trips. The days per week wording sidesteps the problem of respondents not understanding the concept of trips. Who Uses Transit? For questions about the duration of transit ridership, ques- On-board and intercept transit surveys are widely used to tion wording may or may not specify a threshold frequency of profile characteristics of transit users. Transit agencies use. Thus, Pace Suburban Bus asks simply, "When did you reported that information on customer characteristics is begin riding Pace?" TPMS wording specifies "How long have highly valuable for planning and marketing purposes and of you been a regular transit rider" and defines regular as at least keen interest to upper management. Rider profiles help pro- once each week. CTTransit (Hartford, Connecticut) defines vide a picture of who is using bus and rail services, without regular as at least once each month. Defining frequency works which it is difficult to think concretely about how to provide to ensure a uniform interpretation of the question. or market the services. The number of vehicles available to a household shows Profile information can be categorized as travel behavior whether the rider may have an automobile available for the (going beyond describing the current trip) and demographic current trip. Table 10 shows wording used by several transit information. agencies and in the 2001 National Household Travel Survey and 2000 U.S. Census Bureau long-form questionnaire. General Travel Questions Transit surveys often use trip-specific questions in addition to, or instead of, the household vehicle question, as discussed General travel questions used on questionnaires provided by later in this chapter. transit agencies include: A standardized TPMS question, widely adopted, concerns · Frequency of using transit, the alternative mode for the current trip. If transit service · How long the respondent has been using transit, were not available, would the respondent make the trip by · Vehicles available to the household, and car, walking, riding with a friend, taxi, bicycle, or not make · Alternative modes. the trip at all? The number that would not make the trip shows the degree to which transit provides basic mobility for Frequency of transit use shows the degree to which riders riders. The number that would use an automobile documents are regular versus occasional users. Particularly when ana- transit's role in reducing traffic congestion, although the lyzed by trip purpose and time of day of travel, the frequency "ride with a friend" response does not indicate whether the question can show what portion of riders' overall travel is friend is already making the trip. served by transit, and suggest areas for potentially attracting current riders to use transit more often. Demographic Questions Duration of transit use is valuable information to show the turnover rate among riders. Some agencies find relatively Demographic questions can provide insight into travel high turnover among riders. TPMS found that nearly one- behavior and customer attitudes. Demographic data can also half of riders in small and large systems have been using tran- be useful in assessing which markets transit is tapping and sit for less than one year. However, the results are not possible untapped or underdeveloped markets. uniform: a survey in Denver found that only 14% of RTD bus riders were new riders (less than one year). It would be Demographic questions used on questionnaires provided important to investigate the factors causing rapid turnover, by transit agencies cover the following topics: where present, which could well lead to prescriptions to retaining riders and thus growing overall ridership. · Gender, · Age, Wording of the frequency and turnover questions varies, · Race and ethnicity, as shown in Table 10. Frequency of transit use can be asked · Have driver's license, on a days per week (or month) basis, or trips within a defined · Household income, time period (usually a week or month). The latter approach · Household size, has the advantage of reflecting differences in the number of · Employment status,
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24 TABLE 10 SURVEY QUESTIONS RELATED TO WHO USES TRANSIT Frequency TPMS National Household Travel Survey (NHTS) Pace (suburban Chicago) LYNX (Orlando) of transit How often do you use In the past two months, about how often have How many days per week do How often do you ride the use transit? you used public transportation such as buses, you ride Pace? bus? 7 days a week subways, streetcars, or commuter trains? Less than 1 day 57 days a week 6 days a week Two or more days a week [11+ times] 1 day 24 days a week 5 days a week About once a week [510 times] 2 days Once a week 4 days a week Once or twice a month [24 times] 3 days Once or twice a month 3 days a week Less than once a month [one time] 4 days Less than once a month 2 days a week Never 5 days 1 day a week 67 days Twice a month Once a month First time riding TriMet (Portland, OR) RTD (Denver) How many trips have you How many one-way trips did you take on any taken on a TriMet RTD bus last week? (A round trip counts as two bus/MAX/streetcar in the trips.) Please do not include trips you may have last month? (Count each taken on the 16th Street Mall Shuttle or to events direction as one trip.) like the Rockies games. (Put "0" if none.) 0 or 1 One-way bus trips last week__________ 2 to 6 7 to 12 13 to 29 30 or more How long a TPMS Pace (suburban Chicago) CTTransit (Hartford, CT) transit How long have you been When did you begin How long have you user a regular transit rider-- riding Pace? regularly--at least once a at least once a week? Less than 1 year ago month--been riding Less than a month transit? 1 to 2 years ago 16 months 2 to 3 years ago Less than a month 712 months 3 to 4 years ago 16 months 12 years 4 to 5 years ago 712 months 34 years 5 to 7 years ago 12 years More than 4 years 7 to 10 years ago 24 years More than 10 years ago More than 4 years
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TABLE 10 (Continued) Vehicles NHTS 2000 Census TARC (Louisville) Sun Tran (Tucson) LYNX (Orlando) available How many vehicles are How many automobiles, How many vehicles are in How many working How many cars or trucks are to owned, leased, or vans, and trucks of one- running condition and vehicles (autos, in your household? household available for regular use ton capacity or less are available for use by your trucks, motorcycles) ___ by the people who kept at home for use by household? are available in the currently live in your members of your None household where you household? Please be sure household? live or where you stay 1 to include motorcycles, ____ in the Tucson area? 2 mopeds, and RVs. 0 3 ___ 1 4+ 2 3 4 or more Choice of TPMS TARC (Louisville) mode If transit service were not If bus service was not were available how would you available, how would you current make this kind of trip? make this trip? mode not Use a car Drive available Walk Ride with someone Ride with a friend Taxi Use a taxi Walk Bicycle Bicycle I would not make this trip Would not make this trip 25
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26 · Home ZIP code, and without making distinctions between litter on the floor, over- · Internet access. flow of trash cans, or brightness of the lighting. Question wording is relatively straightforward for these It is possible to develop a concise attribute list that captures questions, and often standardized. Table 11 shows TPMS the different aspects of the user experience and thus reduces wording for demographic questions included in the TPMS survey length. Studies that use qualitative methodologies project, and wording used by agencies for selected questions. such as focus groups or advanced statistical methodologies such as factor analysis and structural equations have found that the user experience can be distilled into 7 to 10 service How Satisfied Are Customers? attributes (Strategic Marketing & Research 1997; Stuart I. Brown Associates 1997; Stuart et al. 2000; Weinstein 2000; Customer satisfaction and attitudinal sections of on-board Miller et al. 2002; Zhou et al. 2004) Although the wording of and intercept surveys address the basic question, "How are the attributes varies between transit systems, they generally we doing?" These questions reveal riders' level of satisfac- cover the following areas: tion and experience with bus and rail services. However, the questions do not necessarily show why riders use transit or · Timely service (frequency of service, predictability of where agencies should focus their resources. bus or train arrivals), · Speed of service, Questionnaires provided by transit agencies typically ask · Cleanliness (on board and in station), for a rating of overall service and ratings for various attri- · Safety/police presence, butes. The surveys use a variety of scales for these ratings. · Comfort, An alternative approach is to query riders' direct experience · Driver courtesy and friendliness, with transit rather than rating service attributes. · Crowding, · Cost/value, and Attribute Ratings · Information availability and ease of use. The most common approach to measuring customer satis- Interestingly, the studies identified crowding as an issue faction is to ask respondents to rate overall service and rate a among larger agencies but not smaller agencies, whereas series of attributes. The overall rating may be obtained as one driver courtesy and friendliness was highlighted only by the item on the list of attribute ratings or as a separate question. smaller agencies. The number of service attributes presented--and the level LYNX and TriMet surveys illustrate attribute lists that of detail--varies widely. In questionnaires provided by tran- reflect these basic aspects of service (Table 12). sit agencies, the number of attributes ranged from 5 (Sun Tran, Tucson, Arizona) to 24 (CATS). Studies of customer satisfaction in transit have included as many as 48 attributes Ratings Scales (Morpace International 1999). Ratings of attributes may employ either a verbal or numeric Extensive attribute lists can include very specific aspects scale. Commonly used verbal scales include 5-point scales of service, such as posted signs on bus stops (CATS) and ranging from "Very satisfied" to "Very dissatisfied" or from cleanliness of train interior (Metrolink) (Table 12). These "Strongly agree" to "Strongly disagree." These scales have attributes are of direct relevance and interest to operational the advantage that each point on the scale is clearly positive divisions of the respective agencies and thus provide specific or negative, with a neutral point in the middle. and timely feedback to operating personnel. Another common verbal scale uses the short, easily under- Lengthy attribute lists increase the length of the survey. stood words, "Excellent," "Good," "Fair," and "Poor"; how- Whether the amount of information collected is greater than ever, whether "Fair" is a positive or negative rating can be for a shorter list is open to question, given that ratings for open to interpretation. attributes touching on similar aspects of service are often highly correlated. The high level of correlation could reflect Numeric scales are also commonly used. Such scales a similar level of performance across different attributes-- typically range from 1 to 5, 1 to 7, or 1 to 10. Numeric scales for example, agencies that keep the trash emptied may keep are easily fit on the page. Scores can be averaged and the aver- stations and railcars clean as well. On the other hand, strong age can be easily tracked over time. On the other hand, scores correlations between attributes may reflect a limit on how can be difficult to interpret; is a "5" a satisfactory score? many different aspects of the transit user experience riders perceive. In a subway station environment, for example, Agencies sometimes combine numeric and verbal scales. users may perceive the station to be "clean and well lit" For example, questionnaires may use a 1 to 5 scale but
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27 TABLE 11 DEMOGRAPHIC SURVEY QUESTIONS Gender TPMS I am... Male Female Age TPMS My age is: Under 15 15 to 18 19 to 24 25 to 34 35 to 49 50 to 64 65 or more Income TPMS RTD (Denver) Sun Tran (Tucson) TARC (Louisville) What is your total Which one of the What do you What was your household income? following categories estimate was the estimated total Under $20,000 best describes the combined total household income (in $20,000$29,999 total annual income, annual income 2003) before taxes? $30,000$39,999 before taxes, for all (before taxes) in 2003 <$20,000 $40,000$49,999 persons in your for everyone who $20,000$39,999 $50,000$59,999 household? lives in that $40,000$59,999 $60,000$79,999 Under $15,000 household? $60,000$79,999 $80,000 or greater $15,000$24,999 Below $5,000 $80,000$99,999 $25,000$34,999 $5,000$9,999 $100,000+ $35,000$49,999 $10,000$19,999 $50,000$74,999 $20,000$29,999 $75,000$99,999 $30,000$39,999 $100,000 or more $40,000$49,999 $50,000$59,999 $60,000$74,999 $75,000 or more Household TPMS NHTS Sun Tran (Tucson) size Including yourself, Including yourself, how many people Including yourself, how many how many people live live in your household? Please do not people live in the household in your household ? include anyone who usually lives where you live or where you ____ somewhere else or is just visiting, stay in the Tucson area? such as a college student away at 1 school. 2 ___ 3 4 or more Internet NHTS CTTransit TARC (Louisville) Pace (suburban access During the last 6 (Hartford, CT) Do you have access to Chicago) months, did you have Do you have the Internet at any of Do you have access to access to the Internet Internet access? the following locations? the Internet at home? or world-wide web? Yes (Mark all that apply.) Yes Yes No At home No No At work at work? At school Yes At the local library No I don't have access to the Internet Other places (specify)
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28 TABLE 12 SURVEY QUESTIONS RELATED TO CUSTOMER SATISFACTION TriMet (Portland, OR) Sun Tran (Tucson) Please read the following statements and Do you agree or disagree with the following statements? answer using the 5-point rating scale. Transit services operate on time. Cleanliness inside bus I feel safe when riding the bus. Safety while on-board Drivers are helpful and friendly. Reliability of service Route/schedule information is easy to use. Frequency of service Buses are clean and well-maintained. Overcrowding Scale: Strongly agree, Agree, No opinion, Disagree, Strongly Overall service disagree Scale: 1 (poor) to 5 (excellent) LYNX (Orlando) Pace (suburban Chicago) Evaluate LYNX services: Please indicate your level of satisfaction with Pace service on a Routing scale from 1 to 5, where 5 is Very Satisfied and 1 is Very Dissatisfied. On time Safety Overall satisfaction with Pace Cleanliness How driver obeys and enforces rules Operator courtesy Accuracy of route information Fare Availability of route information Frequency Driver courtesy Hours of operation Posted signs at bus stop Overall service Personal safety on bus Scale: Excellent, Good, Fair, Poor, Very poor, Ease of fare payment Don't know Cleanliness inside buses Total travel time Service connections Personal safety at bus stops Responses of telephone representatives Service when and where desired Reliability of equipment Buses running on time Drivers safe driving Value of service for fare paid Availability of bus shelters Notification of service changes Scale: 1 (very satisfied) to 5 (very dissatisfied) Metrolink (Los Angeles area) CATS (Charlotte, NC) Please rate each feature associated with traveling Rate how well CATS performs in each area. on Metrolink trains. Buses are on time Travel time on Metrolink vs. car Bus passes are sold at convenient locations On-time arrivals Travel time on the bus is reasonable Connecting transit buses at station Buses are clean inside Availability of free unreserved parking at station The Transit Center is clean and well maintained Availability of paid and reserved parking at station It's easy to get bus information on the phone Availability of seating on the train The transit system serves all parts of the city Cleanliness of train interior Buses begin running early enough in the morning Safe operation of trains Buses continue to run late enough at night Personal security on the train There is frequent bus service on weekdays Personal security at the station There is frequent bus service on Saturdays Trains free of defects (heat, doors, etc.) There is frequent bus service on Sundays Ease of purchasing tickets Bus fares are reasonable Courtesy of Metrolink conductors You feel safe from crime at the Charlotte Transit Center Cost of a Metrolink ride You feel safe from crime on the bus
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29 TABLE 12 (Continued) Communication of schedule changes Taking the bus is relaxing Communication of delays The bus ride is comfortable Schedule convenience Bus drivers are courteous Ease of getting information at 800-371-LINK Bus drivers are knowledgeable Scale: 1 (dissatisfied) to 5 (satisfied). Also asked for Bus drivers are safe drivers importance on 1 to 5 scale Bus drivers are sensitive to the needs of passengers Bus drivers greet you Complaints/suggestions get a quick response The system provides a valuable service to the community Scale: 1 (very poor) to 5 (excellent). Also asked for importance on 1 to 5 scale anchor the "1" and "5" as "Very satisfied" and "Very dissat- trip are viewed as "choice" riders, who are using transit isfied," respectively. because of the quality of service or other factors. Individuals who do not own a car or do not have a car available for this Simple "Yes" and "No" scales may be also be used where trip are classified as "transit dependent" or "captive." They appropriate, as when asking whether the respondent would are assumed to use transit for lack of an alternative. recommend transit to others. Whether riders that do not have an automobile available See Appendixes C and D for examples of ratings scales in are truly captive is open to question. National surveys show sample questionnaires. that people living in zero-vehicle households still make far more trips by private automobile (34%) than by transit (19%) Direct Experience with Transit (Pucher and Renne 2003). Survey results from 18 transit agencies, reported through the TPMS program, show that Another approach to relating the customer experience to one-quarter of riders surveyed would "ride with someone agency performance is to ask riders specific questions about else" if transit were not available for the trip, whereas 20% their user experiences, either for the current trip or overall would walk or bike and 11% would take a cab (McCollom experience. A good example is presented in a CTTransit on- Management Consulting 2004). Thus, even riders who, based board survey. The survey asked respondents whether buses on lack of automobile ownership appear to be captive appear arrive within 5 min of the scheduled time "Always," "Some- to have several means of transportation available to them. times," "Most times," or "Not very often." Similar questions pertained to the courteousness of bus operators, bus cleanli- Some surveys take a more nuanced approach to the auto- ness, availability of timetables and notices, and helpfulness mobile availability question. TriMet, for example, has four of telephone center representatives. (See Appendix D for the categories (results from 2000 survey are in parentheses): full questionnaire.) · I do have a car but prefer to use TriMet (43%). Similarly, a GCRTA survey asked riders to "grade RTA's · I don't have a car because I prefer to use TriMet (14%). services for this trip." Attributes included GCRTA arriving · I don't have a car available for me to use (28%). at the stop as scheduled, GCRTA driver being courteous, · I don't drive or don't know how to drive (15%). GCRTA seating comfort, and if the GCRTA shelter is clean. These categories acknowledge that the availability and Why Do Customers Use Transit? quality of transit service may encourage some riders to forego buying a car (or a second car) even though they could A key objective of many on-board and intercept surveys is to afford to do so. In a sense, they choose to be captive riders. understand why riders use transit. What are the key drivers that prompt members of the traveling public to choose the Other on-board and intercept transit surveys look not only bus, subway, light rail, or commuter rail over alternatives at automobile availability but also to other factors that affect that range from automobiles to walking? mode choice. Table 13 shows examples from several surveys that ask why respondents are using transit for this trip, or why Questionnaires provided by transit agencies show a wide they use transit generally. Variation in the wording of answer variety of approaches to surveying on this topic. One choices reflects different local conditions, but answer approach is to focus primarily on the availability of an auto- choices can be summarized as: mobile as the primary alternative mode, with some surveys simply asking whether the respondent had an automobile · Do not drive, available for this trip. People who have a car available for the · No car available (or allows someone else to use the car),
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30 TABLE 13 SURVEY QUESTIONS RELATED TO WHY CUSTOMERS USE TRANSIT Reasons VTA (San Jose, CA) Pace (Chicago area) Bi-State Development Agency for using (St. Louis) What is your main reason for using Why did you use Pace transit What is the main reason you transit in Santa Clara County? today instead of another use Bi-State transit services? Have no other way way of traveling? Cheaper than driving Better use of time Don't drive Faster than driving Costs less No car available I don't drive Faster than driving Reduces pollution No car available Allows someone else to use the car Prefer transit Traffic is too bad Fewer problems than using car Can read or relax Parking is too expensive Car in shop Unavailable parking More relaxing than a car Good for the environment No license Friends use transit Other (specify) Cheaper than driving Employer helps pay fare Expensive parking Better for the environment Other Other (specify) TriMet (Portland, OR) Big Blue Bus (Santa Monica, CA) What are the most important reasons you What is the major reason you are using the bus for are riding the bus today? this one-way trip? (Check one best answer.) I do not own a car I do have a car but prefer to use TriMet. Someone else has the car I don't have a car because I prefer to use TriMet. The bus is faster than walking I don't have a car available for me to use. Parking is expensive I don't drive or don't know how to drive. I do not like to drive in traffic The bus is faster than driving To help the environment I do not have a driver's license My employer pays for bus fare Metrolink (Los Angeles) Please think about when you first started riding Metrolink. What was the single most important reason that made you take Metrolink? (Choose one.) I had moved to a new residence and needed a new way to commute I got a new job or job location and needed a new way to commute My employer gave me a free Metrolink ticket My employer paid for part of my Metrolink pass A family member, friend, or co-worker told me about Metrolink I have seen advertising for Metrolink and was curious The MTA strike forced me to find alternate transportation I took the train to a special event I was traveling in a group My car was being repaired My car was being used by another family member I could not drive my car for medical reasons The high cost of gas I served on jury duty and received a free Metrolink ticket I received an offer in the mail Other (please specify) Availability TPMS SANDAG DART VTA (San Jose, CA) of auto Do you have a car or Did you have a car Do you have a car Was an auto available to for this other personal vehicle trip that you could have available to you you for this trip? that you could have used today instead to make this trip? Yes used to make this of the bus? Yes trip? Yes, but with Yes No inconvenience to others Yes No No No
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31 · Faster than driving, sit for most work trips; for example, to avoid parking costs or · Avoid driving in traffic, avoid the stress of traffic, but take the automobile on days · Better use of time (e.g., read and relax), when they will come home later in the evening. In this exam- · Cost of driving and/or parking, and ple, the reasons for using transit (parking and traffic) are dif- · Environmental considerations (reduces pollution). ferent from actions that would attract increased usage, which might be more frequent evening service. As another exam- This list is consistent with transit research findings that mode ple, some riders use transit for work but not shopping trips, choice is largely driven by the cost and availability of park- owing to buses not conveniently serving trips to the mall. ing, travel times (especially out of vehicle time), price, com- fort and convenience (Charles River Associates 1997; Transit questionnaires tend to take a straightforward Dueker et al. 1998; Schaller 1999; Miller et al. 2002). approach to assessing ways to increase ridership. Question- naires provided by transit agencies ask what the agency "could do to improve bus service" (Broward County Tran- How Can an Agency Attract Increased Ridership? sit), what "would motivate you the most to continue riding or ride more often?" (Pace Suburban Bus), or use similar word- Closely allied to the issue of why people use transit is the ing. The surveys then provided a list of possible service question of how to attract additional ridership. Although improvements. Respondents are instructed to check the one related, the two issues are quite distinct. Some riders use tran- to three most important service improvements (Table 14). TABLE 14 SURVEY QUESTIONS RELATED TO IMPROVING TRANSIT AND ATTRACTING INCREASED RIDERSHIP Needed Broward County (FL) Transit RTD (Denver) improvements Please tell us three things that we could What is the single most important area, if any, in do to improve bus service. Please check which RTD should make improvements to its' bus only up to three: service? More bus routes Cost Fewer transfers Comfort Park & ride lots Convenience More information Customer information More frequent bus service Travel time Express buses Park-n-ride More evening and weekend service Bus driver performance More comfortable buses Telephone information center (TIC) Better on-time performance Security/safety Bus stop shelters/benches None Other (specify) Pace (suburban Chicago) LYNX (Orlando) What is the ONE item listed below that would What bus service improvements motivate you the MOST to continue riding or to ride are most needed? (Check top three.) more often? Frequency Reduce fares New routes Provide stops closer to my home Night and weekend service Run buses more often Shelters Change the schedule Pre-paid fare cards Reduce travel time Free transfers Run express service more often Additional transfer locations Serve more destinations Other___________________ Improve on-time performance Improve safety while driving Improve safety while waiting Make transit information more accessible Provide a more convenient connection to final destination Run service from free parking lots to busy Metra stations Other (please specify) Nothing--will not consider riding or riding more often Does not apply--I ride as often as I can