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39 questionnaire. Included in this figure is 5% of agencies that Surveying Respondents Who Cannot Read used English, Spanish, and a third language, either Vietnamese (in Orange County and Santa Clara County, California) or Although some respondents can complete a questionnaire Polish (in Chicago). The remaining 57% of the questionnaires in Spanish (or another language) but not English, another used English only. problem that arises involves riders who are not able to read in any language. AATA (Ann Arbor, Michigan) reported For the most part, a large majority of riders complete sur- that some of its riders cannot read. Although survey veys in English. For surveys in which transit agencies workers assist these riders, AATA staff believes that this reported the breakdown of returned surveys by language, portion of AATA's customer base is underrepresented in one-half reported that fewer than 5% of respondents chose the survey. the Spanish option. The use of Spanish questionnaires can be quite high in certain cities, however: Los Angeles (36%), Another issue that arises concerns persons with visual Santa Monica (19%), Chicago (8% in one survey, 17% in impairments. TriMet provides Braille cards that ask the per- another survey), and San Jose (16%) (Table 16). Use of the son to call a phone number and be interviewed on the phone. Vietnamese and Polish languages options was 0.2% or less. TriMet also provides large-font surveys and, time permitting, surveyors administer surveys verbally on-board. The layout of multilanguage questionnaires takes essen- tially two approaches. One approach is to reproduce the same questionnaire in both (or all three) languages. The alterna- PRETESTING QUESTIONNAIRE tives may be presented side-by-side on one page, on the front and back of the same sheet of paper, or by using separate Pretesting is a standardized step in questionnaire develop- sheets of paper. The specific choice depends largely on the ment. The objective is to determine how well the question- length of the questionnaire. naire is working before commencing the fieldwork and to make any needed changes for clarity of questions, naviga- The advantage to this approach is a cleaner visual appear- tion, etc. ance for each language. The disadvantage is that respondents may overlook the version of the survey in their preferred lan- Surveys can be pretested in the field using actual survey guage in the case of front-and-back printing. Some agencies procedures. Surveys can also be pretested using a conve- have observed that some passengers, if they look at the nience sample such as nearby office workers who use tran- "wrong" side of the questionnaire first, simply set it aside sit, but are not familiar with the purposes and details of the rather than flipping it over. In situations where separate survey. In either case, respondents are asked to complete the sheets of paper are used for different languages, survey survey as they would in the fieldwork phase. If possible, it is workers need to determine which version to give riders. This useful to ask for verbal feedback from respondents on any need can introduce awkwardness or, at minimum, creates an questions that are unclear. Finished questionnaires can be additional step in the distribution of questionnaires. checked for completeness, consistency, and any apparent accuracy problems. The alternative approach is to include Spanish text immedi- ately after the English text. The O&D TARC questionnaire in Pretesting is critical for new surveys and complex ques- Appendix C illustrates this approach, which avoids the problems tions or question sequences. Pretesting may not be necessary mentioned above and may reduce space requirements. How- if essentially the same questionnaire is used from a previous ever, it also appears more cluttered, which could possibly affect survey. For surveys reported by transit agencies, pretesting response rates, item nonresponse, and/or accuracy of answers. was conducted in 45% of the cases.