Click for next page ( 42

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement

Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 41
41 riders. Agency staff can be diverted from staff functions for survey procedures are carried out properly and to maximize a period of a few days at most to carry out the survey. When response rates. Training may cover a range of topics: used, temporary staff hired directly by transit agencies often work part-time for extended periods on one or more surveys. Survey purposes, Deployment and scheduling, Some agencies reported innovative approaches to obtain- How to approach passengers, ing survey staff at minimal cost. CTA recruits survey workers How to aid passengers who request assistance in com- through postings on college campuses. These "volunteers" are pleting the survey, compensated with free fare media and work no more than a Tracking refusals, few days a month. The episodic nature of the work matches Safety, both the students' availability and CTA's needs. One volun- Dress, teer has worked for several years and become quite skilled at Behavior and courtesy, and obtaining a high response rate. Record keeping. The quality of available temporary workers can affect Survey workers are often provided with detailed written the duration of data collection. For example, the Greater instructions. The instructions list tasks to be completed at the Portland (Maine) Council of Governments chose to use a start of the shift, during survey administration, and at the end smaller number of reliable staff over a 3-week period rather of the shift. than have a large concentration of temporary staff finish the survey in 1 week. Conversely, the Oshkosh Transit System Training typically takes between 30 min and 4 h, although found that a condensed 2-day time frame to collect data using a large survey for Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority involv- temporary in-house staff worked extremely well. ing on-board interviewing required a full day of training. The length of training depends primarily on the experience level Larger surveys tend to exceed the in-house resources of of the survey workers. New temporary workers are often given transit agencies. Therefore, consultants are typically used for 4 h of training, whereas experienced survey staff may only need surveys requiring samples of 5,000 or 10,000 or more riders. 30 to 60 min to become familiar with the current operation. Consultants usually bring in temporary workers obtained from temporary agencies or the consultant's own recruitment efforts. For new survey workers in particular, training is likely to include role playing of the interaction with customers. Role Here too, duration of surveying can affect costs and data playing helps survey workers learn how to approach riders in quality. It is likely to be less expensive for a consultant to field a friendly, courteous manner to maximize participation in the a survey on a continuous basis than to conduct the survey in a survey. Role playing may also cover action regarding "blitz" implementation. Continuous surveys need fewer sur- refusals and problem situations. vey workers at any one time and will, by their nature, use more experienced survey workers. Costs for training and supervi- Effective training is critical to the overall success of on- sion will also be lower. MARTA's Systemwide Survey is a board and intercept surveys. Transit agency staff surveyed good example of the benefits of continuous surveying. for this report cited friendly and experienced survey staff, outgoing personalities, and proper appearance as key factors affecting data quality and response rates. SURVEY STAFF TRAINING SUPERVISION Although data collection tasks such as distributing and collecting surveys may seem to require minimal skills, the In addition to recruiting and training survey workers, effec- experience of transit agencies is that some potential survey tive supervision and monitoring is critical to the success of workers are much more effective than others. The aptitudes the data collection effort. Proper supervision is crucial to required are actually quite varied. Survey workers must be ensuring that survey staff is at their assigned locations and punctual and able to identify and reach the correct survey carrying out survey procedures. Transit agencies reported location. They must give attention to detail in tracking sur- experiences in which surveyors went absent without notice veys, yet also be reasonably outgoing in greeting passengers. and in which they falsified data. Survey workers must be able to greet passengers with a friendly countenance and a direct gaze. They must possess the Supervisors generally issue work assignments to survey stamina to work on a moving bus or train for hours at a time. staff at the beginning of each shift. For assignments that They must also have the fortitude and good judgment to begin in the early morning, assignments are usually made on mollify the occasional disgruntled rider or bus operator. the previous day. In either case, survey workers turn in surveys collected from the previous shift and are given their Given the breadth of aptitudes required, proper training of next assignment. Supervisors can check the surveys at this survey staff is essential. Training is designed to ensure that time for quality and completeness.