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55 CHAPTER SEVEN COSTS On-board and intercept surveys involve a number of steps: $3 to $56 per completed interview. Costs for self- planning, questionnaire design, fieldwork, data collection, administered surveys distributed by bus operators ranged data cleaning, analysis, and report writing. Given the dimen- from $13 to $22 per completed interview. For surveys sions of the effort involved, survey costs can be quite conducted using personal interviews, cost per survey substantial. Overall costs for surveys reported by transit ranged from $13 to $40, even after excluding several agencies ranged as high as $350,000. Survey costs can also outlying values. be quite modest, particularly for smaller, targeted surveys. Approximately one-fifth of the surveys with cost data Although it is difficult to fully explain these wide varia- reported by transit agencies cost less than $10,000. tions, several observations can be made. In the largest group of surveys--self-administered surveys distributed by survey Table 21 summarizes survey costs for 37 surveys for workers--the lower-cost surveys tended to be larger, sug- which transit agencies reported what appears to be usable gesting that economies of scale reduce the cost per survey. cost information. Costs included were consultant costs for Lower-cost surveys also were generally from transit projects using consultants and the value of in-house staff agencies with relatively high numbers of riders per vehicle time for projects conducted using in-house agency staff. hour. Presumably, fewer survey worker hours are needed to (A few agencies reported the value of in-house staff time; in contact a given number of riders with a positive impact on other cases, the value was estimated using approximated costs. wage rates for professional, clerical, and field staff.) Some agencies reported consultant costs but not staff costs or time The higher-cost, self-administered on-board surveys spent; these surveys are included because the consultant cost were likely to be O&D surveys, which require substan- is likely to greatly exceed the value of staff time, but the tially more effort to code and analyze, but have small to omission should be borne in mind in analyzing the data. moderate sample sizes. In some cases, the response rate is relatively low, further increasing the time needed to obtain A useful way to assess survey costs is to calculate the total a given number of surveys. cost per completed survey, thus viewing costs relative to the number of surveys that were completed and usable. Similar patterns are seen in surveys conducted by per- sonal interviews. Surveys with a lower cost per interview A large number of factors affect survey costs. As Table 21 are often in high-density cities and have higher response shows, even when controlling for basic factors such as whether rates. the survey was conducted by means of personal interviews or was self-administered, the cost per survey varies widely. Figure Survey costs are also affected by the overall scope of con- 6 summarizes key factors affecting data quality and survey cost. sultant contracts. Depending on the nature of the project objectives, there may be additional analytic or outreach tasks The widest range is seen for self-administered surveys included in costs for some surveys that are not included for distributed by survey workers, which show a range from other surveys.

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56 TABLE 21 SURVEY COSTS Systemwide Est. In- Cost per Unlinked House Survey Trips per Consul- Staff Est. Total Completed Com- Response If O&D Vehicle Agency Project Name tant Cost Costs* Costs Surveys pleted Rate Survey Hour Self-Administered Surveys Distributed by Survey Staff GCRTA (Cleveland) Annual Onboard Survey $650 $2,800 $3,450 935 $3.69 23% 32 TriMet (Portland, OR) TriMet Origin Destination $270,000 $44,500 $314,500 81,100 $3.88 40% Yes 48 Survey--Systemwide 2000 Metro (Los Angeles) Spring 2004 On-Board $60,000 $3,500 $63,500 14,265 $4.45 52% 60 Customer Satisfaction Survey Santa Monica (CA) Line-by-Line Analysis $15,586 $6,000 $21,586 4,709 $4.58 36% Yes 51 Big Blue Bus TriMet (Portland, OR) Annual Fare Survey $65,000 $16,750 $81,750 15,179 $5.39 62% 48 Metra (Chicago area) On-Board $150,000 $150,000 25,000 $6.00 50% 333 WMATA Metrorail Passenger Survey $350,000 $350,000 57,700 $6.07 28% Yes ** (Washington DC) Metro (St. Louis) Metro On-Board Survey Results $20,000 $1,750 $21,750 3,500 $6.21 35% 39 Final Report June 2003 Fort Worth Customer Satisfaction Survey $1,000 $1,600 $2,600 403 $6.45 80% ** Transportation Authority CTA (Chicago) Douglas Branch Blue Line $800 $10,550 $11,350 1,756 $6.46 80% Yes ** Passenger Survey Milwaukee County Trolley Evaluation $500 $800 $1,300 195 $6.67 N/A ** Transit System SANDAG (San Onboard Transit Passenger $250,000 $50,000 $300,000 42,740 $7.02 54% Yes 49 Diego) Survey Delaware Transit Onboard survey $0 $7,000 $7,000 960 $7.29 30% Yes 20

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TABLE 21 (Continued ) Systemwide Est. In- Cost per Unlinked House Survey Trips per Consul- Staff Est. Total Completed Com- Response If O&D Vehicle Agency Project Name tant Cost Costs* Costs Surveys pleted Rate Survey Hour Greater Portland (ME) Passenger Survey $15,000 $15,000 2,038 $7.36 N/A 19 COG (SEPTA R-7 Origin, Destination, and $0 $3,440 $3,440 460 $7.48 86% Yes ** (Philadelphia) Trip Purpose Study DART (Dallas) Multimodal Travel Pattern $150,000 $150,000 17,590 $8.53 42% Yes 37 Analysis LTD (Eugene, OR) 2004 Origin/Destination Study $42,000 $6,800 $48,800 5,528 $8.83 63% Yes 33 VTA (San Jose) 2000 On-Board Survey $200,000 $200,000 18,351 $10.90 41% Yes 33 Broward County (FL) Public Involvement Component $23,600 $320 $23,920 1,400 $17.09 N/A 30 Transit of the 2005 Transit Development Plan Potomac & Full on-board surveys of local $56,500 $56,500 2,544 $22.21 70% 13 Rappahannock and commuter bus riders Transportation Commission (Woodbridge, VA) Intercity Transit Customer Satisfaction $43,000 $ 2,045 $45,045 1,885 $23.90 70% Yes 21 (Olympia, WA) Orange County (CA) 2001 On-Board Survey $250,000 $250,000 9,500 $26.32 38% Yes 38 Transportation Authority Transit Authority of Market Research $20,000 $ 3,000 $23,000 600 $38.33 60% 19 Northern Kentucky (Ft. Wright, KY) Sun Tran (Tucson, Tucson Transit Study $150,000 $150,000 3,300 $45.45 11% Yes 30 AZ) TARC (Louisville) Project Gobility $235,000 $235,000 4,211 $55.81 33% Yes 25 57

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58 TABLE 21 (Continued ) Systemwide Est. In- Cost per Unlinked House Survey Trips per Consul- Staff Est. Total Completed Com- Response If O&D Vehicle Agency Project Name tant Cost Costs* Costs Surveys pleted Rate Survey Hour Personal Interviews Metro (Portland, ME) Route 1 O&D Study $5,000 $5,000 995 $5.03 N/A Yes ** CTA (Chicago) Customer Response to Routing $0 $3,100 $3,100 401 $7.73 N/A Yes ** Change #95E PATH (Jersey City, NJ) PATH Origin and Destination $210,000 $210,000 15,850 $13.25 N/A Yes ** Travel Survey King Co. Metro (Seattle) Ride Free Area (RFA) Survey $22,000 $4,000 $26,000 1,663 $15.63 88% ** MARTA (Atlanta) Systemwide Survey $0 $63,000 $63,000 4,000 $15.75 80% 67 NYC Transit (Brooklyn) B15/Q3x $15,000 $15,000 400 $37.50 N/A ** RTC (Las Vegas) Citizens Area Transit O&D $149,000 $4,000 $153,000 4,077 $37.53 N/A Yes 43 Survey (2002) Pinellas Suncoast Market Research $80,675 $80,675 2,040 $39.55 41% 20 Transit (Clearwater, FL) TriMet (Portland, OR) Ticket Vending Machine (TVM) $3,000 $2,000 $5,000 107 $46.73 N/A ** Fascia Redesign Self-Administered Surveys Distributed by Bus Operators Pace Suburban Bus CSI/User Study $63,000 $39,500 $102,500 7,937 $12.91 14% Yes 23 (Chicago area) LYNX (Orlando) 2001 LYNX Market Research $200,000 $40,000 $240,000 15,000 $16.00 45% Yes 23 Study RTD (Denver) Customer Satisfaction Survey $54,000 $26,000 $80,000 3,654 $21.89 41% 30 Notes: N/A = not available. *Blanks indicate that no information was provided. **Systemwide unlinked trips per vehicle hour are shown as a measure of density of passengers on board buses and trains. Shown only for surveys conducted on board throughout the transit system.

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59 Project goals External factors Study population (riders Density of riders on route or trips) Number of completed or in stations Rider income, education, surveys needed Need for origin and literacy Trip length destination data Response rate Questionnaire design Venue (on-board or in-station) Survey implementation Well-defined objectives Interview or self-administered (fieldwork) Length of survey survey Enthusiasm and diligence of Level of detail Distribution and collection survey staff Clarity of questions method (self-administered Training Layout/ease of navigation surveys) Supervision Incentives Frequency of surveying Cost Data quality FIGURE 6 Summary of factors affecting data quality and cost.