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9 CHAPTER THREE PLANNING ON-BOARD AND INTERCEPT SURVEYS On-board and intercept survey projects typically begin with cases, survey methodology and selection and wording of an expressed need. Transit agency senior management asks questions can be developed in a strict decision framework. the basic question, "How are we doing?" A survey is then What methodology is best suited to this particular purpose? commissioned to measure customer satisfaction. The mar- What questions will be used in the decision or planning keting department wants to measure customer awareness of process? Why is the information generated by each question a recent advertising campaign or determine how often riders useful? By asking these questions, unnecessary or extrane- are visiting the agency website. The service planning depart- ous questions can be dropped and the survey instrument can ment needs O&D data to develop a computer model of be streamlined. ridership patterns for use in route planning or wants to know how customers feel about a recent routing change. The bus Examples of targeted project purposes provided by transit department would like to know how customers reacted to agencies responding to the survey conducted for this report recently introduced low-floor buses or wants to test a new are: bus lighting system under consideration. Track system transfer rate and distribution of fares Planning an on-board/intercept survey requires defining [TriMet (Portland, Oregon) Annual Fare Survey]. project goals, choosing where and how to conduct the sur- Measure the implementation of a new mode of trans- vey, identifying the study population and sampling frame, portation in service area (Massachusetts Bay Transporta- and deciding what degree of precision is needed in the tion Authority Silver Line Project). results. This chapter addresses these issues. Determine customer perceptions of route changes and their travel patterns (Metropolitan Transportation Authority New York City Transit B15/Q3 Study). PROJECT GOALS Evaluate summer loop service that uses trolley replica vehicles (Milwaukee County Transit System Trolley Planning an on-board/intercept survey involves first and Evaluation). foremost consideration of the survey goals. What informa- Measure ride free area ridership (to use in conjunction tion does the survey need to collect? with automatic passenger counter data) (King County Transit Ride Free Area Survey). Overall, the goals or purposes of on-board and intercept Analyze travel habits of bus customers traveling on the surveys provided by transit agencies address five major areas: West Side of Chicago and in the near west suburbs (CTA West Side Customer Travel Survey). Travel modeling, Determine if a proposed route change would result in Long-range and areawide planning, more or fewer transfers [Greater Portland (ME) Transit Route planning and scheduling, District Route 1 O&D Study]. Marketing, and Customer communications. Surveys may also have the more generalized purpose of profiling the agency's riders and their experience of transit Surveys typically ask questions in several rather than just service. Agencies reported that the information is useful in one of these areas, although rarely in all five. O&D surveys describing who benefits from transit service; comparing with are generally used in route planning, long-range planning the overall population and with peer markets and showing and, to a lesser extent, scheduling and modeling (Table 6). historical trends. Examples of relatively generalized survey Surveys covering customer attitudes and demographics purposes are: address areas of areawide and route planning, marketing, and customer communications. To determine overall customer evaluation of Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) service quality, mar- Project purposes can be specifically targeted to upcoming keting, and scheduling (DART Customer Satisfaction decisions or integrated into a planning process. In these Survey).