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OCR for page 139
Applying Market Research to Airport Ground Access 139 Table 6-1. Information to be collected from air travelers. Residence location Trip purpose Destination airport Mode of transportation to the airport, including o Private vehicle (drop-off, drop-off and parked, parked for duration on airport, or parked for duration off airport) o Rental car o Courtesy vehicle o Taxi o On-demand limousines o Prearranged limousines o Chartered bus or van o Shared-ride door-to-door van o Bus (express and multistop) o Rail service Origin of access trip to the airport Type of origin from which the traveler departed Travel-party size Number of people who came into the terminal to see the traveler off Arrival time inside the terminal prior to flight departure time Departure time from local origin location Number of pieces of baggage (checked and/or carry-on) taken on flight Length of the air-travel trip (nights away from home) Number of times the traveler has flown out of this airport in the year preceding the survey Traveler's household income before taxes in the year preceding the survey Traveler's gender Traveler's age Number of people in the traveler's household Traveler's highest level of education Airline, flight number, and departure time and date SOURCE: TCRP Report 62, MarketSense. It is difficult to get accurate answers to a question about egress mode from air travelers when surveying them prior to their air trips, which is when many airport surveys are conducted. The choice of egress mode involves a number of factors, and many air travelers do not make a decision until they return to the origin airport. Therefore, responses given prior to travelers' air trips do not necessarily represent actual choices. Non-residents could be asked this ques- tion because they have already made egress trips from the airport upon their earlier arrival; however, non-residents would represent only one portion of air travelers. Even if asking air travelers about their egress modes were realistic, a survey participant may become confused if asked the ancillary information needed to understand an egress mode choice in the same survey addressing access mode. To answer the question of egress mode choice accurately, a separate surveying effort is needed. This additional effort would be costly but may be necessary if other information about ground transportation modes indicate an imbalance in inbound versus outbound passenger flows. Step 2: Select a Data Collection Method Surveys and focus groups are commonly used--sometimes in combination--to understand factors that influence mode choice. Surveys generally provide quantitative data, while focus

OCR for page 139
140 Ground Access to Major Airports by Public Transportation Table 6-2. Information to be collected from airport employees. Residence location Mode of transportation to the airport, including o Private vehicle (drop-off, parked near work site, parked on airport and shuttle bus, or parked off airport and shuttle bus) o Car or van pool o Taxi o Bus (express or multistop) o Rail service o Other (walking or bicycling) Amount of time spent commuting Airport work location Work schedule (daily or weekly) Employer Employee's household income before taxes in the year preceding the survey Employee's gender Employee's age Number of people in the employee's household Whether employer provides free or subsidized parking and the location of parking Requirement for overtime work SOURCE: TCRP Report 62, MarketSense. groups are qualitative in nature. Considerations for each approach are presented in the follow- ing paragraphs. All types of surveys require the use of prepared questionnaires. Each of the two methods--focus groups and surveys (46)--will be discussed in detail in the following sections. Focus groups provide an excellent way to investigate customer responses to a subject in depth. A focus group is usually a small group of no more than 12 individuals who are interested in a topic and who, with the guidance of a facilitator, discuss the topic for a period of 1 to 2 hours. Focus groups do not require questionnaires, but they do require preparation and input from the airport staff to the consultant conducting the interviews. A focus group is a relatively inexpen- sive way to explore the dimensions of air travelers' ground access concerns. A series of focus groups could be set up to represent both the geographic distribution of air travelers as well as the market segments. With a skilled facilitator, a focus group can provide valuable information and ideas about the selected topic--information and ideas that are more insightful than any that could be obtained through a prepared survey. Focus groups can also help airport managers develop a survey instrument by identifying topics to study, determining what attributes are important, and defining other specifications for questionnaire development. Focus groups do not necessarily represent the actions or opinions of all ground access travelers, but they do pro- vide a way to understand the concerns or reactions of a subset of ground access travelers. Surveys are one of the most widely used forms of market research. Because they present respondents with a set of multiple choice questions, surveys can standardize the answers received from customers and allow analysis for different subsets of respondents. Surveys can be admin- istered in a number of ways, including mail, telephone, personal interview, and on-site self- completion. Surveys can provide a wealth of information concerning the respondents and their service choices for ground access. Most airports that have conducted market research have used some type of survey methodology. Because all air travelers who use ground access eventually congregate at the airport, most surveys contact air travelers at this location. These surveys only need to filter out air travelers transferring between flights who have not left the airport. Two frequently used survey techniques are personal