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32 The survey conducted for this study discovered that every survey is that the web-based survey is transmitting the data type of survey in the study (origindestination, customer sat- by means of the Internet, whereas the laptop intercept survey isfaction, mode choice, planning, and many of the "others") in the field is reading and writing directly to the hard drive. had incorporated some multi-method techniques; overall, 27% of all surveys described for this synthesis used multi- Other examples of multi-method techniques include using method techniques and some of these incorporated four or a personal interview survey in combination with a web-based five different methods in one survey. survey. A study to measure response to subway station reha- bilitation provides an example of this combination method. Two-thirds of transit agency researchers who currently New York City subway riders who preferred not to engage conduct web-based surveys are including multi-method tech- in a personal interview at the subway station (because their niques. As Table 7 shows, there is no one perfect survey train was coming or they needed to exit the station quickly to method that easily captures all populations. get where they were going) were asked for their e-mail address so they could be sent an e-mail with a password- Implementing a multi-method survey can introduce addi- embedded link to the survey containing the same interview tional expense to the overall cost of the survey, and it can questions. Well over 50% of those asked willingly provided introduce significant measurement errors, meaning that the their e-mail addresses directly to the interviewer. same question may be answered differently because of the particular survey method being used (1). However, web- based surveys can be combined with other methods without CONCLUSIONS introducing measurement error by programming a web- based survey that can be ported directly to laptop computers This chapter described the research context in which web- and set up at central sites in public places within a given based surveys are one of a number of survey methods. There study area. The research team has implemented this tech- are many ways web-based surveys can be incorporated into nique in several recent projects (e.g., MTANew York City studies that benefit the research, often at low additional cost. Transit's JFK AirportLower Manhattan 2005 Study, and the Furthermore, as transit researchers become more familiar NY State Thruway Authority Westchester, Rockland, & and comfortable with the tools, processes, and/or outside Orange County Travel Study 2003) with success. With this firms they can use to create and administer web-based sur- arrangement, the survey can be administered by intercepting veys, more applications of web-based surveys will become respondents in person or it can be taken by respondents apparent to the transit researcher. These applications will directly over the web, whichever is most convenient for grow as web penetration rates grow. respondents to obtain the highest possible response rates. This strategy of programming a computer-based survey is Web-based surveys are appropriate in the following employed frequently in many mode-choice studies because situations: these surveys require complex structures to build customized future scenarios for respondents to choose from based on the Respondents have reasonable web penetration. Good respondents' unique trips. For a mode choice study, anyone examples of high web penetration situations are in selected public places within the study area of a potential employer surveys and surveys of non-riders, where the new transit project may be a valid respondent to determine incidence of web access may be higher among these the viability of a new transit service. Respondents wishing to special populations (i.e., students). participate online may provide the interceptor with an e-mail The survey has complexity that is best handled by a address and be sent an e-mail invitation to take the survey computer-based instrument. Many surveys require sig- on the web, or the respondent may be given a flyer with nificant complexity to obtain useful information. A a web link (and preferably a unique password to ensure good example is stated preference mode choice sur- one survey per person) so that they can access the survey at veys, where customized future transportation scenarios their convenience. Again, the only difference between the need to be constructed for each respondent. Although computer-based, self-administered survey and the web-based the survey itself is simple and straightforward for the respondent, there is significant behind-the-scenes pro- gramming used to resolve this complexity. The ability TABLE 7 PERCENTAGES OF SURVEYS USING to survey respondents effectively using sophisticated MULTI-METHOD TECHNIQUES methods allows the researcher to obtain the critical data Types of Surveys Using Multi- he or she needs while making the survey experience Method Techniques Percent simple and clear for the respondent. Planning 46 Another example where survey complexity can be Other 24 addressed through web-based surveys occurs when Origindestination 19 origindestination geographical data needs to be col- Customer satisfaction 18 lected, as mentioned previously in the New York MTA Mode choice 30 Bridges & Tunnels OriginDestination Study 2004.

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33 Geographical data are critical to transit research for a surveys significantly reduce the costs of contacting whole host of purposes, such as commuter sheds, sta- respondents multiple times, which is necessary for lon- tion development, operations planning, and mode gitudinal studies. Once a web-based survey is pro- choice, to name but a few. Valid geographical data are grammed and designed, there is a very low marginal difficult to collect and item nonresponse is a major issue cost for obtaining additional surveys. This is especially for paper-based surveys and even CATI surveys where true if the recruitment is conducted using an e-mail list the interviewer is unfamiliar with the geography of the of respondents. To conduct a new survey, the researcher study area. Web-based surveys enable respondents to simply has to send an invitation to the appropriate input geographical data that can be validated in real respondents at the appropriate time. This can be done time and can be done in such a way as to mitigate break- using automated tools; therefore, obtaining a new wave off concerns as described previously. of respondent data requires very little time and expense Quick, "pulse-taking" surveys for a variety of purposes on the researcher's part. can be accomplished using web-based surveys. An Additional benefits of longitudinal studies include example follows as a case study in chapter six in which the ability to know what a respondent answered in their TriMet asked respondents for feedback on its new inter- previous survey and to then ask them if anything has active map feature on its website. changed since they last took the survey. This function Information may be needed for a specific purpose such as allows the researcher to "drill down" by noting changes evaluating features of regional fare cards [San Francisco from prior surveys and then asking respondents in real Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) and MTA NYC]. E-mail time the reason for the change. invitations may be sent to known customers of the various Web-based surveys are an excellent option as part agencies, who will likely respond because they recognize of a multi-method survey approach. As described the sender of the invitation as being their own transit earlier, web-based surveys are often very good paral- provider. lel or supplemental survey instruments to other meth- The survey continues over time. Web-based surveys are ods being used directly in the field (e.g., paper-based excellent for longitudinal studies (as discussed in detail surveys or field intercepting to a central site with in two case studies in chapter six), because web-based computers).