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8 TABLE 2 WEB-BASED SURVEY USE BY AGENCY SIZE AND REGION (includes MPO respondents) Not Currently Total Currently Using Using Web- Number by Web-Based Based Surveys Total Size Surveys (%) (%) (%) Agency Size Large 11 27 73 100 Medium 8 37 63 100 Small 8 37 63 100 Total Agency Respondents 27 Region Northeast/Mid-Atlantic 10 20 80 100 Southeast 3 33 67 100 Midwest 7 15 85 100 West 7 71 29 100 Total Agency Respondents 27 reaching a reliable cross section of their target audience and as survey research in the following proportions, with some sur- such they may not be able to discern what portions of their tar- veys conducted more than once each year: 25% customer get market may be missing. "Web-based surveys will not reach satisfaction, 25% planning, 19% origindestination, 13% less-literate people or people without computers. If that is your mode choice, and 17% "other." "Other" types of surveys primary ridership, then web-based surveys may not capture the noted were household travel surveys, transit onboard sur- attitudes or behavior of these customers." veys, interactive map studies, policy and issue analyses, marketing, market share, station evaluation, new offers and Over- or underrepresentation of various population seg- programs related to fares or fare cards, safety and security ments raises problems when presenting valid research on issues, product tests, new technology, copy testing, and behalf of transit systems, making the results "difficult to gen- employers/employees. Tabulations for all survey questions eralize to the public." Other concerns included technical are in Appendix C. In the synthesis survey, individuals were problems limiting each respondent to completing only one asked to describe the number of different surveys they con- survey (see chapter four) and the need to limit the focus of duct and, as noted earlier, 39% of respondents described sur- the survey research to only certain topic areas. Concerns veys that had a web-based component. about costs of web-based surveys, at least in terms of time, were also expressed: "However long you think it will take to The uses for which these various surveys were conducted implement the survey, double it!" are shown in Figure 1. Customer satisfaction surveys show a high percentage of many different purposes, indicating that Words of advice given by respondents conducting web- such surveys often do the work of multiple surveys (such as based surveys directed to those considering starting the use origindestination surveys) at once by obtaining trip and of them were twofold: other information beyond just satisfaction data. · "Consider the target market segment and assess Inter- Recruitment question results showed that for every type net availability among those people." of survey researchers usually recruit respondents using a · "Make sure to incorporate it with other methods to get combination of methods (see Figure 2). For their most recent a greater response." origindestination surveys, more than 60% of researchers surveyed reported recruiting in person, by means of inter- A discussion of multi-method administration follows cepts, or on board and/or at stations; 25% recruited on road- later in this chapter and is also discussed later in this report ways or at toll plazas; another 25% recruited using the (chapter four). telephone; and just 6% indicated recruiting by e-mail or with a web link. FREQUENCY, TYPES, AND AREAS OF USAGE OF TRANSIT SURVEYS CURRENTLY BEING For their most recent customer satisfaction survey, three- CONDUCTED quarters of respondents reported recruiting in person and by means of intercepts on board and/or at stations, with 50% com- When asked about the types of surveys their organizations bining that with a telephone recruit. Again, only 6% are adding conduct and how often, respondents indicated that they do an e-mail/web link recruit method to the other two methods.
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9 Update origin-destination trip tables Determine distribution time-of-day facilities/system used Determine trip purpose Generate demographic profile of travelers Determine trip frequency Determine distribution of station/stops used Origin-destination Customer satisfaction Define traveler markets by geography Mode choice 0 20 40 60 80 100 Percent FIGURE 1 How research from origindestination, customer satisfaction, and mode choice surveys are used (multiple responses allowed for this question; therefore, percentages for each purpose may be greater than 100%). In person, at stations, on board vehicles, at roadways/toll plazas Telephone 100% E-mail and/or web link 80% Mail 60% 40% 20% 0% Origin-Destination Customer Satisfaction Mode Choice Planning Other FIGURE 2 Recruitment methods. Mode choice surveys had the highest percentage of Sampling methods described by respondents varied researchers who indicated recruiting using e-mail and/or a primarily based on the type of survey being conducted (see web link (36%), with half of them using the e-mail/web link Figure 3). Random sampling was used most often as the sam- exclusively to recruit. Thirty percent of the mode choice sur- pling method for all survey types; however, "total popula- veys described by respondents were conducted over the web tion" sampling, where all respondents in the sampling frame or had some component being conducted over the web. were given a survey, was also used between 10% and 30% of the time depending on the survey type. Two-thirds of planning surveys used in-person recruiting by means of intercepts on board and/or at stations; 42% of respon- Methods used for weighting of the data set varied by dents also combined this method with a telephone recruit; the type of study (see Figure 4). Origindestination and another 13% used e-mail and/or a web link. "Other" surveys customer satisfaction studies were most often weighted by were divided fairly evenly, with approximately 40% in person ridership figures; 47% and 35%, respectively. "Other" weight- and somewhat more than 40% by telephone recruitment. ing schemes mentioned included, "at the Day-Time-Route
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10 Total population Random 60% Systematic Convenience Other 40% 20% 0% Origin-Destination Customer Mode Choice Planning Other Satisfaction FIGURE 3 Sampling methods. Ridership/traffic Demographics 80% Other factors Did not weight 60% 40% 20% 0% Origin-Destination Customer Mode Choice Planning Other Satisfaction FIGURE 4 Weighting methods. level--each survey was weighted and expanded based on the believed that they were either "very successful" or "successful." day of the week (i.e., weekday or weekend), time-of-day However, only 25% of those conducting origindestination (a.m. peak, mid-day, p.m. peak, and evening) and route" as surveys believed that they were "very successful," whereas cus- well as weighting "based upon the size (number of employ- tomer satisfaction, mode choice, planning, and other types of ees) of the employer." As seen here, many studies were not surveys received approximately 45% "very successful" weighted at all, which can be a valid approach if the popula- responses (see Table 3). tion is well represented and general behaviors are under consideration rather than specific representation of certain Use of transit-related research is often unique to a population characteristics. study; however, 40% of all respondents noted that they present research results to their own internal clients or Respondents were asked to evaluate the success of the management (see Figure 5). Overall, 15% of results are surveys they are currently conducting, and 88% to 94% presented to the general public, with customer satisfaction
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11 TABLE 3 SUCCESS RATING BY SURVEY TYPE Very Successful Successful Neither Unsuccessful Survey Type Count Percent Count Percent Count Percent Count Percent Origindestination 4 25 11 69 1 6 Customer satisfaction 8 47 7 41 2 12 Mode choice 10 48 9 43 2 10 Planning 11 46 11 46 2 8 Other 7 41 9 53 1 6 Internal clients/management General public External clients Constituents Origin-destination Customers Customer satisfaction Mode choice Planning Other Other 0 20 40 60 80 100 Percent FIGURE 5 Where research results are presented. results highest on this type of presentation at 25%, fol- information for their riders and therefore have the ability to lowed by 16% of planning studies and 16% of origin conduct repeated research using that same sample popula- destination studies. tion. Recontacting the same group of people in a longitudi- nal study allows a researcher to measure improvements over Just under one-quarter of survey respondents reported that time and identify areas of concern that continue to need their organization conducts panel surveys, and of those who attention (1). Longitudinal panel studies allow more robust do, one-half are conducting longitudinal panel surveys. Pan- statistics, can better determine changes in behaviors, and can els are defined as studies that draw from an already collected detect behavior trends over time because the research ana- sample source, which is called a panel. To conduct the study, lyzes responses to the same questions from the same respon- the researcher samples the panel to obtain their responses to dents at a different point in time (2). the research questions. A longitudinal panel is when the same people are surveyed over time about the same topic to see how Two case studies of web-based panel surveys used by they or their environment are changing, often using the same transit providers are presented in chapter six of this report. set of questions. For example, to track transit customer satis- Web-based panel surveys make conducting panel studies faction, a researcher might track the same riders over time to easier, because once contact is made and a respondent has see how their customer satisfaction is changing, either as a become part of the panel it is very efficient to recontact them result of changes in the transit service (e.g., better on-time using automated e-mail routines (2). performance or higher fares) or to personal changes (e.g., a job change that caused a route change for the respondent). It should also be noted that panel surveys have complex issues such as attrition of the sample (respondents who drop Conducting panel studies can be effective and efficient for out over time) and the need to replenish the panel to ensure transit research because many transit agencies have contact that new riders are continually added to the panel data set.