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9 CHAPTER TWO METHODS FOR COMPILING AND ANALYZING DATA This chapter describes the compilation of the information on policy or planning debates were common. These were spon- which this synthesis is based. The information was gathered sored by news agencies, public agencies, or political groups in two separate tasks: a literature review and a survey of prac- trying to gauge support for a specific proposal. Also quite titioners. Both methods were used to identify project- and common were surveys and focus groups used to evaluate toll non-project-related surveys or focus groups. These data were or road pricing projects prior and subsequent to implementa- analyzed both qualitatively and quantitatively. The first two tion. Some citations were eliminated after reviewing the full tasks were conducted in parallel, seeking to compile a broad information because they were editorials or op-ed pieces, set of data points. covered behavioral not opinion data, or contained statements of support or opposition but not the actual data measures. LITERATURE REVIEW SURVEY OF PRACTITIONERS The literature review relied on several mechanisms to gather the information necessary to prepare this synthesis report. A survey was conducted with agencies responsible for or First, a web search was conducted to identify articles, reports, engaged in tolling and road pricing to both identify data or media accounts of public opinion results on tolls and road sources and gather their perspectives on relevant issues. The pricing. Second, searches of CD-ROMs containing papers pre- sampling frame was the membership list of the International sented at TRB annual meetings and of Transportation Research Bridge, Tunnel, and Toll Road Association. After culling the Information Services (TRIS) Online (the web-based version list of private consultants and engineering firms that had of the TRIS database) were conducted to identify a set of use- undertaken relevant projects, the sample comprised 42 agen- ful papers and presentations on the topic. As published arti- cies. Each of these agencies was contacted by telephone to cles, academic literature, conference papers, and presentations identify the relevant individual within the agency, to explain were identified, their references were reviewed to identify the purpose of the survey, to request participation, to conduct additional sources of information. Third, the contacts of the the interview by telephone or to e-mail the survey document, authors and of the Topic Panel were used to identify poten- and to collect copies of relevant reports. The first contact tial sources of information. Fourth, surveys and focus groups within each agency was with the public information officer conducted on the topic by the authors have also been used as or the communications director. It was believed that this indi- source materials. vidual would be most aware of any public opinion polls or surveys conducted by the agency and would be able to report A clipping service that covers every daily and non-daily on or provide direction to the relevant information. newspaper in the United State was employed to widen the search for information to include more general media articles The survey questionnaire was organized into two parts covering public opinion on tolls and road pricing. A clipping (see Appendix A). Part 1 elicited general information on sur- service is a company that collects articles of interest from veys or polls sponsored by the organization; requested access newspapers and periodicals according to search criteria that to the data, findings, and methods; and asked for the agen- are pre-specified by a client. The search criteria given to the cies' (individuals') perspectives on various aspects of public service were: "public opinion," "road pricing," and "tolling"; opinion about tolling and road pricing. Part 1 included 10 open- the time criteria were the years 2000 to 2007. The service ended questions. Part 2 gathered situational context informa- identified 678 media articles. After a review of the headings, tion for specific projects that included 13 questions that were 124 articles were found to be relevant enough to request the mostly close-ended, such as project type, goals, legislative full articles. support, and pricing. The entire literature review process identified more than Of the 42 agencies in the sample, interviews were com- 200 citations for public opinion data on tolling and road pleted with 17. Of these, five agencies responded that no sur- pricing; 110 were relevant to the topic and are presented in veys had been conducted. Eleven completed the question- the compilation of data in chapter three. Public opinion polls naires. Of the 25 agencies with which an interview was not conducted in response to ballot measures or other specific completed, 9 explicitly reported that they did not want to