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CHAPTER 2 Planning a Survey Thorough planning is absolutely essential to the success of any survey effort. Unfortunately, this task is often allotted insufficient time and attention, resulting in inaccurate or inadequate data. This chapter describes the factors that need to be considered in planning a well-defined survey project: · The purpose of the survey (why the survey is being conducted). · The survey method. · The frequency and timing of the survey. · The involvement of external agencies in funding, planning, and conducting the survey. · Budgeting. · The role of the survey planning team. · Scheduling. · The location of the survey. · The use of external resources. 2.1 Defining the Purpose 2.1.1 The Purpose At the outset, it is important to clearly define the purpose of the survey. In essence, this is the answer to the question, "Why are we doing this?" If the replies from the people commissioning the survey are vague--"The information would be interesting" or "It would be nice to know"-- the best next step is to stop. To be useful, surveys should yield results that are actionable. It is often helpful to begin a survey at the end. This approach suggests that an airport first con- sider the actions it wants to take and the decisions it wants to make on the basis of the survey results, determine the information that will be required to make those decisions, and only then start to consider the target population and questions that will provide the necessary information. This approach also helps to prevent errors of omission and commission. An error of omis- sion, often not discovered until the end of the survey process, has occurred when someone asks, "Why didn't we ask that question?" and when the unasked question represents information important to the making of a decision or to another use of the survey results. A good example (which actually occurred in an air passenger survey in the San Francisco Bay Area not so long ago) would be failing to ask how long departing air passengers resident in the region served by the airport will be away on their air trip when the survey data is intended to be used for airport ground access studies. The air trip duration of course determines the cost of parking a car while away on the trip, an important consideration in airport ground access mode choice modeling. An error of commission occurs when, due to a poorly worded question or other problem with the way the survey is performed, the survey does not obtain the information that the survey designer 12