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APPENDIX A Airport User Surveys: Summary of Research Introduction The research team responsible for developing this guidebook was tasked by the ACRP to con- duct research on the current state of knowledge and practice in performing airport user surveys by airports and other sponsors. The research consisted of a review of the literature, a Web-based survey, and detailed interviews with selected airports and agencies regarding their current sur- vey practices. The results of this research are summarized below. More detailed information is provided in the final report of the project. Literature Review The literature that was reviewed fell into five broad categories: Guidance documents on performing airport user surveys. Journal papers and reports on studies related to airport user surveys. Literature on survey methods in the transit industry. Literature on survey methods in transportation planning in general. Reports on specific airport user surveys. The literature is heavily oriented toward the conduct of passenger surveys to identify air trav- eler characteristics, with very little attention given to other types of airport users or other types of surveys, such as tenant or air passenger satisfaction with airport services, or surveys to collect information for economic impact studies. Nonetheless, the various issues discussed in the literature raised a large number of important considerations that needed to be addressed in this guidebook, namely: Whether to use self-completed questionnaires or interview surveys. Whether to attempt to collect a complete profile of traveler characteristics in a single intercept survey or perform multiple surveys, each focused on a subset of the total market. How best to account for travelers who arrive at the airport or airline departure gate close to flight departure time. The importance of distinguishing between the air travelers and the well-wishers who may come to the airport in the same vehicle. The need to collect ancillary data on airport activity and facility use at the same time as inter- cept surveys of airport users are being conducted in order to provide a basis for survey expan- sion and interpretation. The potential use of household telephone surveys and Web-based surveys to complement or replace traditional intercept surveys at the airport. A-1

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A-2 Guidebook for Conducting Airport User Surveys Web-Based Survey The research team designed, developed, and conducted a Web-based survey to determine: The types of surveys conducted by airports, metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs), state aviation agencies, and consulting and survey firms. Survey methods. Challenges or problems encountered during surveys. Topics that respondents would find useful in a guidebook on airport user surveys. Responses to the survey were received from 70 organizations, with a roughly equal level of rep- resentation of large and medium hub airports (23%), metropolitan planning organizations (21%), state aviation agencies (26%), and consulting and survey firms (30%). Of the responding organizations, 48 (69%) had sponsored or performed airport user surveys in the past five years. Survey Types The Web-based survey confirmed the research team's assumptions about the types of surveys being conducted and the information being collected. For example, as shown in Table A-1, over half of the respondents have carried out air passenger surveys in the last five years and over one- third have carried out observational studies. Fewer respondents have carried out other types of surveys. The results of the survey also showed that there are some differences in who conducts the different types of surveys. Large- and medium-sized airports collectively have conducted the full range of survey types, with most airports performing air passenger surveys. Relative to air- ports, fewer of the MPOs and state aviation agencies conduct airport surveys, particularly ten- ant and airport-based employee surveys, which are less likely to interest them than air passenger surveys. State aviation agencies appear to conduct more surveys of area businesses relative to other surveys and other respondents. This part of the survey was used to help determine the structure and content of the guidebook. Survey Purpose In order to gather more details on the various surveys, respondents were asked to provide sum- mary information on up to five airport user surveys that they had sponsored or performed in the past five years. Respondents provided summary information on a total of 89 different surveys. The summary information included the purpose for which the surveys were performed. As shown in Table A-2, the main reason for conducting these surveys was to obtain information on air passenger/airport user characteristics, including information on ground access mode use. Because airport ground access was expected to be a major reason to perform airport user sur- veys, it was identified as a separate category. Table A-1. Types of surveys. Type of Survey % of Agencies Responding* Air passenger 53% Tenant 19% Airport-based employee 20% Area residents 21% Area businesses 29% Observation studies 37% * Percentage of all agencies responding to the survey.

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Airport User Surveys: Summary of Research A-3 Table A-2. Survey purpose. Survey Purpose % of Airport User Surveys* Air passenger characteristics 29% Ground access travel, mode use 28% Model development and testing 16% Passenger satisfaction or needs 16% Airport, air travel or mode choice 12% Economic impact study 12% Investment, facility planning 11% Regional or system planning 10% Benchmarking 3% Tenant or agency satisfaction 2% Airport processing times 2% Greeter/well-wisher characteristics 1% Employee satisfaction 1% Tenant contract compliance 1% Environmental impact study 1% Airport operational data 1% Air freight characteristics 1% * Percentage of surveys for which summary information was provided by survey respondents. Multiple reasons were given for performing some of the surveys. Because the respondents expressed the survey purpose in their own words, the stated reasons were classified into the cat- egories listed in Table A-2 where necessary. Although all air passenger surveys necessarily collect some information on air passenger characteristics, this was counted as a survey purpose only if the respondents expressly indicated that obtaining information on air passenger characteristics was one purpose of the survey. Survey Collection Methods Table A-3 shows the methods that were used for the various types of surveys for which sum- mary information was provided. There were many cases where more than one survey method was used on the same type of survey; notably hand-out/hand-back and hand-out/mail-back forms were used in conjunction with other survey methods. While the table shows the domi- nance of the conventional paper form interview technique for air passenger surveys, it also appears that there is a reasonably high use of electronic technology such as hand-held data col- lection devices and laptop or tablet computers. There was little reported use of Internet-based surveys and no reported use of automated kiosks for performing self-completed surveys. In a few cases, a single survey targeted more than one type of airport user and it was not pos- sible to determine from the responses which of the methods were used for each type of user. In these cases it was assumed that each of the reported methods was used for each type of user where this would make sense. Challenges Encountered The survey asked what challenges or problems respondents encountered in conducting their surveys. The most frequently cited challenges were associated with obtaining an adequate response rate, interviewer staffing, question wording, security, costs and adequate funding. Other but less frequent comments were related to sample size, sample bias and use of cluster sampling (a sampling approach discussed in Chapter 3 of this guidebook), obtaining accurate

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A-4 Guidebook for Conducting Airport User Surveys Table A-3. Survey collection methods. Percentage Use of Method for Each Survey Type Collection Method Passenger Tenant Employee Resident Business Observation Intercept interview: paper form 66% 45% 0% 0% 0% 0% Intercept interview: PDA 25% 27% 0% 0% 0% 0% Intercept interview: laptop or tablet computer 18% 27% 0% 0% 0% 0% Hand-out/hand-back questionnaire 38% 18% 50% 0% 0% 0% Hand-out/mail-back questionnaire 11% 36% 25% 0% 8% 0% Mailed questionnaire 0% 64% 25% 25% 69% 0% Faxed questionnaire 0% 36% 0% 0% 15% 0% Internet questionnaire 7% 0% 0% 25% 0% 0% Kiosk-based self-completed 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% Observation 3% 45% 0% 0% 8% 100% Other 2% 27% 0% 75% 23% 22% origin and destination data, weighting, airline coordination, use of external consultants, and use of electronic devices. The issues raised by the respondents, although already well known to mem- bers of the research team, were beneficial in the design and development of the guidebook. Other Findings The Web-based survey also confirmed that the topics being considered for the guidebook would be of interest. Unfortunately, it revealed limited useful cost information. This was attrib- uted to the wide scope of surveys under consideration and the many factors that affect cost (e.g., scope, sampling strategy, survey period). Research on Airport Survey Practices The airports and other organizations that responded to the research team's Web-based survey identified a number of significant challenges in conducting airport user surveys. Although the research team was familiar with these issues, it concluded that it would be worthwhile to supplement this experience with additional, more in-depth research. The team therefore held detailed interviews with representatives of 12 selected airports, MPOs, and consultants regarding their survey practices. The interviews focused on their experience with passenger surveys, although some information was collected on other types of surveys. The following topics were addressed in this research: Tradeoffs between survey costs, survey design, and results. Measures to obtain an adequate survey response. Questionnaire design. Use of advanced technologies. Interviewer staffing. Measures to overcome security constraints. A detailed summary of the interview findings is included in the final report of the project. These findings include the following major points: Most of the organizations interviewed are aware of seasonal variation in traffic characteristics, but choose to perform surveys over a single time period of one or two weeks for cost reasons and to obtain the results more quickly. Although the appropriate sample size depends on the sampling method and the degree of accuracy desired for various sub-populations, this is not well understood by all the organiza- tions interviewed.

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Airport User Surveys: Summary of Research A-5 Many organizations interviewed indicated that cost is a significant factor in deciding whether to use intercept interviews or self-completed questionnaires, although it was noted that inter- cept interviews are more robust, reliable, and accurate than self-completed questionnaires and have fewer misunderstood or incorrectly skipped questions. All of the organizations interviewed recognize the problem of obtaining responses from pas- sengers who arrive at the gate after the first boarding call and have adopted various measures to improve the response rate from these passengers, including providing mail-back question- naires and training interviewers to complete a survey while passengers are waiting in line to board the flight. The wording of questions is critical to reduce misunderstanding and obtain valid responses. Many air passengers will not understand fairly common airport or transportation planning terminology. Departure lounge surveys should generally take 10 minutes or less to complete. One organi- zation indicated that they had conducted stated preference surveys that took 15 to 20 minutes. Many of the organizations interviewed indicated that the use of electronic data collection devices has a number of advantages, including cost savings and improved data quality, although interviewers require training to use the devices effectively. The organizations interviewed reported obtaining survey interviewers from a variety of sources, including market research firms, temporary staff agencies, and survey contractor or airport staff. Retention is often a problem, although this is influenced by the pay rates offered. Airport security requirements can significantly affect the conduct of surveys undertaken at an airport. Survey staff working in the secure area of the terminal will generally need to be issued with a security badge, which takes time and may disqualify potential candidates, as well as making it difficult to replace staff who become sick or quit. The information gained during these interviews was used in the development of this guidebook.