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Survey Design 53 Collection rates differ significantly depending on these factors, but a rough guide to the expected average response rate per hour per interviewer is as follows: · Intercept interviews: 6-10 per hour for a 3-4 page survey with about 25 questions. 10-15 per hour for a short questionnaire (10-15 questions). 15-20 per hour for a very short questionnaire (5-10 questions) and introduction. · Self-completed: 25-40 per hour. These rates are applicable to situations where there are passengers available to interview, and they include an allowance for typical gaps between interviews but exclude breaks and inactive periods, such as between flights. Where all passengers on a flight are surveyed, experience indicates that responses are typ- ically received from 40% to 60% of passengers. The non-responding passengers are mostly those who · Arrive at the gate after the first boarding call. They either cannot be interviewed in the short time available or decline to participate as they are getting ready to board the flight. · Decline to participate because they are engaged in activities such as working, reading, or talking with others. For groundside surveys, refusal rates generally range from 5% to more than 30%, depending on the survey type and method, and the time of day. 4.5 Survey Logistics 4.5.1 The Importance of Logistics Both the survey quality and the physical well-being and mental attitude of the survey team will be directly affected, positively or negatively, by the amount of thought given to logistics. One of the principal challenges with air passenger surveys is that they are conducted in the physical environment of the airport terminal. Careful attention to survey logistics is therefore critical to a successful passenger survey. 4.5.2 Survey Implementation Team Of first importance is the survey team. In addition to the strong project manager recom- mended earlier, the survey implementation team needs a technical expert, a field manager, field supervisors, and interviewers. This structure applies whether the survey is conducted in person or by handing out questionnaires. · The technical expert is charged with addressing any deviations from the survey design and making the most scientifically appropriate choices when challenges arise. · The field manager oversees operations and serves as a liaison to the project manager. · The supervisors oversee the daily operations. · The interviewers either ask questions and record answers or hand out forms, answer questions, and collect completed questionnaires. Ideally, members of the survey team will be quick on their feet and effective problem-solvers. These characteristics will be helpful when things go wrong, which is likely to happen every day. Flights are cancelled or delayed. Interviewers do not show up or are late. Interviewers show up in inappropriate attire. Lines are too long for interviewers to get where they need to be when they
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54 Guidebook for Conducting Airport User Surveys need to be there. Gate personnel refuse access to survey staff. Passengers get annoyed or complain. Security breaches or weather shut down the entire operation. Labor disruptions hinder airport operations. The variety of things that can go wrong is essentially endless, and every problem requires a solution as quickly as possible. It is therefore critical that the survey team develop contingency plans for everything from a late-arriving interviewer through weather problems to special events that either cause havoc at the airport or skew the passenger profile. Survey teams that do not do this in advance are likely to find themselves scrambling madly on a daily basis. Table 4-1 lists some common problems and possible plans for dealing with them. These guide- lines are general and would have to be tailored to the specific situation. 4.5.3 Other Logistical Considerations Field Office Space Survey teams that do not plan for adequate, appropriately equipped, and accessible field office space are likely to see the quality of their work and results suffer as a result. The first considera- tion is where the space should be located: before or after security screening. This decision should be driven by what type of access will be most convenient to field staff and least disruptive to the airport. The space should also · Provide enough room for the field manager, field supervisors and interviewers to check in, check out, and meet (perhaps for announcements or some refresher training). It need not accommodate the entire team, although a space for training the entire team will need to be identified and reserved. · Have the necessary technology and equipment, including Internet access, electrical outlets if electronics will need to be charged, a photocopier and fax machine if needed by the team, and storage space for supplies and equipment. · Be private (not shared with others) and locked, both to prevent conflicts and for security reasons. Table 4-1. Representative problems and contingency plans. Potential Problem Possible Contingency Plan Target flight is delayed Prepare a list of alternate flights to survey in case selected flights cannot be surveyed as planned. If departure delay is greater than 30 minutes, survey alternate flight. If departure delay is less than 30 minutes, continue interviews until team is scheduled to move to next flight and leave one interviewer behind to continue until boarding starts then rejoin team at next flight. Target flight is cancelled Survey designated alternate flight Severe weather disrupts flight schedules Shift interview schedule by a designated amount of time to allow as many flights as possible to be surveyed in the planned sequence. Interviewers fail to show up or arrive late Reallocate available interviewers among teams to ensure that each team has the required minimum number of interviewers. Interviewer runs out of survey forms Record responses on an already used form in a different color. Airline suspends operation due to strike Survey designated alternate flights