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8 The respondents do not represent a statistical sample. How- questions that are directly related to their respective operations. ever, they do represent a cross section of the various seg- Federal, state, and local transportation agencies were asked to ments of the freight transportation industry and they provided complete the entire survey but to focus on the general section. remarkable insights and diverse information on the issues of The goal was to reach a fairly large sample of representa- interest to this project. tives of the various entities involved in freight transportation The questions in the interview guide (Appendix C) were by working with industry associations and other organizations framed with the assumption that the data collection effort to help invite members to complete the survey. The target would capture information on case studies where low-cost audience included public- and private-sector groups, i.e., state improvements have been implemented or are currently in the DOTs and MPOs; a cross section of national, regional, and process of being implemented. Respondents were provided local motor carriers; Class I, regional, and short-line railroads; interview questions prior to the interview. Responses to ques- port terminal operators; logistics service providers; shippers; tions in the interview guide were recorded to the highest level freight forwarders; and labor unions. For example, the Amer- of detail possible. The respondents were asked to review inter- ican Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) invited motor view notes for accuracy and completeness. carrier representatives through its website; the link was also Information was also gathered through a workshop con- sent to project advisers at Kansas City Smart Port to invite ducted during the annual meeting of American Association its members to take the survey. Invitations to take the survey of State Highway and Transportation Officials' (AASHTO) were also sent directly to those listed in the national state Subcommittee on Design (SCOD) held in Albuquerque, New DOT freight directory, MPOs, and AASHTO state rail con- Mexico, in July 2008 to engage SCOD members on the issue of tacts. The invitees were encouraged to forward the survey link low-cost improvements for freight mobility. The participants to their colleagues to complete the survey. included representatives of state DOTs, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and an individual from the British 1.3.3 Data Analysis Columbia Ministry of Transport, Canada. Both qualitative and quantitative analyses were conducted on data collected through stakeholder interviews and surveys. Survey The qualitative analysis involved preparing a summary of the The purpose of the surveys was to gather information from data elements necessary to populate the database of low-cost public- and private-sector stakeholders regarding their percep- improvement projects. This includes summary descriptions tions, attitudes, and practices to address freight-system mobil- of constraints, performance indicators used in monitoring and ity constraints. The survey plan had three main components: identifying constraints, definitions of low-cost, quickly imple- (i) protocol an Internet survey approach was used because of mentable solutions, decision factors in selecting improvements, its relatively high response rate and ease of compiling and ana- factors for evaluating improvement projects, lessons learned, lyzing survey data; (ii) survey instrument the questions were and sources of further information. specifically structured consistent with the protocol, i.e., Inter- Standard statistical analysis principles and methods were net survey; and (iii) sampling plan the approach to reach a used in analyzing quantitative data obtained from the survey. representative sample of potential respondents. First, survey weights were used to adjust for any biases that A dedicated website was created for this survey. This site was may occur due to the sample selection and to expand the sam- monitored continuously throughout the duration of the survey. ple results to the target population. Based on the estimated The protocol was coded to prevent the same survey respon- number of potential survey takers from each group of stake- dent from completing multiple surveys. The survey instrument holders and the number included in the email invitation, sam- (Appendix D) comprises a general section (all respondents are ple weights were calculated and applied to adjust the results expected to answer) and mode-specific sections (directed pri- for non-response, and then post-stratified to adjust to the tar- marily at private-sector stakeholders) as follows: get population. The product of these adjustments represents the final analysis weights that were applied to the samples of Motor carriers each category to ensure that the results from the sample are Railroad companies representative of the target population. Deepwater ports and inland waterways Descriptive statistics such as weighted averages, frequencies, Labor unions, shippers, and warehouse operators. and percentages were used to characterize the survey responses. Separate analyses were conducted for each of the three primary The format of the survey was designed to encourage private- modes (highway, rail, and water) while distinguishing between sector stakeholders to complete the survey by directing them to public- and private-sector perspectives to the extent possible.