This week, our team finalized our transportation and housing surveys. After meeting with Hillary last Wednesday, our team updated our written and online surveys to better reflect the concerns of people rather than researchers. Our questions were often too impersonal, and made the reader feel as if he or she were a number rather than a voice. This input, as well as the feedback given from numerous test-survey takers this past weekend allowed us to produce our final survey. We recently emailed Adina and Elaine on our survey progress, and they were thrilled to see the changes we had made in the past week. Our survey is 23 questions long, split into two sections. The first section is comprised of simple, multiple choice housing and transportation questions, as compared to the ladder section, containing more open ended, preference questions.
We are realizing that the slightest variation in word choice can make or break a reader’s ability answer a question. Over the past two weeks, we have been refining our question types to eliminate any ambiguity or confusion. We recognize we cannot produce a perfect survey, that is both clear and unbiased. However, we believe that our final survey will at least provide usable, coherent data on housing and transportation in Palo Alto.
Friday and Saturday, our team will head out to the Caltrain station and the Farmers’ Market to distribute the final paper survey. We plan on collecting the pop up park equipment from Elaine on Friday afternoon and setting up around the station 5-7PM. The following morning, we will setup at the market around 9AM. We are excited to finally interact with our stakeholders and community members, but are also eager to collect definitive data on housing and transportation preferences.
We are also meeting with Adina and Elaine this Monday (30th) to discuss our surveying experience and begin to send the online surveys out on email servers.
Not everyone is interested in speaking to complete strangers on the street. In fact, their knee jerk reaction is often the opposite. Therefore, we are dressing and acting approachable to increase the likelihood of collecting data. This will include; pop-up park green spaces, Stanford shirts, and candy buckets. We want to come off as endearing and enthusiastic, rather than demanding or insincere. As our survey events progress, we will refine our tactics and develop a better understanding of engaging pedestrians. Even if we cannot collect physical data, we are interested in at least sharing our knowledge with the citizens and employees of Palo Alto. We will have information booklets summarizing the current housing and transportation situation around the city, as well as a reference to the Comprehensive Plan Update.
When thinking about different demographics such as socioeconomic status and race, the specific areas where we are conducting our research may not be inclusive of these different groups of individuals. After our midterm presentation, we received feedback concerning the potential employment biases we were likely to encounter only surveying two sites. We are planning to survey people at the Palo Alto Caltrain Station and Farmers Markets on California Avenue. Individuals who ride the Caltrain typically are of a higher socioeconomic status, suggesting an inherent bias for higher income workers. Our team is working to find a way to incorporate the experiences and opinions of all individuals. A diverse input of opinions will be vital to making the City of Palo Alto more sustainable in regards to housing and transportation issues.