Our team distributed the final round of paper surveys. We visited the Stanford Shopping Center on Saturday and the California Avenue Farmer’s Market on Sunday. The Stanford Shopping Center venture was of particular interest because everyone we interviewed was a service worker. The individuals most likely to take a survey were those that had to wait in a single spot to wait on customers. Therefore, in the cumulation of our surveying, employees and Caltrain commuters were our most willing survey groups. We collected an additional 36 surveys over the weekend, bringing our in-person surveys to 77. People seem to have a knee-jerk dislike of surveyors. The majority of people we approached expressed a clear disinterest or were hesitant around complete strangers engaging them. Unlike many other survey programs, we were fortunate, especially in the California Avenue Farmer’s Market, to meet Stanford-affiliated staff and students that had empathy for our cause. Though we recognize that the general wariness is a fairly natural response, our team has developed a sympathetic attitude towards survey-based research, and will likely try to contribute to the a few of the in-person surveyors we encounter.
The following section lists some general statistics we derived from the survey answers.
Over 53% of all employed individuals drive to work (mostly solo), but more than 63% of individuals would prefer to bike, walk, and take public transit to work. 85% of individuals live in either apartments or single family households (split 40%, 45%). We managed to level our age demographic with the two trips this past weekend. Older generations seem to be less abundant in modern shopping centers and the California Farmer’s Market. Beforehand, close to 40% of our surveyed individuals, especially the residents that could give deeper insights into Palo Alto’s local housing situation, were older than 60. The lowest ranked form of transportation in Palo Alto was surprisingly driving (40/100), with public transit close behind (60/100). Not surprisingly, housing cost was the lowest ranked attribute in Palo Alto (18/100), with housing diversity close behind (40/100). In contrast, safety and commercial access were two of the highest ranked attributes (82/100).
These results suggest people would like to see changes in the housing and transportation sector. Housing costs are too high to support a growing job market, and often lead to employees having to commute long distances. Over 80% of individuals noted housing cost as one of their top three considerations for living in a particular region. Quite a few individuals mentioned the need for higher density, lower cost housing units. However, the majority of individuals want a large residence with plenty of rooms. Over 90% of individuals requested easy access to a grocery store above other neighborhood attributes. The elderly had a slight preference for drug stores and libraries, likely a product of age associated health issues and disuse of modern reading resources respectively. These attributes show the importance for planners and citizen groups who use our data to understand the needs of the large age range in Palo Alto and possibly to adjust amenities based on the demographics of the city.
We are waiting to hear back from Adina and Elaine on the success (or failure) of our online surveys. Ideally, we would collect an additional 30-50 surveys from individuals of a younger demographic. While we are waiting on those results, our team is analyzing the survey data and noting relevant trends. We are trying to derive a more statistical way of analyzing written comments, but will likely categorize them into housing or transportation, complaints and compliments groupings. We are beginning to draft our final memo for Adina and Elaine, but are at a stand still until the final surveys arrive. As of now, we can only work on the methodology. However, we can also begin crafting our final presentation slides for December 6th.