This past weekend, our group visited the Palo Alto Caltrain Station and the Giltelman Farmer's Market to deliver our housing/transportation surveys. We spent two hours at each site, distributing paper surveys, conducting interviews, and receiving feedback. In total, we collected 43 surveys and 10 personal interviews. While we gained valuable insight, the total number of individuals we surveyed was below our goal. As a result, our group is planning a second distribution venture this coming weekend (discussed below). From our observations, people understood the questions and rarely voiced criticisms concerning the survey itself.
Our experiences with locals and commuters were interesting to say the least. Generally, the elderly were more willing to participate in our survey, and provide verbal feedback. At the farmer’s market for instance, older generations were more opinionated concerning housing and transportation issues. Caltrain individuals were more likely to participate in the survey because they were stagnant until the train arrived. Unfortunately, we did not prepare properly, and ran out of surveys in the first hour. All people seemed to be aware of the low housing variation and high housing costs in the Palo Alto. However, their survey answers suggested a preference towards larger, cheaper homes in walkable neighborhoods. Our literature review suggested the answers would be contradictory. Though most of the responses and interactions were predictable, we did observe interesting behavior in a few individuals. For instance, a man described his non-profit organization, which happened to be conducting similar research. Though he mentioned how difficult finding survey participants was, he refused to take our survey and left without providing any valuable information.
We met with Deland and Elaine last Monday to discuss project progress and next steps. The following section describes the tentative plan for the next few weeks leading into Thanksgiving break.
This weekend, our team is distributing paper surveys at the Stanford Shopping Center, and the California Avenue Farmer’s Market. We are hoping to double our current dataset, and expand surveyed demographics. The mall event is scheduled for two hours on Saturday, followed by a Sunday morning excursion to the Farmer’s Market. By the beginning of next week, we will have finished our in-person surveys and have given the revised online survey to Adina and Elaine for email distribution. Between the paper surveys, online surveys, and personal interviews, we are hoping to have surveyed over 100 individuals.
Our team will begin developing our final products. As we approach Thanksgiving break, we are processing the data and drafting a final article for Adina and Elaine. At the latest, we would like to submit a completed draft, with personal vignettes, to both our stakeholders before break.
Based on our survey data, we are concerned that we have not collected a representative data set from surveyed individuals. We cannot derive conclusions at this time, but most of our local residents are skewed towards elderly. Hopefully, our work this weekend will expand our age and employment demographics. Our stakeholders mentioned that the age and racial demographics in the Cal Ave. Farmer’s Market are different than our previous two sites. We understand that Palo Alto, on average, is split between the elderly and youth. However, the extreme ends of these demographics are unemployed, and may not be the most valuable information sources for developing Palo Alto’s housing and transportation network.
Also, a lengthy 23 question survey requires rather complex data analysis. As a result, we will have to deliberate amongst ourselves and stakeholders to decide what significant trends are of concern. Are we more interested in housing and transportation preferences across age demographics, employment statuses, or housing and transportation types? Most of our data is segmented based on individual completion rates. The significance trends we identify for some questions may not be observed in other questions with few responses, or different demographics.