Update on Project Activities
Over the course of the last week, we met with both Deland and our community partners to update them on our progress and gain their guidance on the form of our final deliverable. We shared the findings of our data analysis and received positive feedback about the new direction we have taken our project in. During our meeting with Deland, we discussed our final deliverables and agreed upon making a website to showcase all of our work (data, code, final report, executive summary, and story maps). We also divided the final project work up amongst our group. AJ and Lilla will work on analyzing Muni and VTA transit data with our code to provide recommendations about scheduling. Along with Ken, they will transfer this data into ArcGIS and create visualizations via StoryMaps to show how the inconsistency in transfer times is affecting communities differently.
Ken and Brandon have been working on building out the website to present all of our work in a visually compelling and accessible way. Allan has been leading the literature review and background/contextual information for the final report.
More specifically, work on the website—hosted by Weebly—began this week as a medium to display the work we have completed this quarter. The intention is to display the driving guidelines, background, methodology, findings, and recommendations stemming from our project. The layout of the home page has been completed. Visitors to the page are greeted with a scene at Millbrae Station, then provided with a link to our background along with the Grand Jury Report as well as the definition of the MTC’s Communities of Concern. Next is a link to our process and methodology, which has yet to be completed, followed by a space for us to clearly lay out our results and recommendations.
We have also started drafting our final report. Currently, we have our project description literature review, sections on background and context, bios about our community partners, and a comprehensive outline that we are slowly filling in. Once we have visualized our scheduling data, we will be able to type up formal recommendations and write an analysis on Caltrain access barriers that will make up the majority of the report.
In our meeting with our community partners, Adina and Ian, we were able to discuss how our new data could be most useful to them. Just by looking at the spreadsheets, it was clear to them that our data went beyond what the Grand Jury report had summarized. Ian pointed out the huge variations in transfer times and suggested some ways to visualize our data, as the spreadsheet format isn’t very approachable (though we will upload everything onto our website). He also proposed that once we do our analysis on VTA and Muni, we compare and contrast the data to further analyze the performance of different transit agencies in the Bay Area. Adina was really keen on how our data would be visualized with GIS and what insights this would show for Caltrain access within communities of concern. Both Ian and Adina pointed out how difficult it is to change schedules (as we also discussed with Deland, there are many factors that go into redesigning transit schedules). Therefore, Adina recommended that we focus our recommendations on small tweaks that can be made rather than overhauling the entire Caltrain Connection systems.
What We Observed/Learned
This week’s forum on environmental justice was greatly insightful to our project especially since we are focusing on Communities of Concern in the Bay Area and how to serve them better with public transit. Such areas potentially have been underserved by transit, so we go in attempting to resolve the issue with our community partners. Hearing the speakers discuss their strategy and work gives us an idea of what to expect in such advocacy work and draw parallels with Friends of Caltrain or Seamless Bay Area.
We have also looked more closely into the final deliverables of past sustainable transportation projects in this class. By exploring their websites and skimming their reports, we have gained insight on the best ways to communicate our findings.
Critical Analysis/Moving Forward
Over Thanksgiving Break and through the conference, we will:
Adina also had brought up that VTA has recently updated their bus schedules and is to release them after the term ends. We have initiated contact with VTA to see if we might get access to a version of the schedule to use in our analysis, as this could be an opportunity to point out any areas for improvement moving forward.