This week, Sam and Ma’ayan finalized their scope of work and began data collection. As with all procedures on GIS, our work will likely take us ~4 times as long to complete as we expect it to, so we decided to get a head start on our data collection and cleaning process. After many arduous hours meeting with each other and Patricia in Branner Library, yesterday Ma’ayan met with Kris, the Government Information Librarian in Green, and she explained how to find and download the data that we need from the Social Explorer website. Now that we have the process, and site down, we need to make sure the GEO_FIPS codes correspond from the Social Explorer data and our desired shape files. After we confirm this, we can begin to download our data en masse and map it out!
In addition, we met with Adina on Thursday and discussed our final deliverables and how they will be used to get a better sense of our project goals. In this case, the maps will be used to test whether mode shares have historically changed since 1990. This will show Caltrain not only the past, and current, mode share amounts, but will also give us a better sense of the potential mode share shifts that are possible to achieve through TDM programs, employer incentives, and policy tools-- which is where the second deliverable, the TDM report, comes in. This discussion and gave us more ideas on how we shall be visually organizing our map. We haven’t finalized the design, but once we get the data and start mapping it, we will have a better sense of the different kinds of narratives we can show through our maps.
While at first, we were struggling to find our data, with the support of some Stanford staff, we have found the relevant Census data from 1990, 2000, and ACS data from 2011. With this, we will be able to effectively communicate trends and changes. We are hoping to find some reliable estimation data to project future changes, but is an extension for our project if we complete it with time to spare. The projection aspect could also be where someone could pick up from our project and continue our work.
What We Observed and Learned
During the weekend, Ma’ayan and Sam reviewed a Caltrain annual rider survey with 2900 responses conducted in July that asked riders their thoughts on Caltrain’s performance and suggestions for future improvements. Seeing this extensive research and the results the study garnered, we decided that for the sake of our research questions and scope of work, we would not conduct similar intercept surveys, as we initially believed. Upon seeing the other student presentations, we realized since we were missing this survey component, we were lacking elements of community interaction that are pivotal to service learning.
In our meeting on Thursday, Adina mentioned a variety of different events and sessions happening around the Bay Area right now that are related to our project (EIR public readings, forums at SPUR, various relevant city council meetings). With this in mind, we decided that for our project, each of us will attend one of community meetings/ panels every other week. In addition, upon completing our research, we will also write letters explaining our findings to various city councils and working groups addressing the issues we are focused on. Since a huge component of our project is public outreach and spreading the results of our work to as many people as possible, these letters will serve a pivotal role.
Today we will be editing and formatting our scope of work, and submitting it to Deland, Carly and Adina tonight. In addition, next week we have our meeting with Aaron Aknin from Palo Alto to discuss current traffic problems and potential solutions Palo Alto is currently investigating to solve them. We will inform him on the nature of our project as well, and see if he has any resources which could be of use to us. In addition, we will be collecting our data and starting to compile our map within the next week. Accordingly with our self-set goals, we will be deciding which TDM programs and municipalities to study for our final report this week.