We met with our project partners, Adina and Chris, again this week to finalize the survey and handout, and start planning logistics for implementation. The meeting started by going over the project documents and equity reviews that Chris pointed us towards last week, as well as some extra research that members of the team conducted as well. We highlighted key points of the lit review we conducted, discussing how those points could inform our own project.
We also started discussing distribution of the survey and information. We decided that having multiple methods of delivering the survey and relevant information was important to ensuring it was as accessible as possible. One of the projects we are considering taking on is making a short informational video to accompany a handout. We also discussed how to physically implement the survey, going over how to confirm connections with business organizations, and determining the actual process of asking people to conduct the survey. To establish field days, we are waiting on a couple of organizations and coalitions in the area and working out how to approach people and the mannerisms we should adopt.
Since the meeting, over the course of the week we have finalized the survey— expanding it to about 30 questions that cover a broad scope of objective and opinion-based questions— and finished the handout— converting it to the tri-fold brochure featuring more visuals and graphics to make the survey and project more accessible.
What We Observed and Learned
From the 2014 LA Express Lane Survey, we learned that the project to institute tolled lanes was relatively successful and met most of its initial goals, although a long term assessment was lacking. Interestingly enough, the project was more successful on I-10 than on I-110, pointing to the possibility of different transit corridors having different purposes and thus different best strategies— one suspected cause was the quality of rideshare and bus programs on the different highways. There was not a noticeable time difference between the commute time of cars or public transit. Public transit ridership did increase by 27%, and after instituting tolling another 15%. Only ⅓ of the new drivers on the highways were in single occupancy vehicles. 40% of drivers agreed that tolling improved driving. Overall conclusions suggest that while the project improved public transit, it did not noticeably impact commute time, succeeding in some but not all of its goals. The project earned 24 million dollars, though it is unclear how much of that money then went into improving transit services. Similarly, it is also unclear of how many people used the discounted fastrak program for low income commuters, both questions that need further study to inform our own project.
We also discussed the 2010 Equity Assessment conducted for the same project, which gave us an idea of the kinds of frameworks we might be able to use to discuss the results of our own survey. The 2010 Assessment divided equity into 3 dimensions— individual equity, group equity, and geographic equity— and 3 subcategories under each dimension— market, opportunity, and outcome. We plan on examining the assessment more as we more into the data analysis portion of our project to give us ideas on how to frame survey results.
Critical Analysis/Moving Forward
Moving forward, the bulk of of our project will be to conduct the finalized survey, in order to determine the best practices for approaching our target audience of low-income working commuters. Throughout the next two to three weeks, we will focus on surveying along El Camino Real over the weekend and the Stanford campus over the weekdays when possible. We hope to establish connections with local businesses and community organizations, so as to truly grasp their employees’/ members’ perspective on the current traffic conditions along Highway 101 as well as their individual transportation needs.
Logistically, we plan to schedule field days on which we, in groups of 2, will strategically visit businesses. As we desire to be considerate of our target audience’s schedule and workload, we plan to only visit businesses during their off peak hours and to offer a variety of options with which people can take the survey, especially if they’re interested in doing so, but busy at the moment. For example, between a link to an online survey, a pile of paper surveys, or an in-person survey, we will investigate which option is the most effective in number of responses as well as which option is the most effective in the comfort of the survey participant. Other considerations that we have considered in order to make the survey as accessible to people as possible, include: making a video for people to view as the topic of expressways may be unfamiliar territory for some, translating survey materials into other languages, and creating a tactile model for surveyors to explain the topic of expressways in person. By the end of our survey period we hope to ascertain which method achieves the greatest number of responses, taking into account that the method itself must be replicable by our community partners.