National Academies Press: OpenBook

Use of Market Research Panels in Transit (2013)

Chapter:Front Matter

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2013. Use of Market Research Panels in Transit. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22563.
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Below is the uncorrected machine-read text of this chapter, intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text of each book. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

T R A N S I T C O O P E R A T I V E R E S E A R C H P R O G R A M TCRP SYNTHESIS 105 TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH BOARD WASHINGTON, D.C. 2013 www.TRB.org Research Sponsored by the Federal Transit Administration in Cooperation with the Transit Development Corporation SubScriber categorieS Public Transportation • Planning and Forecasting Use of Market Research Panels in Transit A Synthesis of Transit Practice conSultant Kathryn Coffel Kathryn Coffel Consulting, LLC Portland, Oregon

TRANSIT COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAM The nation’s growth and the need to meet mobility, environ­ mental, and energy objectives place demands on public transit systems. Current systems, some of which are old and in need of upgrading, must expand service area, increase service frequency, and improve efficiency to serve these demands. Research is nec­ essary to solve operating problems, to adapt appropriate new technologies from other industries, and to introduce innovations into the transit industry. The Transit Cooperative Research Pro­ gram (TCRP) serves as one of the principal means by which the transit industry can develop innovative near­term solutions to meet demands placed on it. The need for TCRP was originally identified in TRB Special Report 213—Research for Public Transit: New Directions, pub­ lished in 1987 and based on a study sponsored by the Federal Transit Admin istration (FTA). A report by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), Transportation 2000, also recognized the need for local, problem­solving research. TCRP, modeled after the longstanding and successful National Coopera­ tive Highway Research Program, undertakes research and other technical activities in response to the needs of transit service provid­ ers. The scope of TCRP includes a variety of transit research fields including planning, service configuration, equipment, fa­ cilities, operations, human resources, maintenance, policy, and ad­ ministrative practices. TCRP was established under FTA sponsorship in July 1992. Proposed by the U.S. Department of Transportation, TCRP was authorized as part of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Effi­ ciency Act of 1991 (ISTEA). On May 13, 1992, a memorandum agreement outlining TCRP operating procedures was executed by the three cooperating organizations: FTA, the National Academy of Sciences, acting through the Transportation Research Board (TRB); and the Transit Development Corporation, Inc. (TDC), a nonprofit educational and research organization established by APTA. TDC is responsible for forming the independent govern­ ing board, designated as the TCRP Oversight and Project Selec­ tion (TOPS) Committee. Research problem statements for TCRP are solicited periodi­ cally but may be submitted to TRB by anyone at any time. It is the responsibility of the TOPS Committee to formulate the re­ search program by identifying the highest priority projects. As part of the evaluation, the TOPS Committee defines funding levels and expected products. Once selected, each project is assigned to an expert panel, ap­ pointed by TRB. The panels prepare project statements (requests for proposals), select contractors, and provide technical guidance and counsel throughout the life of the project. The process for developing research problem statements and selecting research agencies has been used by TRB in managing cooperative re­ search programs since 1962. As in other TRB activ ities, TCRP project panels serve voluntarily without com pensation. Because research cannot have the desired impact if products fail to reach the intended audience, special emphasis is placed on disseminating TCRP results to the intended end users of the re­ search: transit agencies, service providers, and suppliers. TRB provides a series of research reports, syntheses of transit practice, and other supporting material developed by TCRP research. APTA will arrange for workshops, training aids, field visits, and other activities to ensure that results are implemented by urban and rural transit industry practitioners. The TCRP provides a forum where transit agencies can coop­ eratively address common operational problems. The TCRP results support and complement other ongoing transit research and train­ ing programs. TCRP SYNTHESIS 105 Project J­7, Topic SB­22 ISSN 1073­4880 ISBN 978­0­309­22393­5 Library of Congress Control Number 2013936322 © 2013 National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. COPYRIGHT INFORMATION Authors herein are responsible for the authenticity of their materials and for obtaining written permissions from publishers or persons who own the copyright to any previously published or copyrighted material used herein. Cooperative Research Programs (CRP) grants permission to reproduce material in this publication for classroom and not­for­profit purposes. Permission is given with the understanding that none of the material will be used to imply TRB, AASHTO, FAA, FHWA, FMCSA, FTA, or Transit Development Corporation endorsement of a particular product, method, or practice. It is expected that those reproducing the material in this document for educational and not­for­profit uses will give appropriate acknowledgment of the source of any reprinted or reproduced material. For other uses of the material, request permission from CRP. NOTICE The project that is the subject of this report was a part of the Transit Co­ operative Research Program, conducted by the Transportation Research Board with the approval of the Governing Board of the National Research Council. The members of the technical panel selected to monitor this project and to review this report were chosen for their special competencies and with regard for appropriate balance. The report was reviewed by the technical panel and accepted for publication according to procedures established and overseen by the Transportation Research Board and approved by the Gov­ erning Board of the National Research Council. The opinions and conclusions expressed or implied in this report are those of the researchers who performed the research and are not necessarily those of the Transportation Research Board, the National Research Council, or the program sponsors. The Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, the National Research Council, and the sponsors of the Transit Cooperative Research Program do not endorse products or manufacturers. Trade or manufacturers’ names appear herein solely because they are considered essential to the object of the report. Published reports of the TRANSIT COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAM are available from: Transportation Research Board Business Office 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001 and can be ordered through the Internet at http://www.national­academies.org/trb/bookstore Printed in the United States of America

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished schol- ars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. On the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and techni- cal matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Acad- emy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achieve- ments of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, on its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Acad- emy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. The Transportation Research Board is one of six major divisions of the National Research Council. The mission of the Transportation Research Board is to provide leadership in transportation innovation and progress through research and information exchange, conducted within a setting that is objective, interdisci- plinary, and multimodal. The Board’s varied activities annually engage about 7,000 engineers, scientists, and other transportation researchers and practitioners from the public and private sectors and academia, all of whom contribute their expertise in the public interest. The program is supported by state transportation departments, federal agencies including the component administrations of the U.S. Department of Transporta- tion, and other organizations and individuals interested in the development of transportation. www.TRB.org www.national-academies.org

TOPIC PANEL SB-22 ROBERT E. GRIFFITHS, Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments TIM E. HEALY, Sound Transit, Seattle, WA TATIANA JANE, Regional Transportation Authority, Chicago JANICE PEPPER, NJTransit, Newark MINDY RHINDRESS, Queens College–CUNY/AbtSRBI VINCENT SILMON, Dallas Area Rapid Transit CHERYL STECHER, Franklin Hill Group, Santa Monica, CA ERIK WEBER, Federal Transit Administration (Liaison) MARGARET PETRELLA, USDOT RITA—Volpe Center (Liaison) DEBRA W. ALEXANDER, Capital Area Transportation Authority, Lansing, MI (Liaison) SYNTHESIS STUDIES STAFF STEPHEN R. GODWIN, Director for Studies and Special Programs JON M. WILLIAMS, Program Director, IDEA and Synthesis Studies JO ALLEN GAUSE, Senior Program Officer GAIL R. STABA, Senior Program Officer DONNA L. VLASAK, Senior Program Officer TANYA M. ZWAHLEN, Consultant DON TIPPMAN, Senior Editor CHERYL KEITH, Senior Program Assistant DEMISHA WILLIAMS, Senior Program Assistant DEBBIE IRVIN, Program Associate COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAMS STAFF CHRISTOPHER W. JENKS, Director, Cooperative Research Programs CRAWFORD F. JENCKS, Deputy Director, Cooperative Research Programs GWEN CHISHOLM SMITH, Senior Program Officer EILEEN P. DELANEY, Director of Publications TCRP COMMITTEE FOR PROJECT J-7 CHAIR DWIGHT A. FERRELL, Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, Atlanta, GA MEMBERS DEBRA W. ALEXANDER, Capital Area Transportation Authority, Lansing, MI DONNA DeMARTINO, San Joaquin Regional Transit District, Stockton, CA MARK W. FUHRMANN, Metro Transit–Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN ROBERT H. IRWIN, Consultant, Sooke, AB, Canada JEANNE KRIEG, Eastern Contra Costa Transit Authority, Antioch, CA PAUL J. LARROUSSE, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick, NJ DAVID A. LEE, Connecticut Transit, Hartford, CT FRANK T. MARTIN, Atkins, Orlando, FL BRADFORD J. MILLER, Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority, St. Petersburg, FL HAYWARD M. SEYMORE, III, Kitsap Transit, Bremerton, WA FRANK TOBEY, First Transit, Inc., Moscow, TN FTA LIAISON JARRETT W. STOLTZFUS, Federal Transit Administration APTA LIAISON KEVIN DOW, American Public Transportation Association TRB LIAISON JENNIFER A. ROSALES, Transportation Research Board Cover Photo: Courtesy Kimberly Coffel, 2012.

FOREWORD PREFACE By Donna L. Vlasak Senior Program Officer Transportation Research Board Transit administrators, engineers, and researchers often face problems for which infor­ mation already exists, either in documented form or as undocumented experience and prac­ tice. This information may be fragmented, scattered, and unevaluated. As a consequence, full knowledge of what has been learned about a problem may not be brought to bear on its solution. Costly research findings may go unused, valuable experience may be overlooked, and due consideration may not be given to recommended practices for solving or alleviat­ ing the problem. There is information on nearly every subject of concern to the transit industry. Much of it derives from research or from the work of practitioners faced with problems in their day­to­day work. To provide a systematic means for assembling and evaluating such useful information and to make it available to the entire transit community, the Transit Coopera­ tive Research Program Oversight and Project Selection (TOPS) Committee authorized the Transportation Research Board to undertake a continuing study. This study, TCRP Project J­7, “Synthesis of Information Related to Transit Problems,” searches out and synthesizes useful knowledge from all available sources and prepares concise, documented reports on specific topics. Reports from this endeavor constitute a TCRP report series, Synthesis of Transit Practice. This synthesis series reports on current knowledge and practice, in a compact format, without the detailed directions usually found in handbooks or design manuals. Each report in the series provides a compendium of the best knowledge available on those measures found to be the most successful in resolving specific problems. This synthesis describes the various types of market research panels, identifies criti­ cal issues that researchers might be aware of when engaging in market research and panel surveys, and provides examples of successful market research panel programs. It provides information about common pitfalls to be avoided and successful techniques to apply that maximize research dollars without jeopardizing the quality of the data or validity of the results. The synthesis was conducted using a literature review of market research and market research panels, an industry survey of transportation agencies on the use of market research and panels, three agency panel survey profiles, and four full case examples. A selected sur­ vey of 29 respondents out of 38 transit and transportation agencies known to conduct mar­ ket research yielded a 76% response rate from transit agencies, one metropolitan planning organization, and one state department of transportation. The four case example agencies are the Regional Transportation District (Denver), Minnesota Department of Transporta­ tion, Metropolitan Transportation Authority New York City, and Washington State Trans­ portation Commission/Washington State Ferries and demonstrate the wide variety of ways in which panels have been implemented in the transportation field. Kathryn Coffel, Kathryn Coffel Consulting LLC, Portland, Oregon, collected and syn­ thesized the information and wrote the report, under the guidance of a panel of experts in the subject area. The members of the topic panel are acknowledged on the preceding page. This synthesis is an immediately useful document that records the practices that were acceptable within the limitations of the knowledge available at the time of its preparation. As progress in research and practice continues, new knowledge will be added to that now at hand.

CONTENTS 1 SUMMARY 5 CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION Market Research Process, 5 Project Purpose, 6 Technical Approach to the Project, 6 Report Organization, 7 8 CHAPTER TWO LITERATURE REVIEW Market Research Context, 8 Traditional Market Research Panels, 9 Online Market Research Panels, 12 Future of Market Research, 19 21 CHAPTER THREE SURVEY RESULTS—USE OF PANELS Methodology, 21 Findings, 21 Summary of Survey Results, 28 30 CHAPTER FOUR CASE EXAMPLES—A VARIETY OF PANEL SURVEY APPLICATIONS Regional Transportation District Case Example, 30 Minnesota Department of Transportation Case Example, 34 Metropolitan Transportation Authority Case Example, 39 Washington State Transportation Commission Case Example, 41 45 CHAPTER FIVE CONCLUSIONS Market Research Context, 45 Market Research Panels, 46 How Transit Agencies Are Using Panel Surveys, 46 Lessons Learned, 47 Topics for Future Study, 49 50 REFERENCES 51 BIBLIOGRAPHY 52 APPENDIX A CASE EXAMPLE OF A TRADITIONAL PANEL SURVEY: PUGET SOUND TRANSPORTATION PANEL 53 APPENDIX B E­MAIL INVITATION TO PARTICIPATE IN THE INDUSTRY SURVEY

61 APPENDIX C LIST OF RESPONDENTS 62 APPENDIX D REVISED CODE OF WASHINGTON RELATED TO FERRY USER SURVEYS Note: Many of the photographs, figures, and tables in this report have been converted from color to grayscale for printing. The electronic version of the report (posted on the Web at www.trb.org) retains the color versions.

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TRB’s Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) Synthesis 105: Use of Market Research Panels in Transit describes the various types of market research panels, identifies issues that researchers should be aware of when engaging in market research and panel surveys, and provides examples of successful market research panel programs.

The report also provides information about common pitfalls to be avoided and successful techniques that may help maximize research dollars without jeopardizing the quality of the data or validity of the results.

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