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A I R P O R 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 ACRP RESEARCH REPORT 235 2021 Research sponsored by the Federal Aviation Administration Subscriber Categories Aviation â¢ Passenger Transportation â¢ Planning and Forecasting Guidebook for Conducting Airport User Surveys and Other Customer Research Jennifer D. Franz Heather Taylor Holbert JD Franz Research, Inc. Sacramento, CA Laurie A. Garrow Atlanta Analytics, LLC Atlanta, GA Geoffrey D. Gosling Aviation System Consulting, LLC Berkeley, CA Mark Vande Kamp Seattle, WA Lisa Harmon Stephanie Ward Mead & Hunt, Inc. Middleton, WI
AIRPORT COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAM Airports are vital national resources. They serve a key role in transpor- tation of people and goods and in regional, national, and international commerce. They are where the nationâs aviation system connects with other modes of transportation and where federal responsibility for man- aging and regulating air traffic operations intersects with the role of state and local governments that own and operate most airports. Research is necessary to solve common operating problems, to adapt appropriate new technologies from other industries, and to introduce innovations into the airport industry. The Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) serves as one of the principal means by which the airport industry can develop innovative near-term solutions to meet demands placed on it. The need for ACRP was identified in TRB Special Report 272: Airport Research Needs: Cooperative Solutions in 2003, based on a study spon- sored by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). ACRP carries out applied research on problems that are shared by airport operating agen- cies and not being adequately addressed by existing federal research pro- grams. ACRP is modeled after the successful National Cooperative High- way Research Program (NCHRP) and Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP). ACRP undertakes research and other technical activi- ties in various airport subject areas, including design, construction, legal, maintenance, operations, safety, policy, planning, human resources, and administration. ACRP provides a forum where airport operators can cooperatively address common operational problems. ACRP was authorized in December 2003 as part of the Vision 100â Century of Aviation Reauthorization Act. The primary participants in the ACRP are (1) an independent governing board, the ACRP Oversight Committee (AOC), appointed by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation with representation from airport operating agencies, other stakeholders, and relevant industry organizations such as the Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA), the American Associa- tion of Airport Executives (AAAE), the National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO), Airlines for America (A4A), and the Airport Consultants Council (ACC) as vital links to the airport community; (2) TRB as program manager and secretariat for the governing board; and (3) the FAA as program sponsor. In October 2005, the FAA executed a contract with the National Academy of Sciences formally initiating the program. ACRP benefits from the cooperation and participation of airport professionals, air carriers, shippers, state and local government officials, equipment and service suppliers, other airport users, and research organi- zations. Each of these participants has different interests and responsibili- ties, and each is an integral part of this cooperative research effort. Research problem statements for ACRP are solicited periodically but may be submitted to TRB by anyone at any time. It is the responsibility of the AOC to formulate the research program by identifying the highest priority projects and defining funding levels and expected products. Once selected, each ACRP project is assigned to an expert panel appointed by TRB. Panels include experienced practitioners and research specialists; heavy emphasis is placed on including airport professionals, the intended users of the research products. 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 coop- erative research programs since 1962. As in other TRB activities, ACRP project panels serve voluntarily without compensation. Primary emphasis is placed on disseminating ACRP results to the intended users of the research: airport operating agencies, service pro- viders, and academic institutions. ACRP produces a series of research reports for use by airport operators, local agencies, the FAA, and other interested parties; industry associations may arrange for workshops, training aids, field visits, webinars, and other activities to ensure that results are implemented by airport industry practitioners. ACRP RESEARCH REPORT 235 Project 01-43 ISSN 2572-3731 (Print) ISSN 2572-374X (Online) ISBN 978-0-309-09422-1 Library of Congress Control Number 2021950175 Â© 2021 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 not-for-profit purposes. Permission is given with the understanding that none of the material will be used to imply TRB, AASHTO, FAA, FHWA, FTA, GHSA, NHTSA, or TDC endorsement of a particular product, method, or practice. It is expected that those reproducing the material in this document for educational and not-for-profit 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 research 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 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 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 Transporta- tion Research Board; the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; or the program sponsors. The Transportation Research Board; the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; and the sponsors of the Airport Cooperative Research Program do not endorse products or manufacturers. Trade or manufacturersâ names or logos appear herein solely because they are considered essential to the object of the report. Published research reports of the AIRPORT 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 by going to https://www.mytrb.org/MyTRB/Store/default.aspx Printed in the United States of America
The National Academy of Sciences was established in 1863 by an Act of Congress, signed by President Lincoln, as a private, non- governmental institution to advise the nation on issues related to science and technology. Members are elected by their peers for outstanding contributions to research. Dr. Marcia McNutt is president. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to bring the practices of engineering to advising the nation. Members are elected by their peers for extraordinary contributions to engineering. Dr. John L. Anderson is president. The National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) was established in 1970 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to advise the nation on medical and health issues. Members are elected by their peers for distinguished contributions to medicine and health. Dr. Victor J. Dzau is president. The three Academies work together as the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation and conduct other activities to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions. The National Academies also encourage education and research, recognize outstanding contributions to knowledge, and increase public understanding in matters of science, engineering, and medicine. Learn more about the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine at www.nationalacademies.org. The Transportation Research Board is one of seven major programs of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The mission of the Transportation Research Board is to provide leadership in transportation improvements and innovation through trusted, timely, impartial, and evidence-based information exchange, research, and advice regarding all modes of transportation. The Boardâs varied activities annually engage about 8,000 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 Transportation, and other organizations and individuals interested in the development of transportation. Learn more about the Transportation Research Board at www.TRB.org.
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 S CRP STAFF FOR ACRP RESEARCH REPORT 235 Christopher J. Hedges, Director, Cooperative Research Programs Lori L. Sundstrom, Deputy Director, Cooperative Research Programs Marci A. Greenberger, Manager, Airport Cooperative Research Program Joseph D. Navarrete, Senior Program Officer Clara Schmetter, Senior Program Assistant Natalie Barnes, Director of Publications Heather DiAngelis, Associate Director of Publications Doug English, Senior Editor ACRP PROJECT 01-43 PANEL Field of Administration Steve Mayers, City of Atlanta, Atlanta, GA (Chair) Eren Cello, Ontario International Airport Authority, Ontario, Canada Peter Fushan, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, New York, NY Michael R. Mullaney, Kinnelon, NJ Firelli Pitters, Unison Consulting, Inc., Chicago, IL Ashley Sng, Airports Council InternationalâNorth America Liaison Larry Williams, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX William Reinhardt, FAA Liaison Miguel Vasconcelos, FAA Liaison
ACRP Research Report 235: Guidebook for Conducting Airport User Surveys and Other Customer Research is a comprehensive resource for gathering and analyzing the data needed to better understand the demographics, behaviors, needs, and attitudes of air passengers and other airport users. The report updates ACRP Report 26: Guidebook for Conducting Airport User Surveys, which was published in 2009. It will be of particular interest to researchers and airport industry practitioners who wish to use the most recent developments in tradiÂ tional research strategies and the latest methods and tools to obtain the data needed to make informed decisions about planning and operations. While airports have traditionally focused on providing the facilities needed to safely and efficiently accommodate air travel, many are also realizing the importance of providing good customer service. Both of these objectives continue to evolve. Since the publication of ACRP Report 26, there have been significant changes in the industry and in customer behavior. New data sources (e.g., social media), new quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection (e.g., smart devices), and access to âbig dataâ have emerged. In addition, airports are increasingly focused on obtaining data to improve customer satisfaction and nonÂaeronautical revenue, which were not directly addressed in the original publication. Research was needed to provide airport industry practitioners with the latest understanding and guidance on conducting customer research. The research, led by JD Franz Research, Inc., began with a review of the literature related to consumer research in general and airport customer research in particular, with a focus on techniques that have emerged since the publication of the original report. The team identified airports that are using a wide variety of research techniques and conducted interÂ views with representatives of these airports. This was followed by inÂdepth case studies and focus groups with practitioners. The research team also obtained samples of current survey tools and other types of instruments. The analysis and findings from the research were then used to prepare the new report. The reportâs guidance is provided in three sections. PartÂ I provides detailed informaÂ tion on customer research methods, research planning, statistical concepts, survey design and implementation, qualitative methods, monitoring and enhancing customer service, performing targeted studies of specific issues, and new and developing data collection techniques. PartÂ II includes specific guidance on conducting surveys of air passengers, employees, concessionaires and other tenants, cargo providers, and area residents and busiÂ ness. Finally, PartÂ III offers guidance to help airports develop a customer research program and addresses goal setting, research implementation, and communication of results. It also provides specific guidance for small airports that often have limited resources. F O R E W O R D By Joseph D. Navarrete Staff Officer Transportation Research Board
Appendices include guidance for calculating sample sizes, a variety of survey checklists, surveyor training material, sample questionnaires, and case studies. The appendices can be accessed at www.TRB.org by searching for âACRP Research Report 235.â
1 Chapter 1 Introduction 2 1.1 Terminology 3 1.2 Distinction Between Customer Research and Marketing 3 1.3 Airport Customer Research and the COVID-19 Pandemic 4 1.4 Purpose of This Guidebook 6 1.5 How to Use the Guidebook P A R T I Conducting Customer Research 9 Introduction 11 Chapter 2 Customer Research Methods 11 2.1 Introduction 12 2.2 Air Passenger Surveys 14 2.3 Employee, Concessionaire, Tenant, and Other Surveys 15 2.4 Tracking Customer Feedback 16 2.5 Social Media Data 17 2.6 Targeted Studies of Specific Issues 17 2.7 Observation 18 2.8 User Location Tracking 18 2.9 Stakeholder and Community Outreach 20 Chapter 3 Research Planning 20 3.1 Introduction 20 3.2 Research Purpose 21 3.3 The Planning Team 22 3.4 Research Method 26 3.5 Schedule 27 3.6 Budget 31 Chapter 4 Statistical Concepts 31 4.1 Introduction 33 4.2 Concepts of Census and Sample Surveys 34 4.3 Statistical Accuracy and Confidence Intervals 37 4.4 Sampling Methods 42 4.5 Sample Size 49 4.6 Weighting 51 Chapter 5 Survey Design and Implementation 51 5.1 Introduction 51 5.2 Survey Population 54 5.3 Sampling Strategy and Plan 57 5.4 Questionnaire Design and Structure C O N T E N T S
65 5.5 Expected Data-Collection Rate 66 5.6 Survey Logistics 69 5.7 Selection and Training of Field Staff 72 5.8 Pretests and Pilot Tests 74 5.9 Maximizing Response Rates 78 5.10 Use of Electronic Data-Collection Devices 85 5.11 Data Entry and Quality Control 87 5.12 Analysis and Reporting of Survey Results 90 5.13 Post-Survey Analysis: Lessons Learned 91 5.14 Documenting the Survey 91 5.15 Level of Effort Required for Survey Planning 92 Chapter 6 Qualitative Methods 92 6.1 Introduction 92 6.2 Advantages of Qualitative Research 93 6.3 Concerns About Qualitative Research 93 6.4 Useful Qualitative Techniques 100 Chapter 7 Monitoring and Enhancing Customer Service 100 7.1 Introduction 100 7.2 Customer Feedback and Closed-Loop Processes 102 7.3 Monitoring Customer Service 106 Chapter 8 Targeted Studies of Specific Issues 106 8.1 Introduction 106 8.2 Situations That Call for Targeted Studies 107 8.3 When to Avoid Targeted Studies 108 8.4 Preparing to Conduct a Targeted Study 109 8.5 The Type of Study That Should Be Conducted 110 8.6 Practical Considerations 112 Chapter 9 New and Developing Data-Collection Techniques 112 9.1 Introduction 112 9.2 Overview of New and Developing Data-Collection Methods 113 9.3 Content Analysis of Social Media Posts 115 9.4 Wi-Fi Micro-Surveys 116 9.5 Real-Time Customer Monitoring 116 9.6 Other Data Sources 119 9.7 Privacy, Bias, and Other Electronic Data Concerns 120 9.8 Summary P A R T Â I I Specific Survey Guidelines 121 Introduction 121 Survey Role in Airport Customer Research 122 Survey Role in Airport Planning and Development 123 Survey Concepts 125 Main Survey Types and Methods 128 Chapter 10 Air Passenger Surveys 128 10.1 Introduction 128 10.2 Purpose of the Survey 135 10.3 Survey Methodology
151 10.4 Issues with Interview Surveys 151 10.5 Issues with Online Surveys 153 10.6 Sampling Approach 161 10.7 Questionnaire Wording and Length 165 10.8 Weighting Survey Responses 170 10.9 Measures to Obtain Adequate Response 171 10.10 Location-Specific Guidelines 172 10.11 Information on Greeters and Well-Wishers 173 10.12 Groundside Surveys 179 10.13 Checklists 181 Chapter 11 Employee Surveys 181 11.1 Introduction 181 11.2 Purpose of the Survey and Data to Collect 182 11.3 Survey Methodology 184 11.4 Sampling Approach 185 11.5 Questionnaire Wording and Length 185 11.6 Measures to Obtain and Enhance Responses 186 11.7 Survey Budget 187 Chapter 12 Concessionaire and Other Tenant Surveys 187 12.1 Introduction 187 12.2 Purpose of the Study and Data to Collect 188 12.3 Survey Methodology 189 12.4 Sampling Approach 190 12.5 Questionnaire Wording and Length 190 12.6 Measures to Obtain and Enhance Responses 191 12.7 Survey Budget 192 Chapter 13 Surveys of Area Residents 192 13.1 Introduction 192 13.2 Purpose of the Study and Data to Collect 193 13.3 Survey Methodology 194 13.4 Sampling Approach 196 13.5 Questionnaire Wording and Length 196 13.6 Measures to Obtain and Enhance Responses 197 13.7 Survey Budget 198 Chapter 14 Surveys of Area Businesses 198 14.1 Introduction 198 14.2 Purpose of the Study and Data to Collect 199 14.3 Survey Methodology 200 14.4 Sampling Approach 201 14.5 Questionnaire Wording and Length 201 14.6 Measures to Obtain and Enhance Responses 203 Chapter 15 Air Cargo Surveys 203 15.1 Introduction 204 15.2 Purpose of the Study and Data to Collect 208 15.3 Survey Methodology 209 15.4 Sampling Approach 209 15.5 Questionnaire Wording and Length 211 15.6 Measures to Obtain and Enhance Responses
P A R T Â I I I Developing a Customer Research Program 213 Introduction 214 Chapter 16 Developing an Airport Customer Research Program 214 16.1 Introduction 214 16.2 The Role of Airport Managers 214 16.3 Setting Goals 215 16.4 Research Implementation 216 16.5 Communication of Results 217 16.6 Suggestions for Smaller Airports 218 Glossary 224 Acronyms and Abbreviations 225 References 227 Bibliography 232 Appendices Note: Photographs, figures, and tables in this report may 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.