The power and increasing complexity of survey research

The transit industry today knows the power of research to provide a solid foundation for marketing and planning. The research process is becoming ever more complex. It is a subtle combination of art and rigorous science employing the technologies appropriate to the specific study.

CJI Research produces solid transit research based on our decades of experience with transit systems and MPO’s throughout the United States. We bring this experience to each study, interacting closely with our clients throughout the research process to meet their current and unique local needs.

Research that meets your needs

Our research is used for planning, for marketing strategy, measuring passenger satisfaction, Title VI compliance, and strategizing tax issue elections. We study passenger and community attitudes, travel behaviors, demographics, improvement priorities, latent demand. We provide results on which a transit agency can take action with confidence.

Typical studies

  • Passenger surveys to understand satisfaction, measure travel patterns, measure Title VI issues, understand communications, and identify passenger priorities for improved service
  • Community surveys to measure latent demand
  • Voter surveys to understand public support for transit tax issues
  • Online studies of commuting practices and for marketing and planning of commute reduction programs
  • Car and van pool studies
  • Key informant and stakeholder studies to examine views of transportation and the role of public transit among community leaders and transportation subsidy policies among employers

Our studies utilize many methods

  • Intercept surveys onboard transit vehicles
  • Online surveys adapted to mobile devices as well as traditional computers
  • Telephone surveys reaching cell-phone/smartphone users as well the ever dwindling number of those household still using landlines
  • Multi-modal survey techniques combining telephone supplemented by mail with online response
  • Qualitative studies using focus groups or recruited public outreach

Technology — a friend to embrace carefully

Paradoxically, the technologies of online and mobile device survey tools have made it easier to collect data but more challenging to collect data that constitutes a meaningful and actionable survey.

Mobile communications technology – the smart phone in particular – has made community surveys more complex and challenging. Maintaining survey validity is a major challenge. But often transit agencies must learn what the taxpaying general public, and not just the transit rider, thinks. Community surveys today are a major challenge.

For passenger surveys, technology provides new methods of interviewing by tablet that are tempting, and sometimes, but not always, more useful than traditional paper methods. There are certain benefits and there are unseen costs that can affect validity.

Surveys have always been a complex mix of art and science. CJI Research brings a rigorous, tough-minded, realistic approach to every survey. Your results, your planning, your marketing, all of the strategic decisions your agency must make, are all the better for that approach.

Contact us to discuss your research needs.