Bus Livability Grant: The Bus Stop Amenity Survey and Love Your Bus Stop Outreach Campaign

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1 Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Bus Livability Grant: The Amenity Survey and Love Your Outreach Campaign Riders Advisory Council February 12,

2 Background WMATA received a $1.875 million federal bus livability grant to make improvements to bus stops around the region. WMATA built a Amenity Survey to: Understand the public s preferences for bus stop features; and Help prioritize spending under the grant. WMATA launched the Love Your Outreach Campaign to: Inform existing and potential bus riders about the grant and survey; Create a light-hearted and positive brand around the survey; Encourage riders to take the survey in-person or privately online; and Reach minority, low-income, and Limited English Proficiency populations who might otherwise not have their voices heard. 2

3 Amenity Survey - Design The following principles guided development of the survey: Compatibility with Qualtrics survey software; Compliance with Title VI guidance; Ability of riders and potential riders with limited literacy to take the survey; No requirement of any technical knowledge of bus stop design to be able to understand the bus stop features; No longer than 3-5 minutes to complete; and A positive focus (e.g., what would you like? versus what don t you have? ). 3

4 Amenity Survey - Administration Survey was available online in seven languages through a link on the Love Your Bus Stop homepage: wmata.com/loveyourbusstop Survey was administered at events using handheld tablet computers - Bilingual staff members conducted the survey and attracted passersby to participate. 4

5 Outreach Campaign Methodology Elements of the Love Your Campaign Press Release Radio PSAs WMATA Website Social Media Bus advertising Community Based Organizations Local government partners Media Strategy Regional Partnerships Transit Centers Special Events Residential Communities Shopping Centers Busy Pop Up Event Locations Engaging Activities and Pop Up Events Tablet based Survey Giveaways Fun activity Children's Activities Radio station participation 5

6 Media Strategy Social Media Twitter Facebook Print Media Postcards Interior Bus cards Radio Public Service Announcements and street teams WPGC 95.5 El Zol Websites Love Your homepage Metro & Metrobus homepage PlanItMetro Blog Community and other agency websites 6

7 Regional Partnerships Regional Task Force ART, DASH, Ride On, Circulator, CMRT, The Bus, Fairfax Connector Community Based Organizations (CBOs) 300 dual language (English/Spanish) postcards were delivered to 17 CBOs; 7 in DC, 5 in Maryland, and 5 in Virginia. 7

8 Outreach Pop-Up Events Location/Event Event Type Jurisdiction/Neighborhood Date/Time of Event Survey Completes Hispanic Festival Special Event Prince George s County (Lane Manor Park) Sun. 9/15/ pm-6pm Fort Totten Station Metro Station District of Columbia (NE) Thur. 9/26/2013 4pm-6pm Southwest Arts Festival Special Event District of Columbia (SW) Sat. 9/28/2013 9am 6pm Prince George s Plaza Station Metro Station Prince George s County (Hyattsville) Tue. 10/8/2013 4pm-6pm Southern Towers Neighborhood Location Northern Virginia (Alexandria) Tue. 10/15/2013 4pm-6pm Minnesota Avenue Station Metro Station District of Columbia (NE) Wed. 10/16/2013 3pm-5pm New Carrollton Station Metro Station Prince George s County (New Carrollton) Thur. 10/17/13 4pm-6pm Wheaton Metro Metro Station Montgomery County (Wheaton) Mon. 10/21/2013 4pm-6pm Anacostia Station Metro Station District of Columbia (SE) Tue. 10/22/2013 3pm-5pm Annandale Fall Festival Special Event Northern Virginia (Annandale) Sat. 10/26/ am-5pm Shirlington Station Transit Center Northern Virginia (Arlington) Tue. 10/29/2013 4pm-6pm Seven Corners Transit Center Transit Center Northern Virginia (Fairfax County) Sat. 11/2/2013 1pm-3pm

9 Demographics of Survey Respondents 2,767 valid completed surveys 52 percent (1,439) of respondents identified themselves as minorities 20 percent (553) identified as Hispanic 40 percent (1,107) identified as African American 4 percent (110) of respondents identified themselves as Limited English Proficient 35 (968) percent of respondents identified themselves as low-income 76 percent (2,091) of surveys completed at pop-up events; 24 percent (676) completed online 9

10 Rated Importance Results by Jurisdiction, Amenity Groups There were 5 amenity groups that respondents were asked to rate on a scale of 1 to 5 based on importance. The results are ordered by highest to lowest rating of each amenity group. District of Columbia Prince George s County Montgomery County Fairfax County Arlington County City of Alexandria Survey 1, Respondents 1 st Transit Transit Transit Access to Transit Transit 2 nd Safety and Security Safety and Security Access to Bus Stop Transit Access to Access to 3 rd Waiting Area Features Waiting Area Features Waiting Area Features Safety and Security Waiting Area Features Safety and Security 4 th Access to Cleanliness Safety and Security Waiting Area Features Safety and Security Waiting Area Features 5 th Cleanliness Access to Cleanliness Cleanliness Cleanliness Cleanliness 10

11 Amenity Group Observations Access to s is of high importance to residents of Virginia jurisdictions and Montgomery County this is further reflected in their specific stop amenity ratings. Transit information ranked 1 st or 2 nd in all jurisdictions. Safety and Security rank highest in the District of Columbia and Prince George s County. Wait Area features ranked in the middle to low end of importance. 11

12 Specific Amenities Respondents were asked to rate individual amenities, there were 18 that could be rated: Real Time Schedule & Route Info Local Area Map Metrobus System Map Resting Wall Paved Waiting Area Bench Curb Ramp Removal of Items Blocking Access Connecting Sidewalks Crosswalks Bike Racks Public Art Newspaper Boxes Trash/ Recycling Cans Offset from the Curb Lighting Security Cameras 12

13 Results by Jurisdiction, Specific Amenities Rated Importance District of Columbia The top five out of 18 amenities Prince George s County Montgomery County Fairfax County Arlington County City of Alexandria 1 st Real Time Real Time Schedule & Route Info Schedule & Route Info Real Time Schedule & Route Info 2 nd Lighting Lighting Paved Area Lighting Schedule & Route Info Metrobus System Map 3 rd Schedule & Route Info Schedule & Route Info Crosswalks Real Time Lighting Lighting 4 th Trash/ Recycling Cans Security Cameras Lighting Crosswalks Connecting Sidewalks Real Time 5 th Metrobus System Map Trash/ Recycling Cans Bench Connecting Sidewalks Crosswalks Removal of Items Blocking Access13

14 Specific Amenity Observations Across all jurisdictions the lowest rated amenities were newspaper boxes, public art, and bike racks. Lighting and Schedule and Route appear in every jurisdiction s top-5 amenities. The District of Columbia and Prince George s County were the only two jurisdictions to rate trash cans as a top-5 amenity. The types of transit information that were rated the highest were Schedule/Route Info and Real Time 14

15 Outreach Lessons Learned BRAND IMAGE: The light-hearted and quirky Love Your brand streamlined the marketing of the Bus Livability Project and attracted survey participants at outreach events. MEETING FORMAT: The pop-up event approach was a successful model for reaching under-served populations. SURVEY TOOL: The survey design and associated reward opportunity played an important role in incentivizing public participation. STAFFING: Hiring diverse and multilingual staff experienced in public outreach ensures that WMATA is seen as accessible and approachable. PARTNERSHIPS: Partnering with radio media outlets, existing community events, other transit agencies, and community based organizations raised public awareness about the campaign. 15

16 Next Steps WMATA will consider: User preference information based off of the bus stop amenity survey; Guidelines on Design and Placement of s (which include guidelines on the number of boardings at a stop that warrant varying amenities); Data on current ridership and boardings; and on existing amenities available at stops. Metrobus Planning, Scheduling and Customer Facilities plans to work with jurisdictions on a combination of projects focusing on: Customer (both real time and static) and; Bus stop access. 16

17 Questions? Aaron Overman WMATA Office of Bus Planning, Scheduling and Customer Facilities Lora Byala Foursquare ITP 17

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