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Archive for Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Doubtful data

City surveys on public transportation give city commissioners little solid information to go on.

April 2, 2008

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A couple of surveys about the Lawrence Transit System offer some anecdotal feedback on the city's bus service but they provide almost no basis for decision-making regarding the future of the T.

An onboard ridership survey collected demographic information about who is riding the bus (they are mostly young and at the low end of the income scale) and why (mostly because it is convenient or they have no other choice). However, the survey didn't conform to any scientific method. Surveys were distributed to riders by volunteers and city staff members, and a total of 537 surveys were completed. It's unclear how many surveys were handed out or even if the same person might have filled out more than one survey.

A "communitywide" survey released this week also lacked scientific credibility. The survey was mailed out with city utility bills to more than 31,000 households in Lawrence. A total of 1,314 surveys were completed, probably mostly by people who had a strong opinion - either pro or con - about the T. It certainly isn't a statistically accurate gauge of public opinion in Lawrence.

These surveys were relatively inexpensive to conduct, and the city got what it paid for: an almost worthless read on public attitudes toward the T. Lawrence city commissioners face some tough choices on funding for public transportation in years to come and the surveys released this week offer them little on which to base those decisions.

Comments

Orwell 6 years, 8 months ago

Good point. Now can we get rid of that waste of J-W newsprint/bandwidth known as "Today's Poll"?I mean, c'mon "Yesterday's winner: Not sure."

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