Market Research Case Study

Market Research Case Study

ContRact Fare Evasion Surveys on major city rail network.
Service Fare Evasion Surveys.
Scale Two rail networks covering a major city and surrounding regions over a 6 week period.
Project Location: Overground trains in and around a major city.
CAPI agent research

The rail networks in this region are some of the busiest in the UK and whilst ticket barriers are installed at most stations fare evasion is still an area of concern for Train Operating Companies and the DfT. We were required to collect information on the validity of the tickets possessed by 70,000 passengers over a 6 week period.

Understanding how the transport network performs and how people use it is key to Transport for London (TfL) running the network safely and efficiently. The challenge for TfL is to be able to accurately predict which parts of the network people use and how often. This can only be achieved by having real data about where people join the network, how they move through it and where they finish their journey. TfL do not have the survey capability within their organisation to carry out this data capture and needed a company with the experience, expertise, technology and capacity to carry out such a large project for them. Traditional methods such as roadside interview surveys and ANPR would be too costly and impractical.

The Traffic and Data Services Division of Tracsis (as Sky High Technology at the time of the project) employs experienced fieldworkers to carry out fare evasion questionnaires on passengers who are asked to complete details of the journey they are currently making and show their tickets. BeforeTraffic and Data Services could begin the survey a concise but thorough questionnaire had to be developed for completion on PDAs. The questionnaire designed by Traffic and Data Services allowed each passenger’s details to be given a unique serial numbers along with an accurate time and date stamp taken from the PDA. The PDAs used on-site are capable of connecting to our secure server via 3G Mobile or Wi-Fi connections and this allows the data to be extracted upon the completion of each survey reducing the risk of data loss and allowing for prompt data processing and analysis.

Traffic and Data Services plan all the staffing for the project to ensure there are enough fieldworkers to allow for the very busy services and peak times. An on-going client report keeps our client up to date with the survey progress, the amount of data being collected and any issues experienced on-site.

Data capture is carried out using PDAs on-site with a database of possible answers for each question pre-loaded to minimise errors. Free-text options are also provided for relevant questions to allow surveyors to enter unusual responses easily. The data is transferred to our office based server via a web application and stored in a secure SQL database until it is required for reporting. The reporting can be completed as an Excel document with relevant reference tables and diagrams. The report from Traffic and Data Services allows our client to analyse the data for use in planning future improvements in preventing fare evasion and to verify previous results.

70,000 passengers were surveyed during the 6 week period and Traffic and Data Services have since been awarded other fare evasion surveys in other areas of the country. We plan to make a number of added value improvements to the surveys including GPS logs of the PDAs, incentives to improve completion rates further and the use of photos within surveys for result verification.

This is just one project from case studies in transport surveys and data capture sector carried out by leading international provider Traffic and Data Services.