Urban Rail Network Survey Case Study

Urban Rail Network Survey Case Study

Contact Origin and Destination Surveys for a major city rail network.
Service Passenger Origin and Destination Surveys
Scale 25 station surveys over 5 week period
Project Location: Underground stations around a major city.
Urban Rail Network

This public metro system serves one of the major commercial centres of the world together with it’s surrounding commuting region. The system serves hundreds of stations and over 400 kilometres (250 miles) of track. The network incorporates both old and new track with the complexities of operation that go with an organic growth of infrastructure.

This rail system is one of the busiest in the world and detailed data for planning is crucial to it’s strategic development. A sample of 10-15 stations need to be surveyed each year. The client doesn’t have the skills or resources to carry out the surveys and needed a specialist company with the experience and expertise to deliver the project on an annual basis. The added complication is that the layout of the stations, including passenger entrances and exits is changing due to a modernisation programme.

The Traffic and Data Services Division of Tracsis (as Sky High Technology at the time of the project) employ fieldworkers to distribute questionnaires to passengers who are asked to complete details of their journey as they travel and then return the questionnaire in a pre-paid postal envelope. Before Traffic and Data Services could start the survey work a site visit was needed to update the layout maps of the stations with a plan for the handout points. Questionnaires designed by Traffic and Data Services staff are station specific and are marked with unique serial numbers that allow time, date and origin to be recorded for 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 areas, cover for breaks and even litter picking to avoid discarded surveys creating a problem. An ongoing client report keeps our client up to date with the survey progress and the amount of data being collected.

Data capture is carried out using manual key entry from the questionnaires. Verbatim text is also entered manually. Only a postcode (zipcode) is used for origin and destination identification and sophisticated validation routines are used to check the integrity of all the inputs. The data is then converted into a detailed report for each station showing cumulative totals for each individual survey. The reporting also includes breakdowns of the survey progress, distribution rates and volume of responses. The report from Traffic and Data Services allows our client to analyse the data for use in planning future improvements to passenger services and to maintain the very high safety standards of the transport network.

25 stations were surveyed within the Urban Rail Network during October and November 2013 and Traffic and Data Services have been awarded the rolling survey contract for 3 years. We plan to make a number of added value improvements to the contracts including the use of multi-lingual surveys, incentives to improve completion rates further and the use of new technologies such as mobile tablets for some areas of data collection.