This is the third in a series of posts entitled "Research, Research, Research" about the Arlington County Commuter Services (ACCS) Program for Research and Evaluation. First post, Getting Started. Second post, ACCS TDM Research Center Now on the Web.
About two years ago, ACCS began work on a research plan and program to evaluate the impacts of transportation and ACCS services on Arlington residents, workers and visitors - and to understand our customers and their needs better. The bottom line is to improve transportation services provided by Arlington County.
It began with a plan to determine the best methodologies to document the impacts of our services, to evaluate what is most effective with an eye toward improving (or eliminating) services, and to assess and improve our customer service in all areas of our operations. We hired two of the leading firms in the transportation research industry, Southeastern Institute of Research (SIR) of Richmond, Virginia, and LDA Consulting of Washington, DC. The resulting three year program of research planning and surveys is considered to be one of the most innovative and comprehensive research programs in the industry.
Most importantly, the results are showing that Arlington's transportation facilities and services are working, and they are paying big dividends in our quality of life and business climate. For example:
- CEOs in Arlington cite Arlington's transportation system and services as the NUMBER ONE reason for locating a business in the county.
- Arlington employers say commuting services (Such as provided by ACCS) result in significant benefits to their business, including improved employee morale, easier recruitment and retention, increased productivity, and less parking demand.
- The quality of Arlington's transportation system and services has a direct correlation to residents' perception of their overall quality of life.
- One in five Arlington residents used a services of ACCS in 2006; and, of those, 40% took action to change their travel.
- Twice the percentage of Arlington residents take mass transit to work as compared to the Washington regional average.
The Research and Evaluation Plan completed in October 2006 recommended a series of studies of different customer who are served by ACCS, including fielding new surveys and drawing upon existing research by others, such as the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. These studies include:
- Surveys of Arlington residents, via telephone and Internet
- An Online survey of Arlington Transportation Partners' employer clients and residential property manager clients
- A survey of Arlington Business Leaders
- CommuterStore customer surveys
- CommuterPage.com customer surveys
- CommuterDirect.com customer surveys (in progress)
- Commercial property surveys, including building property managers, employers, and employees (in progress)
- Customers of Arlington Transit
As they are completed, results of these studies are now being made available for easy use by everyone at our Arlington County Transportation Demand Management Research Center on the Web at www.CommuterPage.com/research. Here you will find nearly 40 studies that can be searched easily by year, topic, or keywords. We provide brief summaries as well as full reports. There are also various "Knowledge Papers" interpreting what we have learned into valuable synopses of Arlington's transportation program and its effect on people and businesses in the community.
In future posts we will share key results of many of these studies that are of general interest. If you want to learn more about how transportation affects your community, visit our Research Center or stay tuned as we roll out some "Cool Facts" about transportation in Arlington.
Posted by Howard Jennings, a Metrorail commuter and Manager of Research and Development with Arlington Transportation Partners.