Analysis of Demographic, Socioeconomic, and Regional Difference in TDOT Customer Satisfactions Survey
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Analysis of Demographic, Socioeconomic, and Regional Difference in TDOT Customer Satisfactions Survey

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  • English

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      Final Report
    • Abstract:
      The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) has conducted three statewide residential customer surveys (2006, 2013, 2016) to aid in identifying and assessing satisfaction with transportation services. This research focused on demographic analysis of the Tennessee Department of Transportation’s previous residential survey data with the goals of: • Identifying significant differences in customer perceptions of TDOT services, both over time and between demographic groups; • Developing visualizations of spatial trends over time that identify and communicate important changes and possible connections to TDOT’s activities and investments; • Determining a best-practice approach for survey design and stakeholder engagement that will result in valuable information related to TDOT’s key areas of interest for future survey events; and • Creating a set of guidelines for future survey events that enhance the potential for information obtained to be integrated into TDOT’s decision-making process. To achieve these goals, a comprehensive analysis was conducted of the survey instruments themselves as well as response data. With each of the previous survey events, basic descriptive statistics, cross-tabular analysis of response frequencies for certain demographics, and presentation of spatial differences (by county or Super District) were provided by the contractor conducting the surveys and initial data analysis for TDOT. The current study extends this work to provide more in-depth analysis, examine differences between additional demographic groupings, and analyze trends over time. Additional spatial statistics as well as other advanced analyses are also examined for potential to enhance TDOT’s ability to extract information that is useful for strategic planning and decision-making. Finally, a comprehensive literature review and interviews of other Departments of Transportation (DOT) across the country were conducted to fully inform the development of the framework for action and recommendations for TDOT’s future survey events. Key findings from this study included that TDOT did well in keeping survey instruments consistent and in obtaining representative samples for analysis. TDOT also demonstrated significant innovation in commissioning a research study to examine the survey effort. The research determined that little variation was present in response data, which may be indicative of survey fatigue or lack of understanding of question topics. Public transportation related questions resulted in the lowest levels of satisfaction across all stakeholder types. In terms of temporal changes, ratings on interstate surface conditions declined over time across the board, urban residents indicated marked decline over time in satisfaction related to congestion questions, Region 3 had the most frequent statistically significant results for a decline in ratings over time related to congestion, and communication preferences have changed with print communication preference declining and increased preference for email and social media. When examining various stakeholder groups, differences were seen between counties of different economic statuses for congestion-oriented topics. Finally, a proof-of-concept study demonstrated the utility of Twitter data for extracting important factors influencing perceptions of transportation systems as well as indicating public sentiment. Recommendations resulting from this research include redesigning the survey to increase participation (particularly for diverse groups), adjusting the survey schedule to regular intervals to increase utility of longitudinal data, adapting practices to make a more frequent schedule feasible, and considering the most appropriate spatial distribution for the state for analysis purposes. The study also uncovered several innovative survey platforms that may create opportunities for TDOT for future survey activities, including platforms that allow participants to provide geolocations. Additionally, recommendations were developed to promote more continuous and robust conversations with Tennessee stakeholders, including development of a social media campaign designed to create a two-way conversation and to enhance data mining opportunities to inform future studies. It is expected that the results and recommendations of this study will promote more strategic and equitable investments by TDOT through a well-planned and executed survey design, data collection, and analyses process in the future.
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