[SURVEY OF THE MONTH] How Texas DOT is Improving Mobility and Easing Congestion with MetroQuest
The Survey of the Month series is a monthly blog where we highlight the extraordinary work our customers are doing, along with some takeaways that are relevant for anyone interested in making the most out of online engagement using MetroQuest’s survey platform! To see more in the series, visit the blogs here.
What’s the story? Seminole Relief Route
Seminole, Texas, is a major hub and a part of an important transportation corridor that connects and provides access to the area’s energy sector. Heavy use of the roads through the city by semi-trucks increase congestion and require wide roads. Furthermore, the region’s large agricultural industry contributes to additional pressures on the roadway system. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), one of MetroQuest’s most active customers, is conducting a study to improve mobility and ease congestion in Seminole. The study evaluated existing roadway, explored funding options and considered all alternative solutions, including the option to defer the project.
In addition to a virtual public meeting, they created a MetroQuest survey in both English and Spanish, discussed in detail below, to gauge community priorities and collect opinions around these options.
For more information on the project, please visit the Seminole Relief Route project website.
Anatomy of a Mobility Survey: How they used MetroQuest
The Seminole Relief Route survey starts with the Welcome Screen, as do all MetroQuest surveys, where TxDOT provides background information on the study to explain the intent of the survey and thank participants for their input.
The first interactive Screen is a Priority Ranking Screen, where participants are presented with seven priorities, namely (in random order) Protect the Environment, Support Economic Growth, Maintain the Existing Highway, Enhance Mobility, Relieve Congestion, Improve Safety, and Limit Right-of-Way Impact. Each priority is presented with an image and a short and clear “I want …” description to help participants decide what is most important to them.
The second activity is on the Project Selection Screen, presenting the three conception route options on a Google Map so that participants can visualize the options geographically. Each option is explained in more detail, including their estimated cost. Participants are asked to review the options and their location, and decide if the options in question should be a priority.
Finally, before answering a few demographic questions on the Wrap Up Screen, participants are asked to provide input on the same three options on a Scenario Rating Screen.
Here, the three options are presented as design concepts showing what a typical section design would look like conceptually. The task is to rate each on a 5-point scale. Asking for input on the same three options in two different ways is a smart way for the survey team to capture preferences for the three options from people, irrespective if they are more drawn to visual concepts or lines on a map!
If you’d like to try it out, visit the demo survey here. This version that will not collect data or affect the survey results.
5 Tips from the Seminole Relief Route Survey: Using MetroQuest to Understand Participant’s Preferences
TxDOT’s ample experience using MetroQuest for online engagement is reflected in this survey. The team make the most of built-in capabilities that help participants to recognize the importance of the study and understand the value of their contribution, while also helping the survey team to understand participants preferences and make a well-supported decision on the project. Below are 5 takeaways from their survey:
- Both the Welcome and the Wrap Up Screen have space for a project or partner logo. This survey utilizes these spaces to feature the official TxDOT logo which is great for brand recognition as well as legitimacy – participants can rest assured this is an official survey created by their DOT!
- Similarly, the colors of both the Welcome and the Wrap Up Screen are found in the TxDOT logo and many of their surveys utilize the same or similar color palette. This too is great for its recognition factor. MetroQuest allows the survey builder to completely customize the color palette to match a project or partner logo, or an official palette. This type of color branding helps trigger recognition and is great for building a brand around the agency or project. You can also choose one of our many pre-set palettes that follow best practices in terms of visibility, contrast, and appeal!
- On the Priority Ranking Screen, the survey team opted to feature seven possible priorities and asked participants to choose their three favorites. We always recommend doing exactly that – limit the number of priorities so that participants can easily digest the options, and ask participants to prioritize only a subset for better input. In this case, participants only had to pick three out of seven total. This nudges participants to decide on what is truly important to them and also keeps the task simple and fast.
- TxDOT opted to utilize the Scenario Rating Screen to present the three options’ design concepts visually and ask for input. This is a great use of the comparative nature of this Screen as it allows participants to switch back and forth to understand differences between the options so that they can make an informed choice. It’s a great way to provide a lot of context and options in a short time!
- Finally, as previously alluded to, it is an excellent idea to utilize multiple Screens to ask for input on the same topic, especially if that is the core of your study. In this case, that is the three options for the Seminole Route. This conceptually connects the two Screens but presents the options in two very different ways: spatially on a map and visually as design concepts. This allows the team to capture input on the options in complimentary ways, allowing for the most informed input from the widest possible audience.
Congratulations to the team at TxDOT for yet another well-executed survey and great engagement success!
For more great tips on how to make the most out of MetroQuest, contact your Customer Experience manager or reach out for more information!
Want to learn more about how TxDOT engages beyond public meetings? Check out our webinar:
Public Involvement – How TxDOT Engages Beyond Meetings
Input from online engagement is informing transportation decisions in Texas. Learn how TxDOT embraces innovation to successfully educate and engage residents on projects at any scale.