About the study
What is this survey all about?
We want to learn about how, when, where, and why people travel on the region’s buses and trains. We also want to understand who takes transit, so that we can make sure our transit survey works in an equitable way for everyone who uses it. Your responses will us plan improvements to the region’s transit system.
Why should I participate?
Your participation makes sure that people like you are represented in our regional transit plans. Your input has a big impact because only a limited number of people participate in the survey.
Why are you conducting this study now?
Onboard transit passenger studies are typically fielded every five years. The last survey the Met Council conducted was in 2016. Since that time, transit service and individual travel patterns have changed, bus rapid transit service like the METRO A and C lines have expanded, and some bus routes have been streamlined. At the same time, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed who rides transit, and how often. The people on-board transit now are some of our most important riders.
Who is conducting the study?
The Metropolitan Council hired a consultant to conduct the survey. The individuals administering the surveys on board buses and trains are contracted employees. Met Council receives transportation planning funds from the federal government, which are being used to pay for the survey.
How will my data be used?
Published reports will summarize the survey data. but will not disclose personally identifiable information (for example, home addresses).
Will I have access to the data or the final findings?
A summary report will be available when the study is complete in 2022.
Is the data shared with or sold to anyone other than Met Council?
Your personal information will never be disclosed. Transportation researchers may use an anonymized version of the data to conduct their own research.
How do I know that my personal information is safe?
We are committed to protecting the confidentiality, integrity, and security of your personal information. We take this responsibility seriously. We will not disclose or share personal information we collect from you except as required by law. Met Council and the survey consultant are required to protect the confidentiality of personally identifiable information. Key provisions include storing that information on secure computers, protecting it from unauthorized use, and destroying it after an agreed-upon time.
How to participate
How do I take the survey?
There are two different surveys: on-to-off counts and origin destination surveys.
On buses, survey staff will provide you with a card when you board and ask you to hold onto the card until you exit the bus. Before exiting, please return your card to the surveyor located in the back of the bus. On trains and bus rapid transit services, survey staff will ask you which stations you use to board and exit your bus or train.
Survey staff with tablet computers will select passengers at random to take the survey, then guide participants through the questionnaire on the tablet. Paper surveys will be available in case of issues with tablets, or if the survey is being conducted on a commuter bus.
How long will it take to complete the survey?
On-to-off counts should take less than one minute to complete. The full origin-destination interview will take five to seven minutes to complete. You can complete the entire survey on the bus or train, or complete the survey using a phone interview when you get home.
Why do you need to ask about personal information like income? What does that have to do with how I use transit?
Met Council is required to collect specific demographic data about passengers — including race, household income, and language proficiency — in order to comply with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This information is submitted to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) about every five years.
Beyond the data requirements, understanding what kind of people use the transit system can help planners make sure that the transit system is equitable and effectively meets the region’s needs. These data can also help build future forecasts about how the transit system might look like the region grows.
What if I am asked to participate in the survey more than once?
If you are selected more than once, we would appreciate your participation every time you are selected.
How will I know that the interviewer is legitimate?
Official survey staff members wear a uniform with a blue vest and an official surveyor badge. They carry tablet computers and will never ask you for information like your social security number or bank account information.
What if I have a complaint or a concern about a specific surveyor?
Please note what the surveyor looks like and email the Met Council contact below. Please include all relevant information like the date, time, and/or location of the encounter as well as the reason for concern so that the matter can be investigated.
Is the survey available online?
No. Since the survey is specific to the transit trip in progress, only passengers who are on transit during the survey period may be selected for interviews.
Are people who have a disability included in the survey?
Yes. Anyone riding transit can be randomly selected to participate. Surveyors may assist passengers who have a disability to complete the survey or provide the option to complete it later by phone.
Are children included in the survey?
Yes. Anyone riding transit can be randomly selected to participate. Surveyors may rely on adults accompanying children to complete questions about the child’s travel.
Is the survey available in other languages?
Yes. Bilingual staff will be available on transit where they are most likely to be needed. Additionally, passengers speaking other languages may choose to complete the survey later by phone in their own language.
Who can I contact to get more information on the study?
Ashley Asmus, project manager