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Sage Shoppe Innovations, LLC facilitated eleven focus groups in April 2018 to discuss gaps people experience in the Capital Region’s transportation system. The focus was on those transit users often not represented in the transportation planning process. The focus groups positioned the experiences, positive or negative, of the transportation user-consumers as central to understanding gaps in connectivity.

Decision-making conducted “on behalf of” a given group, population sector, or constituency, assumes that leadership grants powers of autonomous, representative authority that does not require consultation or coordination with those designated as beneficiaries. Subsequently, inconsistent value is created. When resident user-consumers of the transportation system become informants to organizational and governmental decision-making, the information provided can alter the quality of service delivery and expand access to wider aggregations of the population throughout the region.

Disadvantaged transportation user-consumers may be disadvantaged due to one or more of the following factors: 1) income; 2) spatial and physical segregation; 3) conditions of aging; 4) physical impairment or disabilities; 5) new residents to the Capital District and 6) non-native English speakers. Together, focus group participants iterated, co-generated, and narrated ideas and experiences through conversational exchanges about their particular and shared transportation use experiences.

Gaps in connectivity were captured through both quantitative and qualitative data to provide a holistic composite of key statistical demographic factors that work in tandem with the narrated ones. Sage Shoppe utilized a research script that used conversational prompts as well as audience response devices to foster greater human interactivity. The project’s Executive Summary describes the sound clips selected for the full multi-media final report(219MB download), which includes the sound files and requires both Adobe Acrobat Reader and Adobe Flash Player, available to the right.

Key Conclusions

  • Absence or poor construction or design of pedestrian Infrastructure at key bus tops and in neighborhoods
  • Lack of regional identity and whole system transportation integration
  • Perception of public transportation as the realm of people who are young, poor, aging, and/or low-income
  • Bus shelters, signage, and physical or virtual information not universally available
  • Opportunities for technology and communication improvements for the STAR service
  • Younger seasonal employees and older residents in Saratoga Springs both have increased transit needs
  • Equity Task Force needs recruitment and lacks cross-municipal input and participation