Open letter to the City of Toronto on the Downtown Transportation Operations Study

Date: Sat, 13 Apr 2013 13:16:52 -0400
Subject: Invalid question in the Downtown Transportation Operations Study survey
From: Ambrose LI
To: (Matt Colwill)
Cc: (Andre Filippetti)


I am writing to report that Toronto’s transportation policy is being jeopardized by poor question design in the said survey. In particular, question 6 in the said survey, namely the question “When do you typically make trips to/from/within the downtown?” is invalid for a significant number of survey respondants.

I am a student studying in the study area and I typically go downtown in one of the listed time periods, but go back uptown in a different time period, and I know my situation is normal. How are we, students, supposed to answer this question? We are essentially forced to either lie (and you get invalid data), or give up on responding to the survey (and you lose a data point).

In essence, to/during/from should either be three separate questions, or the options should be check boxes and not radio buttons.

For an important study like this, the questionnaire should be well designed. I cannot imagine how such an obvious flaw would be able to make it into the final version of the questionnaire.

Back from AFT, and the TTC related quads

Just back from a talk on the history of stained glass that was held at AFT’s North York campus—I was surprised the walk back home took just about 20–25 minutes or so. Obviously, I wouldn’t have understood everything. (Actually I doubt I would have understood everything even if the talk were in English.) But then I went there really mainly as a useful kind of distraction, or inspiration… something like that.

It’s ironic: Back when I was actually an AFT student I would never go to these talks because they would always clash with my classes. (And the one time my teacher actually decided to have the whole class go to a presentation on translation I missed class because I was too tired after returning from AIGA Pivot and fell asleep.) Now that I’m not an AFT student, I’m starting to go to these talks—at least to those that are art related.

I probably only got 50% out of the talk, maybe less, which is, I guess, a good way to remind me that language is a real barrier. But I would really be skeptical if someone went to me and told me that a machine of some sort would solve this language problem.

But the other thing, too, was about my being 10 minutes late. As it turned out, since my walk back home only took 20–25 minutes, my walk there should also have taken just 20–25 minutes, which means that had I not trusted in TTC’s NVAS system, I would probably have gotten there on time. The NVAS, essentially, is worse than useless. GPS can’t solve reliability issues. No one is working on those NVAS related quads, but this means that if anyone actually worked on those quads the final design artefact would be pretty much just as useless as NVAS itself…

Syndicate content