Lunching and Learning from Visual Surveys

Ranjit and Peter were joined by Ian Sacs, Director of Transportation and Parking at the City of Hoboken, for a presentation at Princeton Public Library last Friday. The event was organized by Greater Mercer TMA, the transportation management association for Mercer, Monmouth, and southern Middlesex counties, as part of bike month.

Ranjit Presenting
Ranjit started the session by leading the 35 participants through a Visual Preference Survey of walking and bicycling conditions for the Princeton area. This visioning technique, developed by Anton Nelessen of Rutgers University, presents a series of images that the audience rates for suitability or appropriateness for their town on a negative to positive scale. The results, in aggregate, paint a picture of the acceptability of different types of land use and transportation environments for the community. We’d like to say thank you to Professor Nelessen for meeting with us and helping us adapt this technique for transportation environments. Also, thank you to Rutgers graduate planning student Andrew Lappitt for helping us create the Visual Preference Survey presentation.
VPS Sample Slide
We’ll be analyzing the results of the survey for GMTMA, to give them a clearer picture of the needs and interests of the Princeton community when it comes to walking and biking facilities. Of course, we’ll also report the results here. We think the Visual Preference Survey, when embedded within a larger community outreach process, has the potential to be a powerful, intuitive, and efficient technique for soliciting a shared vision in transportation planning projects, and we look forward to using it again.
After the survey, the audience watched our film about transportation issues in Hoboken, then Director Sacs and Ranjit answered questions from the audience. As always, Ian impressed with his ability to have a well-reasoned answer for everything. For example, when questioned about the appropriateness of sidewalk riding (it is prohibited in downtown Princeton) Ian explained that Hoboken permits sidewalk riding at walking speed because the many one-way streets in Hoboken would otherwise lead to wrong-way riding, plus it allows parents to ride with their children who aren’t ready for the street. The “walking speed” provision makes it easy for police officers to enforce, and curb reckless riding.
Thanks again to the GMTMA for inviting us to present, and organizing the room, announcements, and delicious food donated by Witherspoon Bread Company. We hope we can work together again soon!

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