Case Study in Transportation


MBTA wanted to understand why people rode the transit system and who their customers are, including: rider profiles/ segmentation/ demographics/ behavior/frequency.

The objective was to collect data on: what is the most important usage driver by segment, including: service characteristics and external considerations such as environment, regional benefit, economic drivers, and livability.

Furthermore the study’s goal was to understand: What additional facets of public transportation are important to customers? Including but not limited to: security/cameras/lighting/cleanliness/safety.


Phase I: Focus Groups

SIS conducted focus groups to  deliver insight into the commuters and non commuters (or infrequent commuters).


  • N= 4  Focus Groups
  • Recruit 10 with 8 to show
  • Total Sample Size N= 32-40
  • Length of Interview: 90 Minutes

Target Respondents: Commuters, Infrequent Commuters, Non-Commuters, mixed with disabilities and different ethnicities

Opened Discussion

Phase II: Face to Face Intercepts Survey 


SIS took the learning from the qualitative research and developed a quantitative customer satisfaction survey instrument to administer to a larger population of commuters in the Boston metro and surrounding areas.

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