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Calgary pathway survey geared to citizens who don’t use the system

A city pathway research campaign that’s left common users out of the mix, is targeting people who are “interested with some to no experience” in using them.

Some Calgarians raised concern on Twitter Friday that the survey tweeted out by the city didn’t want to include regular pathways users.

“City is denying pathway users access to their own survey. Not interested in feedback from actual users? What’s going on here?” wrote Twitter user @BikeBikeYYC

Some users were able to answer a few questions, only to be whittled from the remaining questions. Through the online conversation, they surmised the city was looking for a select group.

That’s exactly what’s happening.

The city said they’re hoping to recruit a diverse representation of Calgarians. They’re working with immigrant, Indigenous, low income and seniors groups to cast a wider net. They’re also looking at people with different language backgrounds.

“We chose to invest in research with our target audience, rather than engagement with those who self-identify as being interested in this topic,” said Jennifer Black with the city’s transportation planning department.

“Engagement on this would lean towards those already comfortable walking and wheeling, which is not an accurate representation of who we hope this map will appeal to. We are designing it to appeal to those new to travelling by foot, bike, skateboard, scooter, etc., and we hope that in doing that it will also work better for everyone.”

Simplified mapping system

Successful recruits are provided a map and over a period of two weeks, the participant is asked to plan a route to somewhere like school, work, parks, etc. They can walk, bike, scoot or skate to the destination.

Once that’s complete, the city will send a survey for the participant to complete. They’ll be sharing their experience and thoughts about the map.

“There is an opportunity to create a simplified, more coherent map that addresses level of comfort, identifies destinations where people want to go, and aligns with modern city mapping standards,” Black said.

“The simplified map with more icons will encourage Calgarians to travel by active mode by helping them find the safest, most comfortable infrastructure to reach their destinations.”

The city is looking for 40 qualified applicants in order to have a viable sample. They have more than 70 respondents who could be qualified. Each person will be paid $50 for their time and the effort.

The city said they have provided compensation for previous projects. In this case they’re asking people to take personal time to conduct a bit of work, they said.

The city is continuing work on its 5A (Always Available for All Ages and Abilities) network. Information gathered will help provide year-round accessibility to the city’s pathway system. 

The city is hoping to update the 2017 pathways map. Right now, they are testing final versions that will go out with the survey.