Westport Transit District

Public transportation needs have changed dramatically. Westport Transit District discovered multiple opportunities and the level of financial support residents felt the town should provide.

Municipal entities usually have multiple constituencies, oftentimes with very different needs. Westport Transit provides a network of buses for low-cost transportation to the Metro North commuter train to Stamford, CT, and New York City, as well as door-to-door service for seniors and the disabled. In 2016 budget issues and diminishing ridership dictated that Westport Transit learn more about the awareness and attitudes among a wide range of citizens, including both riders and non-riders. Based on Beresford Research’s study results the WTD launched a popular billboard campaign and rolled out new a bus tracking app. By 2018 the rise of ride-sharing services, the threat of decreased state support and increased train parking had changed assumptions underlying public support of the public bus service. Westport Transit needed to revisit citizens’ awareness and attitudes regarding shuttle use and the town’s financial support. Westport Transit engaged Beresford Research to conduct both studies.

In 2016 Beresford Research worked collaboratively with the Westport Transit District, elected officials, town records, local business leaders and bus drivers to ensure a representative sample of residents and riders would participate. Utilizing traditional media, personalized email invitations, and postcards with QR codes providing instant access to an online survey, the Westport Transit District Survey uncovered multiple opportunities while educating their prime audience to try riding the bus to the train. Click here for the 2016 Study Results that were weighted to reflect the town’s demographics.

Two years later, the Westport Transit District’s 2018 Attitude and Awareness Study illuminated how perspectives had changed—including uncovering issues critical to the Transit District’s future. The study revealed attitudes and measured perceived importance of alternatives such as “microtransit” services and the level of financial support the town should provide. Beresford Research presented the results from over 1,700 surveys (again weighted) to an assembly of town officials including Westport’s Strategy, Finance and Transportation Committees, as well as elected officials. The future of WTD will be informed by measured input from Westport citizens.