Nov 23, 2015

Almada improvises toward target

Canvassing at markets boosted campaign’s success

Persistence and improvisation were needed in Almada, with the local SmartMove partner going door-to-door and then to public events to recruit participants in its active mobility consultancy (AMC).

Almada partner AGENEAL started its AMC campaign in the spring by sending out announcements to 1,000 households in Sobreda, a parish of the town of Almada just across the Tagus River from Lisbon. Canvassers then went out door-to-door to administer a mobility questionnaire, but many of households declined to take part, even after four or five tries. This initial effort netted 319 participating households, well short of the target of 500.

AGENEAL then went off-script by sending canvassers to two Saturday markets. They administered questionnaires to 100 people, bringing the total number of participating households to 419 (comprising a total of 980 residents aged 15-64).

Almada’s campaign also included some active measures to raise awareness about public transport. A “Trips for Trash” promotion during European Mobility Week 2015 offered people free public transport tickets in exchange for recyclable refuse. In total, 366 participants received 1,100 tickets from the Fertagus rail operator.

AGENEAL believes the most successful canvassing tactic was the door-to-door approach, with the announcement letter sent beforehand. This “increased the response rate to levels that would not be achieved with a telephone or postal contact,” noted AGENEAL’s Pedro Gomez.

However, this work took more time than expected and, as a result, AGENEAL hasn’t been able to carry out all of its originally envisioned active measures.

As in other SmartMove campaigns, Almada’s AMC included the offer of various information materials. In Almada, the most requested materials were those giving general information about passenger fares for the Fertagus rail service at the local Pragal station, and also integrated timetables between the Fertagus rail service and the SulFertagus feeder system.

Almada’s future steps will include the distribution of materials ordered by the AMC’s participants, further public transport promotion activities in Sobreda, and finally an ex-post survey to evaluate the AMC’s impact on public transport patronage.

Ed note: Photo shows the “Trips for Trash” event in the European Mobility Week 2015 event