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BTA survey results Part Two: Perceptions of the organization

Posted by on October 23rd, 2009 at 12:18 pm

Graph from BTA survey results.

Earlier this morning, we shared results from a survey commissioned by the Bicycle Transportation Alliance to learn more about people who ride bikes in Oregon and Southwest Washington.

A major part of that survey asked questions about people’s perceptions of the BTA. It asked whether they renewed their membership (and if not, why not), it asked what type of initiatives the BTA should focus their resources on, and even what types of words folks would use to describe their “ideal version” of the BTA.

The results to those questions weren’t initially released because the BTA thought the general public wouldn’t be interested in them. That might be true, but we’re geeky enough to be curious and thought you might be too. So, we asked the BTA to share all the survey results.

Here are some of the findings:

A Profile of BTA Members

  • Current and former BTA members say (96% and 92% respectively) they have “intermediate” or “advanced” skill levels versus 83% of nonmembers.
  • 89% of members have a 4-year college degree or higher.
  • 81% of current members have a household income above $50,000 versus 66% of nonmembers.
  • BTA members take 45% of their weekly trips by bicycle versus 39% for nonmembers.

Perceptions of the BTA

  • On a scale of 1-10, members rated the BTA’s “effectiveness as an advocacy group” a 7.9. Nonmembers rated them a 6.9.
  • Many respondents used the word “effective” to describe the BTA, but twice as many listed it as their ideal version of the organization.
  • A “much higher” percentage of respondents used the words “inclusive” and “focused” to describe their ideal version of the BTA (versus those who used those terms to describe the current BTA).

The Reasons Why People Join the BTA

  • Portland-Metro area advocacy was by far the biggest reason with 74% of respondents
  • 63% said legislation was the reason, followed by 61% who said “advocacy throughout the region”
  • About half of respondents said they joined because of the “Bicycle boulevards campaign”
  • On the bottom of the reasons giving for joining the BTA was the Alice Awards and Auction event with 7% and “Pedstrian safety education” with 17%.

What Initiatives Should the BTA Focus On?

  • Portland-Metro area advocacy was the clear winner when the survey asked people to rank a list of eight things (see graph at top of story). “Encouraging adults to ride bicycles” was a close second.
  • Surprisingly, even though Safe Routes to Schools represents a large part of the BTA’s budget and staff resources, only about 1/3 of members gave “Bicycle safety education for children” and “Encouraging children to ride bicycles” a high priority.

You can download a PDF the full survey results here (analysis of questions about the BTA begin on page 15).

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    SAG October 23, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    I would be curious to the size of members with children and how that relates to the Bike Safety education. So remember the total includes people w/o children at all and may not understand the value of Bike Safety Education.

    I think that Bike Safety education is important, particularly to developing responsible, safe riders that will improve the overall image of bike riders in our community! And furthermore the BTA does a phenominal job with BSE.

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    Mike October 23, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    You gave the reasons for not renewing, but not the #’s of those choosing to or not to renew.
    I assume that cell was chosen for a reason; are that many people choosing not to renew?

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    peejay October 23, 2009 at 4:05 pm

    I know why I chose not to renew: the BTA’s position on the CRC. And now that they’ve changed their position, I’m renewing (paperwork on my desk — I’ll get to it this weekend!), so I guess you can cross me off that first chart.

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    are October 23, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    I renewed despite my disagreement with some of their agenda, and I marked safe routes to schools as a high priority though my children are grown.

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    Jeff October 24, 2009 at 10:47 am

    I’m glad to see Bike Blvd’s, make a large statement in the survey. Most cities were designed around the automobile. Portland is doing a good job of retrofitting our current infrastructure to accommodate bicycles. They seem to be the most cost-effective way to accommodate safe bicycle use. Their the main routes that I use to get downtown. I hope the BTA can see that Bike Blvd’s are a good way to achieve bicycle-topia and stretch precious tax resources at the same time.

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    Marcus Griffith October 24, 2009 at 11:48 pm

    The report makes a pretty obvious point–former members tend to want the BTA to give some attention to areas outside of Portland and focus on Safe Routes to School, but since the BTA rather fails at that, that population left. The Bicycle Transportation alliance is quickly becoming the Portland Bike Alliance.

    The fellow statistic and research nerds on the list can check me if I seem off base, but for “why did you not renew your membership” question (p19 in report), the second highest category was ‘other’ at 32%. Now consider the high number of ‘other’, breaking the category down would have been useful and pretty standard.

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    Trish B. October 25, 2009 at 10:52 am

    I think the BTA should continue to invest resources to Safe Routes to School cause that sets the BTA for future members as those kids grow up.
    The reported income seems high, I mean, like really high. Did people inflate their incomes for the report?

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    Kt October 26, 2009 at 10:56 am

    The main reason I didn’t join the BTA is apparently, the main reason a lot of people did.

    I feel like the BTA, with their mission statement of advocating for bicycling STATEWIDE, focuses almost exclusively on avocating for bicycling within the City of Portland’s borders.

    At least, that’s generally the only advocating I’ve seen from them over the years, with very few exceptions.

    I’m not in the City of Portland, and I’d like to see this organization actually live up to its mission statement. I have no reason to join an organization that clearly does not represent me.

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    Your Friendly Yiddish Translation Service October 26, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    I put a lot of money into BTA. I have some fancy level of membership, the name of which I don’t remember.

    I will continue to support them because they are the only organization I know of which advocates for bike commuters, and that’s what I am.

    However, really, I haven’t the foggiest idea what BTA does. There seems to be no focus (ads on buses one month, a snit about the new bridge the next). Nor is there any sense of where they are going. This is annoying to me, and I think sad.

    An organization which does a good job of this kind of thing (off the top of my head) would be Or, for that matter, In the local advocacy department, I think Friends of Trees would serve as an example of a similarly funded, but more focused and clear-agenda’d organization.

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  • […] says his focus will be on Portland-area advocacy issues (a recent survey by the BTA showed that 74% of BTA members joined for “Portland-Metro area advocacy”). His top […]

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