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Characterizing Audience and Traffic Flow



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Characterizing Audience and Traffic Flow at Rincon Park and Brannan Street Joyce Ma May 2005 Keywords research environment observation outside demographics traffic flow 1 traffic pattern audience research Outdoor Exploratorium Characterizing Audience and Traffic Flow at Rincon Park and Brannan Street Joyce Ma May 2005 PURPOSE Brannan Street Wharf is one of the potential sites being considered by the Exploratorium to permanently locate some of its Outdoor Exploratorium exhibit collection The Port of San Francisco is developing this site as one in its series of parks that line the Embarcadero by the Bay and is interested in having Exploratorium exhibits at this park to give it its unique character distinct from the other parks along the Embarcadero Construction of Brannan Street Wharf will begin in late 2005 and will not be completed until late 2007 Once built they hope that it will be used by the surrounding community as well as by passer bys and eventually passengers who disembark from the cruise ships docked at a nearby terminal It is unclear when the nearby high rises will be completed and when the residential characteristics of the place will change although a community review board has been formed to advise the design and development of Brannan Street Wharf The Port and other organizations are still in negotiation for permission and funding for a cruise terminal in the area During construction the Outdoor Exploratorium team will need a place to prototype its exhibits which includes collecting visitor feedback We therefore need to find a surrogate that is a close approximation to the physical conditions at the future Brannan Street site Rincon Park another one of the Port s parks along the Bay seems to be an ideal candidate located just half a mile northwest along the Embarcadero See the map in Figure 1 2 Figure 1 Map of Brannan Street and Rincon Park However for Rincon Park to be a good substitute we also need to determine if the people who come to Rincon and whom we would be observing and interviewing as part of formative evaluation are similar to the people who currently frequent Brannan Street In addition we need to characterize the traffic flow at Rincon Park to identify the best times and places to do formative evaluation at this site 3 This observational study was conducted to characterize the people who frequent the Brannan Street Wharf area who will make up a part of the visitor audience for our exhibits Although there will eventually be additions to this visitor group from the residential high rises and possibly the cruise terminal we believe that the people who currently frequent Brannan Street will continue to do so once the Wharf is built characterize the people who frequent Rincon Park who will be giving us feedback on our exhibits before Brannan Street Wharf is completed compare groups of passer bys at Brannan Street and Rincon Park to determine if there are any groups that are not represented at Rincon but are at Brannan Street If there is then we would need to find another way of soliciting feedback from this subgroup identify the best times to do formative evaluation and the best spots to place our exhibits to maximize visitation to our prototypes while at Rincon Park We looked for these categories of visitors in this study Age Group Type of Group more specifically if they were in a multi generational peer adult individual adult group Activity including walking running sitting etc These dimensions were chosen because they can be determined through observation as opposed to interview and may impact how we develop our exhibits METHOD We collected data at both Brannan Street and Rincon Park at the same times One evaluator sat and observed at Brannan Street while her counterpart observed at Rincon Park At Brannan Street the evaluator drew an imaginary line from the street to where she was sitting and took notes on every third person who crossed that imaginary line At Rincon Park the procedure was more complicated because the evaluator had to observe a plaza See Figure 2 This required that she watch 4 imaginary lines that together cover the plaza She observed every third person who crossed any one of those lines unless that person was already observed previously 4 Each evaluator noted the individual s Age Group under 8 years child teenager adult senior Type of Group they were traveling with multi generational peer individual We did not observe any child or teenager along or with just their peers Gender male or female Activity they were engaged in walking running biking rollerblading being carried by an adult or in a stroller other Direction of travel For Brannan Street the evaluator noted if the person was coming from the southeast or from the northwest The evaluator at Rincon Park noted where the person entered and exited the plaza indicated by the circled letters in Figure 2 She also guessed at the person s race but this proved too difficult and the data were never analyzed Finally the evaluator took notes on whether or not the individual had Giants paraphernalia during game day which may indicate that s he is attending the Giants ballgame scheduled for that day When possible1 she also made observations that she thought were interesting to note e g whether or not the individual was using an electronic device like a walkman or a cell phone was carrying shopping bags likely to or from the Farmer s Market or was dressed in business attire 1 At Rincon Park the evaluator would walk around the park once an hour and note where people were had stopped for example where people were sitting lying down or simply standing still She only noted people who were stationary when she passed them These data would give us an idea of where people tend to spend more time and complement our data on passer bys Sometimes the traffic was so busy that we would opt to forego these more miscellaneous observations 5 Figure 2 Map of Rincon Park We collected data during these times to cover the various conditions that can impact traffic flow and audience Day Date Times Notes 8 30am 11 30am Friday April 29 2005 12 00pm 5 30pm No ballgame at nearby SBC Park 6 00pm 7 30pm Friday Saturday May 6 2005 May 7 2005 5 00pm 7 30pm Night game at SBC Park starting at 7 15pm 9 00am 11 30am Farmer s Market 8am 2pm 12 00pm 5 30pm Day game at SBC Park starting at 1 05pm 6 00pm 7 30pm RESULTS Brannan Street The people at Brannan Street Total number of people observed 4 29 2005 no ballgame 5 6 2005 ballgame at


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