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«Open Streets Initiatives: Measuring Success J. Aaron Hipp, PhD & Amy Eyler, PhD, CHES Acknowledgements Special thanks to: Chris Casey, MPH, Jill ...»

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Open Streets Initiatives:

Measuring Success

J. Aaron Hipp, PhD & Amy Eyler, PhD, CHES


Special thanks to:

Chris Casey, MPH, Jill Kuhlberg, MSW, Julie Lokuta, BA, Genevieve Cheng, MPH,

Rachel Smidt, BA, Ben Glosenger, BA, Susan Zieff, PhD, Jordan Carlson, PhD, Mike

Samuelson, Olga Lucia Sarmiento, PhD, Patrick Brown, Rhonda Smythe, Dana Gray,

OpenStreetsProject.org, Ferguson Bicycle Shop, City of St. Louis, and the

organizations featured here:

Grant Information:

‘Supporting development and evaluation of strategies to increase participation of youths and families in St. Louis Open Streets events.’ Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Active Living Research Program #68899. 2011-2013.

Contact information:

e: ahipp@wustl.edu   p: (314) 935-3868

Available online here:

www.prcstl.wustl.edu www.activelivingresearch.org www.OpenStreetsProject.org © Copyright 2014 i Introduction Open Streets/Ciclovías are multi-faceted programs that promote the use of public streets for recreation and leisure-time activities. Ciclovías originated in Bogota, Colombia, over 30 years ago, and have been rapidly spreading to other regions of the world with the largest expansion to the United States. As of 2013, over 90 cities have hosted Open Streets initiatives in the U.S.

A review of 47 Open Streets initiatives in 2011 found events ranging in distance from a couple blocks to eight miles and attendance estimates of 250 to 100,000 people per event.

The reviewed host cities ranged in size from New York City with over 8 million residents to Cornwall, NY, with 12,000 residents. Only seven Open Streets initiatives included a formal evaluation mechanism in 2011, making cross-city comparisons, the sharing of lessons learned and challenges, and external validation of evaluations difficult. The seven iniatives with an evaluation component measured several health and economic-related outcomes, including physical activity, quality of life, social interactions, money spent at events, and business community buy-in.

Between 2011 and 2013, the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis and the Prevention Research Center in St. Louis were funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Active Living Research Program to evaluate the St. Louis Open Streets initiative.

The following measuring success toolkit is a culmination of this work. The purpose of this document is to provide guidance and resources for Open Streets organizers who would like to measure the success of their event. We would like to acknowledge the assistance of several groups in developing this toolkit. Thank you to Trailnet, City of St. Louis, Southwest Garden Neighborhood Association, St. Louis Open Streets, Live Well Ferguson, Ferguson Sunday Parkways, Great Rivers Greenway, Open Streets Project, and Susan Zieff of San Francisco State University.

ii Why Measure the Success of Open Streets ?  Effective program evaluation, or measurement of success, is a systematic way to improve and account for public health actions, involving procedures that are useful, feasible, ethical, and accurate (CDC, 2012). Effective evaluation includes collecting data in a systematic way to inform program success. The main goal of measuring the success of an Open Streets initiative is to identify its strengths and weaknesses so that this information can be used to tailor and improve future events.

Additionally, program evaluation of Open Streets can (from Ciclovía, 2010):

–  –  –

Start SMART Effective evaluation starts with defining what it is you want to achieve by hosting the event.

Establishing objectives in the beginning gives organizers a way to look back after the event to measure success. There is an art and science to writing good obejctives.

The CDC specifies that program objectives should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and

Time bound (SMART). Examples of objectives related to an Open Streets initiative would be:

At least one advocacy group, one city representative, one local business, and one community  representative will be engaged in planning the Open Streets.

At least 5000 people will attend the first Open Streets event measured by observation.

 At the end of the first Open Streets event, at least 200 people will report increasing their  awareness of active transportation opportunities.

After the event, these could easily be identified as being achieved or not. The benefit of well-written objectives is that they can be used to tailor communications about the success of the event to important stakeholders.  Tips to Make Your Event A Success!  Planning Engage stakeholders from different backgrounds such as Business, Non-Profit, Government, Public Health, Transportation, Biking/Pedestrian Agencies, & Community.

Work with people who can help spread your message. Consider large groups like YMCA, Boys/Girls Club, and media sponsors.

Give ownership of the route to local stakeholders by letting local groups plan supporting activities.

Cultivate support within the local decision makers who can say “yes” such as politicians and high level department staff.

Get to know those who can say “no” to initiative specifics such as police, business leaders, or traffic engineers.

Promoting Promote your event by having stakeholders attend other Open Streets initiatives in near-by cities or neighborhoods. This helps them understand that it is not just another street fair but something really unique.

Be sure to “brand” your initiative and use this when advertising.

Tailor your messaging to the audience to make it more meaningful.

Promote the initiative by using messengers who have a relationship with the people they are speaking with.

Make sure that local businesses know that the streets along the routes are theirs to use and encourage them to engage with participants while promoting their business.

Sustaining It is never too early to reach out to potential stakeholders. Gaining support sometimes takes longer than we think.

Maintain contact lists of leaders and community members who have supported Open Streets in the past.

Build on the momentum of Open Streets and encourage people to try biking and walking for everyday use.

Keep in touch with community gatekeepers even after Open Streets occurs.

Feedback is Important  61% of Open Streets organizers utilize qualitative data as an evaluation tool. Testimonials, reactions during and after an event, e-mails, and blog responses help organizers determine level of success.

Feedback from organizers:

–  –  –

The Impact of Feedback  Open Streets organizers reformat findings into fact sheets, presentations, journal publications, press releases, and grant applications to garner support for future events.

“We send the report out to all of the elected officials and all of the department directors and it shows: Here’s how many people we touched, here's some of the key highlights, these are some of the partnerships that we've formed.” “We use it in the grant applications that we're writing to other potential and corporate sponsors.” “Then we take that report and we turn it into our sponsorship request, and we've developed a couple of different levels, and that's what we use to start making … to ask for the next year's funding.” Open Streets: Measuring Success What’s Inside...

Communication and Reach ……………………………………………….. Page 7

Look here to answer questions like:

- Is our communication and marketing campaign working?

- Are neighbors participating in today’s event?

- How far (and via what mode) are people traveling to participate in Open Streets?

Activity Hubs …………………………………………………………………. Page 11

Look here to answer questions like:

- What activities are participants interested in?

Participant Counts ………………………………………………………….. Page 17

Look here to answer questions like:

- How many people were here?

–  –  –

- Did the participants match the diversity of our city?

Activity Level and Type………………………………………………….... Page 27

Look here to answer questions like:

- What were participants doing? Biking, walking, activity hubs?

- How long were people physically active at Open Streets?

Cost-Benefit and Local Business Evaluation ……………………… Page 35

Look here to answer questions like:

- Did people spend money at the initiative?

- Did people learn about new stores and restaurants?

- Was the business community satisfied?

Communication and Reach What does it measure?

Measures of communication and reach show how participants heard about Open Streets and where they live in relation to the event.

A example communication tool for Open Streets participants.

Why measure it?

Data from these measures shows the broad reach that Open Streets has on the host neighborhoods and the surrounding area. This information points out the best promotional strategies and can be used to plan media for future events. One method of evaluating communication and reach is the use of interactive posters. A poster-size map of the Open Streets and surrounding area allows participants to place a sticker on their home zipcode. This is a quick and easy way to assess where people travel from to attend the event and how they heard about the event. Since most Open Streets events are geared toward families and children, and kids love stickers, it is a fun and interactive way to collect data.

–  –  –

How do I measure it?

Supplies needed:

Preferred: ArcGIS or other mapping software; Alternatives: Google Maps or http://zipmaps.net Reach Poster: ZIP codes in city of initiative, with initiative location clearly demarcated on the map Communication Poster: different communication and marketing methods utilized by the event organizers and other possible means by which participants learned of the event Small stickers such as dots or stars Poster stands or volunteers willing and able to hold posters (with solid backing) and reach or call out to folks as they cycle and walk by

–  –  –

Making Interactive Posters Work Communication Poster

1. To make the Communication Poster, select promotion strategies that will be assessed on the Communication Poster. Using the template provided on this website, fill in the blanks with the main communication, marketing, social media, and advertising strategies that were used to promote the Open Streets event (see example on p. 8). This list of strategies might differ for each individual event within the same city. For instance, in St. Louis, the following are examples of strategies listed on the poster: Facebook, Twitter, friend or co-worker, school, faith-based organization, Riverfront Times, St. Louis American, neighborhood association, flier or poster. Always include an “other” catgeory!

2. To make the Reach Poster, make a list of the ZIP codes in the area surrounding Open Streets. Estimate the expected travel distance of participants (e.g. a radius of approximately 15 miles around the event location). After the ZIP codes list is made, create a map that clearly defines ZIP code boundaries, ZIP code labels, major roads and greenspaces, and lines that represent the route of the Open Streets event (see example on p.

8). You can use ArcGIS, Google Maps, or a similar mapping software to do this.

3. Print and mount final posters. Enlarge and print both of the posters. A poster size of 4’ x 3’ is recommended for the posters. Mount each of the posters on a thick and sturdy poster board.

4. Collect data on Open Streets event day. Set up the posters side-by-side at a hub centrally located within the event route. Staff members or volunteers will approach as many event participants that pass the posters as possible. Each event participant will be asked to use a sticker to locate their home ZIP code and put a sticker on the poster section that shows how they heard about the event.

5. Putting it all together. Count the number of stickers in each ZIP code and communication strategy, and enter them into a spreadsheet. These counts can be used to show community leaders, be compared to previous events and help with future communication and reach strategies.   Making Interactive Posters Work Other Ideas Instead of posters, another fun way to collect data is to ask participants to make a selection by either taking an item or adding an item. For example, you can have 200 marbles and ask Open Street visitors to take a marble and place it in the decorated coffee can representing their favorite activity. You can also have a can for each activity pre-filled with 100 bouncy balls and have participants take them OUT as their selection. Subtract the remainder left after an event from the number you started with to get the number of participants selecting that activity or communication.

–  –  –

Two examples of interactive posters used during the CicloSDias Open Streets initiative in San Diego.   Activity Hubs Why Measure it?

Most Open Streets initiatives are not open streets alone; they also consist of related healthy activities, music, dancing, and food. Specific examples include basketball shooting contests, yoga and Zumba® lessons, guided walking and cycling tours, bounce houses, health literacy information, etc. Our team has termed these related, healthy opportunities, “Activity Hubs.” Many Open Streets host or sponsor a few to dozens of such opportunities. A successful activity hub will differ depending on type, but in general success would be people participating and enjoying themselves.

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