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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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Activity Hubs are an important aspect of Open Streets as they draw people to the initiative, provide additional healthy activities, and engage participants in fun ways. Activity hubs are important to measure and have a record of the types of activities and participants’ reactions.

Do hubs provide giveaways (e.g. reusable grocery bags, frisbees, pedometers), promote other activities (e.g. yoga classes at their studio), or hand out health information (e.g. healthy recipes)?

Such information can be used to promote future Open Streets and market Open Streets to a larger audience.

Activity Hubs can also be used to help the “flow” of Open Streets by getting people to move from one activity to another. This is a crucial piece to Open Streets because physical activity is one of the primary goals; this aspect distinguishes Open Streets from street festivals.

What does it measure?  This tool measures participation in activity hubs and provides a place to note what the activity hubs are doing and list any potential giveaways. There is also a brief interview guide if you wish to follow-up with organizations or individuals who hosted an activity hub. This provides them the opportunity to tell you what worked and what did not.

How do I measure it?

Supplies needed:

Pathway to Measurement for Activity Hubs Tool Pencils/Pens Clipboards Watch

Steps on the Pathway to Measurement:

Step 1: Select the Activity Hubs to be evaluated. Before the event, depending on resources available and number of evaluators, choose the number of Activity Hubs and the specific Activity Hubs to be observed. For example, select observing activity hubs focused primarily on kids’ activities or Activity Hubs presented by funding partners. Or if you are able to observe multiple Activity Hubs try to select a variety of different activities: one for kids, one for adults, one dancing, one food-related, etc.

Step 2: Complete observation portion of Pathway to Measurement for Activity Hubs Tool. It is recommended that each Activity Hub will be observed for three 15-minute intervals throughout the course of the Open Streets event. One staff member or volunteer is needed to observe each activity hub. For consistency, it is best if the same person observes the same activity hub for each of the three observation periods. The observation entails standing near the Activity Hub and recording observations of activity hub organization staff, activity, participants, or any other interesting aspects of the environment including material distribution (e.g. pamphlets, recipe cards, soccer balls). It is important to obtain the contact information of the Activity Hub organizer for the follow-up interview process.

Step 3: Complete follow-up phone interview with each Activity Hub organizer. A team member will call a sample of Activity Hub organizers so they can provide their insight to the successes and challenges of the Activity Hub. A follow-up period of no more than one week after the Open Streets event is recommended.

Step 4: Putting it all together. At least two team members will read the observations and qualitative comments from the follow-up interview. The team will regroup and use the qualitative data to drive Activity Hub strategy (e.g.

diversity, location, marketing, etc.) for future initiatives. This strategy is dependent on the Open Streets team’s priorities and its definition of success (number of people engaged, if pamphlets were handed out, if people were participating and doing yoga rather than standing around, etc.)  Pathway to Measurement For Activity Hubs


The pathway to measurement for the Activity Hub will be a combination of observation and follow-up phone calls on perception of success. The Activity Hubs may differ based on sponsor organization and related activities, but the basis of the observation will be the same. The following example sheets will be used to record information. Template forms are available online on this website.

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Name of Organization/Activity Hub: Urban Breath Yoga Studio Location of Activity Hub: 8th Street & Clark Ave.

Describe any tracking or material distribution at hub.

a. Will the organization record participant information? If yes, how?

Yes. They have a sign-up sheet for names and emails.

b. Does the organization distribute flyers or other promotional materials? (If yes, will there be a before-after count of number distributed?) There are flyers available on a small table, but they are not given out to participants.

c. Are there any other unique data collection aspects at the hub? If yes, please describe.

Owners of studio are also keeping a tally of participants.

Observation of Location:

Please describe the location of the hub. (Where is it situated? What does the hub consist of? What buildings are nearby? What is the condition of the street? ) The hub is on the northwest corner of the street. They are using street for yoga classes but not blocking other walkers and cyclists.

There is a small market and bank nearby. Street is in good condition.

Activity Hub Observation Table Directions: Stand near the Activity Hub. For three, 15-minute periods in the table below, record observations of organization staff, activity, participants, or any other interesting aspects in the surrounding environment.

[10:00 –10:15 am]    people were hesitant to participate in the yoga session at  5-6 first. Mostly stood around and watched. Then two or three participants who knew the instructor came and encouraged them to participate. Those standing around then joined and seemed to enjoy the activity.  [12:30– 12:45 pm]    There were no participants during this time. A family with two small kids approached the yoga area to get more information about the studio, but did not want to try it in the space available.     [2:45-3:00 pm]    This period covered the last part of a yoga session which focused on relaxation. 12 participants all laid down on yoga mats and practiced deep breathing.                  Follow-Up Interview For Activity Hubs The following is an example of a follow-up interview in order to gauge the success of the Activity Hub. Interview templates will be available online on this website.   Follow–up information and questions.

Record name and phone number of a person who can answer questions on the perception of the success of the hub in a follow up interview.

Name: Rebecca Wooldridge Title: Yoga Instructor Phone number: (314) 678-0021 Email: rwool@urbanbreathyoga.com Scheduled time for follow-up call: Tuesday, Nov. 26 at 11:30am Follow-up Questions: (please record answers)

1. What is your general sense of Open Streets on 11/23/12?

I thought the event was so cool! It was great to see a bunch of people trying yoga who maybe wouldn’t normally. I loved seeing participants who had never been to our studio before enjoy it!

2. Describe your activity hub during Open Streets.

Probe: What activity was going on? Were there lots of people?

We had quite a few participants. Some would only stay for a few poses, some for the entire 30 minute session that I was leading. I tried to keep it basic so we could appeal to lots of people.

3. Do you think your Activity Hub was successful? Why or Why not?

(Probe: How do you define success?) I think our activity was very successful. People seemed to be smiling the whole time and loved being able to do it with their family members or friends. We had a lot of people ask for more information about our studio and sign up for our email list.

Follow-Up Interview For Activity Hubs Follow-up Questions (Continued):  

4. What could be done to make activity hubs better for future events?

I think activity hubs would be better if we had some sort of tent/shade covering. It was a very sunny day and it was hard for people to see me and follow along in the sunlight.

5. Would your organization be interested in hosting activity hubs for future Open Streets Events?

We would definitely be interested! We love doing events like this that reach the St. Louis community and get people interested in living a happier, healthier life.

One of the busy Activity Hubs at the Minneapolis/St. Paul Open Streets in summer 2013.   Participant Count What does it measure?

Count and estimate participants, their demographics (gender, adult or child, race), and their primary Open Streets activity during the initiative.

Why measure it?

An accurate participant count captures the impact of the Open Streets initiative and how participants are distributed throughout the event. The tool can be used to make comparisons with other initiatives and programs within the same city or other cities with similar programming. Furthermore, a participant count can be used to advocate the impact and reach of Open Streets. Along with a proper costbenefit analysis, it can also drive strategy during the organization process of future events. For example, by learning the proportion of children and adults during Open Streets, organizers can plan different Activity Hubs and activities that are more attractive to match city demographics.

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Participant Count

Steps on the Measurement Pathway:

Step 1: Select the observation points. The number and location of observation points will depend on the number of volunteers and staff members as well as the distance of Open Streets. Two observers per observation point are necessary for this Participant Count tool. Therefore, the number of observation points will be half of the number of available observers. To determine the location of the observation points, divide the route length of the Open Streets event by half of the number of observers available for this tool. Then, distribute two observers to observation points with the calculated distance (using Google Maps) in between each team.

Step 2: Define the observation time period. Three, 15-minute observation periods are recommended. It is also suggested that these observation time periods are an hour apart (i.e. 9:45 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., 10:45 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., and 11:45 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.).

Step 3: Conduct the participant count observations. The two observers at each observation point will count and record quantitative observations of different types of participants. Age, gender, and race are based on the observers’ best approximation. Observers should also write the exact cross-streets on the tally

sheet. During each time period, observers will record the following:

Observer #1: The number of adult (18+) participants by gender, who are walking, cycling, or skating. Race/ethnicity can be included as well, but this can be very difficult to determine on observation alone.

Observer #2: The number of child (18) participants by gender, who are walking, cycling, skating, or being pushed. Race/ethnicity can be included as well, but this can be very difficult to determine on observation alone.

Observer #1 & 2: General qualitative observations about the participants including social groups (number of people in groups, combination of children/adults), the interaction among the different forms of activity (e.g. are cyclists staying on one side of the road, where are most pedestrians in relation to other active participants), are people carrying things (e.g. give-a-ways). Record of the environment including merchants, attractiveness, and presence/absence of sidewalks.

Participant Count Step 4: Data input. Input the count data collected on Participant Count tally sheets into a spreadsheet following Open Streets. Adult and child counts, and observation points should be separated. An example Participant Count Spreadsheet is available on this website. It displays cell numbers and formulas.

Step 5: Data analysis: Summation of observed participant counts.

Add up all of the observed participant counts on the spreadsheet using formulas. The spreadsheet formulas depend on the number of observation locations used.

Step 6: Putting it all together: Estimation of total participants.

Multiply the number of participants observed by the speeds of activities using the formulas in the available Participant Count spreadsheet. The spreadsheet takes into account the distance between observation points and general speed of participant based on activity (cycling, walking, skating).

Please note: These speeds and activities are based on Bogota's Ciclovía. We believe this underestimates total participation in most US Open Streets due to the presence of many Activity Hubs resulting in families walking shorter distances and instead participating in Activity Hubs.

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This example Participant Count Tally Sheet can be used to keep track of adult/child counts, participants’ race/ethnicity and activities during Open Streets.

Observation Materials The following example sheets will be used to record information.

Template forms are available on this website. 


November 23, 2013, Downtown St. Louis Open Streets


Observations will take place at three points along the route. There will be 3 observation periods of 15 minutes each.

[Identify the 3 separate time periods. For example; 9:45-10:00, 10:45-11:00, 11:45-12:00]

The two observers per location will record:

Observer #1: The number of adult (18+) participants by gender, who are walking, cycling, or skating.

Observer #2: The number of child (18) participants by gender, who are walking, cycling, skating, or being pushed/carried.

Observer #1 & 2: General observations about the participants including social groups (number of people in groups, combination of children/adults), the interaction among the different forms of activity (e.g. are cyclists staying on one side of the road, where are most pedestrians in relation to other active participants), are people carrying things (e.g. giveaways). Make a record of the environment including merchants, attractiveness, presence/absence of sidewalks.

Age and gender are your best approximation.

Be sure to write exact cross-street on the tally sheet.

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