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South Dakota Department of Transportation
Project Synopsis

Title: SDDOT 2002 Statewide Customer Survey
Project Researcher: John Schamber, MarketLine Research, Inc.
Project Manager: Dave Huft
Research Period: 2/25/2002 - 12/3/2002
Cost: $100,000.00

Problem Statement:In the spring of 1997 and again in the fall of 1999, the South Dakota Department of Transportation commissioned statewide customer satisfaction assessments. The surveys identified the Departments key products and services, and assessed the opinions and attitudes of the general public and the state legislature concerning their importance and quality of delivery. The surveys raised the Departments awareness of customers concerns and provided valuable insight into their degree of satisfaction. Some units of the Department used information from the survey to help establish formal performance measures. Perhaps more importantly, findings significantly shaped the Departments strategic planning process, which ultimately led to the publication of the 2001 strategic plan.

Two years after the most recent survey, several questions arise:

  • Have perceptions of the Departments performance changed significantly? If so, how?

  • How has the Department responded to issues raised in the prior surveys? Have the responses been effective? Are more proactive or effective responses possible?

  • Do key customer segments such as contractors, commercial truckers, the agricultural industry, tourists, and others perceive the Departments services and performance differently from the population at large? If so, how should the Department respond?

  • Do public perceptions accurately distinguish between services provided by the Department and services provided by other public and private entities?

  • Have new issues emerged that are important to the legislature, the general public, or key customer segments?

  • Research is needed to reassess perceptions of the Departments performance, explain their significance, and identify how the Department can respond to them.


    Research Objectives:
    1  To assess the opinions of the public and key customer groups regarding the composition, importance, and quality of the Department of Transportation's key products and services.
    2  To assess the Department's progress in addressing customer concerns through development and execution of its strategic plan.
    3  To identify specific actions the Department can take to improve its performance and the perception by the public and key customer groups regarding that performance.

    Research Tasks:
    1  Meet with the project's technical panel to review the project's scope and work plan.
    2  Interview selected managers and staff of SDDOT to identify important issues related to customer service and to identify actions taken in response to the Department's prior customer surveys.
    3  Conduct focus groups or interviews with members of the general public and key customer groups to identify significant issues that should be addressed quantitatively through a statewide survey.
    4  Summarize the findings of interviews and focus groups and present them to the technical panel and the Department's 10-member Executive Team.
    5  Based on interviews, focus groups, and feedback from presentations to the technical panel and Executive Team, develop survey instrument(s) to be used in quantitative survey(s) and submit them for approval of the technical panel.
    6  Upon approval of the survey instrument(s), conduct quantitative survey(s) to assess perceptions and opinions concerning the composition, importance, and quality of SDDOT's products and services.
    7  Prepare and submit for approval of the technical panel a technical memorandum that summarizes survey results, compares them to prior assessments, and identifies important issues deserving the Department's action.
    8  Conduct a workshop with the Department's Executive Team to identify possible actions for responding to the survey findings.
    9  Prepare a final report summarizing research methodology, findings, conclusions and recommendations.
    10  Make executive presentations to SDDOT's Research Review Board and Executive Team at the conclusion of the project.

    Documents Available:
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