Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the Family Activity Study about?
2. When will the study take place?
3. Who's behind the study?
4. Who is eligible to participate?
5. Does the whole family have to participate?
6. We don't bike much. Can we still participate?
7. How does the study work?
8. What do the devices I wear do? How big are they? Can they track me? Could they be harmful?
9. What's in it for us?
10. How will you use the data?
11. Can we see the data?
12. We'd like to participate. How do we start?
13. Interested, but still have a few more questions?
14. When will we get our gift cards?

 

1. What is the Family Activity Study about?

We want to learn how parents and children get to where they want to go in and around Portland neighborhoods. We are especially interested in how families use active forms of transportation like walking and biking. Studies have shown that many families aren't getting enough exercise, and active transportation is one way to improve that. Families that participate in this study will get to complete surveys and use activity monitors to record how active they are while they travel around in their daily routines. Study results will help us figure out how to make it easier for families to use active forms of transportation in Portland.

2. When will the study take place?

The study will go from Summer 2010 to Spring 2012. Participants will record data for us during two separate 5-day periods: once this year and once next year.

3. Who's behind the study?

The Family Activity Study is a research project led by Dr. Jennifer Dill at Portland State University (PSU). The study team is composed of graduate students enrolled full time at Portland State University. Funding for the study comes from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium (OTREC), and the City of Portland.

4. Who is eligible to participate?

Families in selected Portland neighborhoods across the city, with children between the ages of 5-16 years old, are eligible to participate. If you're in a study neighborhood, then you will receive a flyer at your home. While we would love to include everyone, we simply can't at this time!

Eligible families meet all the following criteria:

  • Your family lives in a study neighborhood
  • At least 1 adult and 1 child (age 5-16) who live at your residence are willing to participate
  • You are not planning to move in the next year
  • Participants are able to walk and ride a bicycle, and have a working bicycle at home
  • Participants are willing to fill out two surveys (on paper or on the web) and wear two small electronic gadgets to record activity over a 5-day period, once this year and once next year

5. Does the whole family have to participate?

No, we need a minimum of 1 adult and 1 child (aged 5-16). Other eligible family members are welcome to participate, but they don't have to. We have had as few as two participants and as many a six participants from a family. We think, "the more, the merrier."

6. We don't bike much. Can we still participate?

Absolutely! We're interested in all the ways families get around. Each family member that participates just needs to have a working bike at home, regardless of how often he or she rides.

7. How does the study work?

Adults and children that are eligible and want to participate will complete surveys and record their travel for a five-day period, once this year and once next year. The surveys will let you tell us what you think about activity, travel, and your neighborhood. The surveys will be available on paper or on the web.

Activity will be recorded using accelerometers (activity monitors) and GPS data loggers that we provide for you to wear. Everything will be delivered and picked up by our staff at your home or another location of your choice, during times convenient for you.

GPS and Accelerometer8. What do the devices I wear do? How big are they? Can they track me? Could they be harmful?

The GPS data logger records your location, so we can figure out how far you go and which routes you prefer. The accelerometer is like a high tech pedometer, it measures movement as you travel around or exercise. All data is stored on the devices. Nothing is transmitted. At the end of 5 days, we'll pick up the units and download the data that's been recorded. Both devices are very simple to use. We will provide full instructions and training on how to use them.

The devices are small and shouldn't get in your way. The GPS data logger is just 3”x 2”x 0.7” thick and weighs only a few ounces. The accelerometer is even smaller at 1.5”x 1.4”x 0.7” thick and weighs only a couple of ounces. The activity monitor is worn on a small elastic belt we provide. The GPS unit can also be worn on the belt, in a pocket, or even on a bag strap.

Neither device transmits anything or tracks your location in real time. It is impossible for anyone to see the data or your location while you wear them. There are no emissions from the devices.

9. What's in it for us?child with equipment

Aside from helping us learn more about Portland families, potentially improving your neighborhoods, and being part of a really neat study, you'll be compensated to show our appreciation for participants. Each family will receive a $15 gift card (your choice of New Seasons, Fred Meyer, Target, or Burgerville) for each day of complete data (wearing devices for at least 8 hours). That's a total of $75 in gift cards per family, and you are welcome to mix & match the cards. Let everyone that participates choose their favorite gift card!

10. How will you use the data?

We'll use the activity data to learn about your travel preferences—where you go and how you get there. The surveys you complete will help us understand how families feel about their neighborhoods, exercise, and travel options. The results will help make getting around Portland's neighborhoods easier and more enjoyable for families, especially for bicycling and walking. Of course, we'll keep your personal data absolutely private, and it will only be used for the academic study.

11. Can we see the data?

This is a two-year study, and the data won't be available until after collection has ended and the data has been processed.

12. We'd like to participate. How do we start?

That's great! Contact us by phone, mail, or email, and one of our staff will get right back to you. We will ask a couple of short questions to make sure that you meet all the criteria, then we will get you started with information, surveys, and appointment times to drop off your equipment.

13. Interested, but still have a few more questions?

No problem! We're more than happy to answer any questions about the study. Please contact us by phone (503-334-3143), email (FAStudy@pdx.edu), or use this form to submit a question that you'd like to see answered here.

14. Ok, we have collected data and filled out our surveys, when will we receive our gift cards?

Your gift cards should arrive within three weeks after we pick up your equipment. You will have the choice of gift cards from Fred Meyer, Target, New Seasons, or Burgerville. You will receive one $15 gift card for each day that the entire family logs a full day's data on the devices; that’s a total of $75 per family per year, and $150 total for both years!