3. Methods of collecting original source data.

Source data is where you are obtaining data directly from the original source.

Example 1 - Traffic calming (slowing down traffic)

traffic calming

The local council have given you the task of adding a traffic-calming feature in a village. So before you decide on the best method you will need some original data.

This original data will include

  • Traffic flow through the village
  • How traffic behaves
  • What do residents think about traffic in their village
  • What is their preference in the method of traffic calming (LED warning message, speed hump, swerve obstacle etc
Traffic flow : method used - Data-logger.

A vehicle sensor is laid across the road. This sensor is attached to a roadside data-logger. As cars and lorries drive over the sensor, their speed, time of day, size and frequency is logged.

The advantage of a data logger is that gathers physical data automatically.

Traffic behaviour: method used - Observation

You spend a day watching how traffic behaves as they approach the village - Do drivers have any problems seeing existing speed signs? Do they approach fast then brake? Do they bunch close together or do they keep well apart?

The advantage of observation for original data gathering is that it can capture data that a data-logger cannot, such as human behaviour.

Resident opinion: method used - face to face interviews

Face to face interviews allows the project to gather personal opinions, views and attitudes. What are their main concerns? And so on.

The advantage of interviews is that they may glean some unexpected data and also capture general attitudes that a simple questionnaire cannot. But they do take time.

Resident preference: Questionnaire

Every house in the village is sent a questionnaire to fill in. It asks straight-forward questions such as 'How satisfied are you with existing traffic calming' Scale 1 - 10

The advantage of questionnaires is that you get answers to very specific questions and you can do so fairly quickly. The disadvantage is they can be difficult to fill in for more complex questions such as attitude. You may also only get a few back and so the sample size is too small.


challenge see if you can find out one extra fact on this topic that we haven't already told you

Click on this link: Traffic Calming