City’s inaugural “open streets” event earns high marks from participants, independent survey finds

More than 86% of the survey’s respondents said they would be “very likely” to attend future events
February 18, 2016
San José, CA

Newly released results from an independent survey conducted last October at San Jose’s first “open streets” event found strong support from respondents, with 86% saying they would be “very likely” to attend future events.

“Open streets” is an initiative that aims to connect urban dwellers with their environment by temporarily diverting traffic from busy thoroughfares and opening those streets exclusively to pedestrians, bicyclists, wheelchair users, and other non­motorized forms of travel. San Jose’s first open streets event, Viva CalleSJ, drew 35,000 participants, according to estimates by event organizers and the city’s police department. The 6.9­-mile route through the City’s heart was lined with diversions such as dancing, Zumba, yoga, hula­hooping, exhibits, food concessions, and live entertainment.

The survey, a single­-page, self­-administered questionnaire printed in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese, was designed by Mineta Transportation Institute researchers to help the City gauge the event’s success. The survey was distributed to a diverse array of participants along the event route. In all, 618 surveys were collected and analyzed. The results, reported in A Survey of Viva CalleSJ Participants – San Jose, California 2015, revealed that more than 86% of those surveyed would be “very likely” to attend future Viva CalleSJ events.

Virtually all respondents (95%) expected to get at least 30 minutes of phyical activity at the event, and nearly three­quarters estimated that they got more than 60 minutes. A majority of respondents – 62% – bicycled the route, and 39% walked or jogged (multiple responses were accepted).

The most popular organized activity was watching entertainment, with 73% of respondents participating. More than half of respondents visited the resource tables and purchased items from the food trucks, and 36% participated in organized physical activities, such as hula hooping or yoga. Only 3% did not participate in any of the organized activities. Most respondents expected to spend some money while at the event, with approximately one­half expecting to spend more than $10

The full report, including recommendations based on survey results, can be downloaded at no charge from the Mineta Transportation Institute website:


Asha Agrawal, PhD, is director of the Mineta Transportation Institute’s National Transportation Finance Center and professor of urban and regional planning at San José (Calif.) State University. She holds a BA from Harvard University in folklore and mythology, an MSc from the London School of Economics and Political Science in urban and regional planning, and a PhD in regional planning from the University of California, Berkeley.

Hilary Nixon, PhD, is professor of urban and regional planning at San José (Calif.) State University. Her research focuses on the relationship between environmental attitudes and behavior. She holds a BA in environmental management from the University of Rochester and a PhD in planning, policy, and design from the University of California, Irvine.


The Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) conducts research, education, and information and technology transfer, focusing on multimodal surface transportation policy and management issues, especially as they relate to transit. The Institute has been funded by Congress through the US Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Research and Innovative Technology Administration, by the California Legislature, through the Department of Transportation (Caltrans), and by other public and private grants and donations, including grants from the US Department of Homeland Security. The Institute operates from the College of Business at San José State University.


Karen Philbrick
MTI Executive Director