Last year

Charlottesville Tomorrow

began tracking information about the issues our subscribers would like to see us cover in our reporting.  You can edit or add your suggestion in your

membership profile


As the response postcards came in from residents who received our

2007 Voter Guide


I was impressed by the volume of interest in transportation matters, specifically public transportation, bikes, and rail

.  I made a note to myself that I needed to find a way to mine this data and share the results.

Tag clouds

” or “

word clouds

” are one interesting way to visually analyze text and I was

alerted last week

to a website called


that is devoted to this task.  The basic concept is that words that appear more frequently in a document are given more prominence in a computer generated image of the words in that text.

So I took all the text that had been submitted by our subscribers and created the following word cloud. Given that the Virginia General Assembly is meeting this week in their special session on


, this cloud’s results seemed particularly timely.

[Note: You can click the cloud to visit its home on Wordle. Some of the text submitted by these 186 subscribers was standardized for clarity (eg. ‘rt 29’ became ‘route29’, ‘bike’ became ‘bicycle’)]

Providing in-depth coverage of transportation matters in our community has been a priority since Charlottesville Tomorrow launched in 2005.  This tag cloud, while not a scientific survey, certainly reinforces the importance of this issue in our work.  It was also a major topic that surfaced in last year’s focus groups that supported our

Survey 2007 research


Here is a word cloud for

Charlottesville Tomorrow’s

mission statement


Brian Wheeler


Interested in what we're working on next? Sign up for our weekly newsletter and never miss a story.