Learning from people on the ground

Every time I walk past the Ferry Building I see the same guy. He's shirtless, wearing black sweatpants and matching armbands, with close cropped hair. He rides this tiny BMX bike around the plaza, around and around as thousands of pedestrians and cars pass by every day.

Take a guess: has any traffic planner ever asked him what traffic accidents here have in common? Has an entrepreneur asked him what makes people here happy? What makes them cry? What happens on windy days, and rainy days, and in the burning sun? If you're looking for answers, you might find experience and knowledge in unexpected places.