Eight out of 10 people say an expanded transportation system is needed, and nearly 60 percent think more funding should go towards bus, rail and other public transportation services, according to results from a recent public opinion poll.
The national telephone survey gauged support of transportation funding and safe biking and walking programs as a Senate committee drafts a long-term federal transportation bill to address the nation's highway and transportation infrastructure and funding levels. It was conducted Feb. 27 through March 2 and recorded responses from 800 registered voters with a margin of error of + 3.46 percent. It was commissioned by Transportation For America, a national campaign to increase funding for transportation infrastructure and was performed by Public Opinion Strategies, a Republican political action and public affairs research firm, and Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz and Associates.
The Future of Transportation National Survey found that 82 percent of all interviewees said that the nation would benefit from increased or improved public transportation system, which includes more biking and walking routes. As for possible outcomes, 83 percent said they thought transportation choices would increase, 69 percent said traffic congestion would be reduced and 67 percent said road safety would improve. Another 65 percent said air pollution would be reduced and 63 percent said overall health would improve. Meanwhile, more than half said that more options would decrease foreign dependence on oil and global warming pollution.
When it comes to commute times, 59 percent said public transportation was their preferred way of reducing traffic congestion. Last summer, the American School Bus Council surveyed parents and found that 88 percent agreed with estimates that school bus service eliminated the need for 17.2 million cars on the road each morning and saved 2.3 billion gallons a fuel a year. The ASBC was also spearheading efforts to get federal legislators to sign a letter addressed to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood asking him to fund a U.S. Department of Transportation campaign designed to raise public awareness to the safety, traffic congestion, fuel savings and parental choice benefits of school buses and to increase student ridership.
The highest number of those interviewed for the national survey who said they thought public transportation should be expanded (89 percent) were from big cities, which made up 16 percent of the total number of people. Responses from suburban areas, which made up 35 percent of the pool, matched the nationwide results, with slightly fewer (18 percent) saying they disagreed the nation would benefit from expanded or improved bus and rail service. Results from those in small towns or rural areas, about half of all who were interviewed, were similar within a few percentage points.
The survey also found that 82 percent all interviewees said that the nation would benefit from increased or improved public transportation system. This mirrored respondents from suburban areas, which made up 35 percent of the pool. Results from those in small towns or rural areas, about half of all who were interviewed, were similar with a few percentage points.
Three-quarters of voters also indicated that the had little or no choice but to drive themselves as much as they do currently, while 23 percent said they did have a choice. Meanwhile, 57 percent said they would like to spend less time in their car compared to 39 percent who disagreed with that assessment.
When it comes to choice, the results showed that 47 percent said public transportation was not available in their community. Meanwhile, 35 percent said available service was not convenient to where they lived or where they needed to go.