Poll: Americans support public, alternative transportation

Posted on March 30, 2010

On Tuesday, Transportation for America (T4) released poll results demonstrating overwhelming American support for increased access to public transportation and safe walking and biking.

Central to the poll's findings was strong support for increased transportation options and accountability for future spending across both geographic areas and political lines. More than four-in-five voters (82 percent) say that "the United States would benefit from an expanded and improved transportation system," that includes rail and buses. This view is held by an overwhelming majority of voters in every part of the country. Even in rural America, 79 percent of voters agreed with the statement, despite much lower use of public transportation compared to urban Americans.

While saying they would like to able to use other options, 73 percent of those surveyed indicated that they have "no choice but to drive as much as [they] do," even as a substantial majority say they would like to spend less time in the car.

"If Americans themselves were crafting the transportation bill," said Geoff Anderson, co-chair of the Transportation for America campaign and president/CEO of Smart Growth America. "We would see a doubling of the share for public transportation; an ironclad system of accountability for restoring existing roads and bridges before simply building more of them; and a strong commitment to making all our streets safe enough for kids to bicycle to school or so seniors can walk to nearby restaurants or the drug store."

A strong majority of voters indicated that current funding levels for public transportation are insufficient, with 58 percent saying more should be allocated toward bus, rail and other services.

The desire to increase the amount of funding allocated to options beyond roads and highways was shared across demographic, geographic and political lines, including:

  • Sixty-seven percent of residents in the Northeast, 58 percent in the West, 57 percent in the Midwest, and 52 percent in the South.
  • Sixty-two percent of urban areas, 59 percent of suburbs, 60 percent in small towns and 50 percent in rural areas.
  • Sixty-six percent of Democrats, 59 percent of Independents and 49 percent of Republicans.

The survey also found that Americans of every political affiliation and income level are convinced that an expanded system of reliable public transportation is needed to ensure that everyone - regardless of age or income - has access to jobs and necessities.

The survey was conducted by Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz and Associates, a Democratic firm, and Public Opinion Strategies, a Republican firm, and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.

To view the poll results, click here.


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