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Bipartisan Survey: Most Americans Want More Transit Options

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We spend a lot of time and effort helping guide you through the car-shopping process and helping you to answer questions like: Should I get a 2010 Honda Fit or hold out for the 2011 Mazda2. And can I really tow with that 2011 Ford Flex EcoBoost (the answer to the latter is yes).

But there's mounting evidence that—beyond famously car-light New York—Americans might be a little more open minded than we previously thought about other options. According to "The Future of Transportation National Survey" from Transportation for America, a coalition that includes a number of transportation, safety, housing, public health, and environmental groups, Americans actually favor more mass transit, and more funding toward it.

A surprising 82 percent agreed that the U.S. “would benefit from an expanded and improved transportation system” that included rail and buses. Even in rural areas, 79 percent agreed with this.

A lot of Americans feel very reliant on their vehicle. About two-thirds said that they would like more transportation options “so they have the freedom to choose how to get where they need to go,” while 73 percent said that they “have no choice but to drive as much as” they do. A surprising 57 percent thought that they currently spend too much time in their car, while just eight percent said that they simply preferred to drive.

Less than one in five Americans said that they had actually used public transportation in the past month.

What’s even more surprising is that nearly three of five voters polled think that we need to improve public transportation (including trains, buses, and walk/bike options) more than we need to build more roads or expand existing ones.

The telephone survey of 800 registered voters—including 700 landline interviews and 100 cellphone interviews—was conducted by Public Opinion Strategies, along with Fairbank, Maslin, Maulin, Metz and Associates—two polling firms that are associated with Republican and Democratic polling, respectively.

Although the group arguably found the answers it was looking for, it does point out that there's something a nice cross-segment of Americans will agree on: That being stuck in gridlock with no other option really bites.

[, via Autopia]

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Comments (2)
  1. very interesting regarding this seeming change in attitudes. only challenge is moving from "would you like.." to "would you pay for..." when it comes to mass transit. these projects are, by definition, massive capital projects. guaranteed usage is never a given. would honestly assume it would help get these projects launched, built and paid for if everyone acknowledged a pretty major "shift" in $ needs to happen (likely driven primarily by material new gas at the pump taxes).
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  2. I agree with this wholeheartedly. It does seem like more people are at least looking into what other viable commuting options are available for them to take advantage of. I, for one, am among this group.
    However, I live in the Washington, D.C.-Baltimore metro area. Commuting options here are not plentiful if you don't live near a Metro station, a bus route, or anywhere near your job. And most of the well-paying white collar jobs are concentrated in just a few areas around DC/MD/VA. However, living options are endless. And there are very few plans currently on the table to improve this situation. Thus, the dilemma continues...
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