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.