NRDC poll: Two out of three Americans favor expanding transit
Three out of four Americans are frustrated with the lack of transportation options that forces them to drive more than they would prefer, according to a new nationwide public opinion survey released today by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). According to the poll results, two out of three support government investment in to expand and improve public transportation and twice as many people favor new transit – buses, trains and light rail – rather than new highways as the best way to solve America’s traffic woes.
The survey of 800 Americans was conducted this summer by a bipartisan team — Public Opinion Strategies, which conducts polling for Republican candidates, and Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates, which specializes in polling for Democratic candidates. The nationwide telephone survey was preceded by focus groups in Charlotte, NC; Raleigh, NC; Philadelphia, PA; and Cleveland, OH.
“Americans hate traffic and love transit,” said Peter Lehner, NRDC’s executive director. “Investing in public transportation eases congestion but for too long most federal funding has limited people’s choices, leaving them sitting in traffic.”
The NRDC survey found the following:
• 59 percent feel the transportation system is “outdated, unreliable and inefficient”
• 55 percent prefer to drive less, but 74 percent say they have no choice
• 58 percent would like to use public transportation more often, but it is not convenient or available from their home or work
• 59 percent would like more transportation options so they have the freedom to travel other than by driving
• 63 percent (more than three in five Americans) would rather address traffic by improving public transportation (42 percent) or developing communities where people do not have to drive as much (21 percent) – as opposed to building new roads, an approach preferred by only one in five Americans (20 percent)
• 64 percent say their community would benefit from an expanded and improved public transportation system, such as rail and buses
• 67 percent favor setting new standards for local planning that guide new development into existing cities and or near public transportation
• 68 percent support more local investment in improvements to public transportation (including 63 percent of those who do not use transit), with 39 percent supporting it “strongly”