Monday, March 02, 2009

Poll: New roads don't top preference list

Interesting poll out from the National Association of Realtors and the advocacy group, Transportation for America, finds a majority of Americans believe upgrading and repairing existing roads and bridges and expanding transportation options (i.e. transit, bicycling and pedestrian options) should take precedence over building new roads.

A press release from the Realtors' association says: "When asked about approaches to addressing traffic, 47 percent preferred improving public transportation, 25 percent chose building communities that encourage people not to drive, and 20 percent preferred building new roads. Fifty-six percent of those surveyed believe the federal government is not devoting enough attention to trains and light rail systems, and three out of four favor improving intercity rail and transit."

You can download a PDF of the full report here.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well I think that depends on where you live. For example I don't know anyone in Charlotte who doesn't want more roads except maybe the Observer.

tarhoosier said...

Anon; 12:06
You do not know me.

Anonymous said...

or me

Anonymous said...

me too

rebecca said...

new roads to where?

Rick said...

I love polls. You can make them say whatever you want.

Mary reads the poll one way by saying people rank building new transit over new roads. That's true.

I'd read it that 2/3 put road related projects as their top priority and only 1/3 said transit. As a side note, since over 80% of the US population lives in urbanized areas (cities or suburbs), that means strong majorities of even those people put road projects (new roads and repairs) over mass transit.

Also, most of the questions which showed comparative data with a 2007 survey show other "new urbanist" ideas losing ground.

Businesses and homes should be built closer together to shorten commutes and limit traffic congestion - those agreeing dropped 8% points.

Businesses and homes should be built closer together, so that stores and restaurants are within walking distance and do not require the use of an automobile - dropped 7% points.

It's also interesting to note the biases built into a survey's language. For example...

Page 7, the statement which got the "most convincing reason" response is based on an untrue premise.

The infrastructure spending in the economic stimulus package is estimated to be seven hundred and fifty billion dollars. Because this is such a large investment, we must ensure that we are spending the money wisely and the money is not just a shortterm fix for the economy. The infrastructure spending should also provide for a better, more secure future with sustainable jobs that will continue to be in demand

The actual transportation infrastructure spending is not anywhere near that large - less than $50 billion I believe. It equals only about 6 months worth of spending for what we spend every year. Sure, trains got a boost with the $8 billion for medium speed rail, a nice bonus but hardly a game changer.

It would have been interesting to see the response to the more accurate statement of "Since transportation funding is less than %10 of the overall stimulus, which is more important - fixing roads which have $xxx dollars of needs or building new mass transit which has $yyy dollars of needs?

We all would agree that the xxx number would be many times larger than the yyy number. That would have been a more honest way to ask the question.

Anonymous said...

The National Association of Realtors? You mean the group of geniuses who wrote the book "Why The Real Estate Boom Will Not Bust"?

http://www.amazon.com/Real-Estate-Boom-Will-Bust/dp/0385514352/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1236086798&sr=8-1

Figures Newsom would listen to THAT kind of geniusry.

consultant said...

A good number of boobs up in Charlotte.

Maybe you can come join the boobs here in Atlanta. You know, create the Charlanta boobocracy that will stop all investments in trains, commuter rail and light rail.

The next time the oil shoots up, and there will be a next time, all the boobs will be crying about how they can't get from here to there.

One of the big problems of the world-boobs can't grow up (they also have a narrow, simplistic view of the world).

Oops. My bad. That last part was a little too deep for the boobs.

Anonymous said...

Please let gas hit $4 again this year. I love to taste the tears of the suburbophile.

Anonymous said...

There's plenty of people in Charlotte that want more rail, Anonymous 3/02/2009 12:06:00 PM, myself included. You can't hide the success LYNX has had. The heck with more roads and squeeze the suburanites out of their gas guzzlers.

Rick said...

I love the fact that when faced with a real argument, the pro-transit side reliably is reduced to name calling.

Though I must say "boob" is one of the tamer names I've ever been called on this forum.

Anonymous said...

So is ridership on the vaunted light-rail up or down right now, as the economy continues its downturn?