Public Opinion on Transit

On Friday, pollster Adam Davis spoke to City Club’s Friday Forum on the topic of the disconnect between leaders and the public (as he put it, between the edges of the bell curve and the bell). No, I didn’t ask him a transportation question – I asked about citizenship and the public “commons”.

But Ray Polani did ask the transportation question, and the answer was reasonably encouraging. You can hear it here (MP3, 2.9M, 3 min).

Adam’s main points:

  • People are becoming more inclined to support investment in transit versus highways.
  • Many have moved here from regions that have tried spending big bucks on highways, with little benefit.
  • Gas prices are making people rethink investment.
  • The public still wants a balanced system.

5 responses to “Public Opinion on Transit”

  1. Given that public investment is overwhelmingly in favor of highways, does “balanced system” mean more spending for transit?

    Or does the public perceive that we’re spending more for transit already (since highway spending is more ‘invisible’) and thus “balanced system” means “don’t forget the highways”?

    I wasn’t there, so which was the thrust of Adam Davis’s comment on this one?

  2. In Metro’s recent poll (Jan 2006), Metro-area residents want transit, biking and walking to increasingly replace automobile travel, by a two to one margin. But, by 55% to 44% they don’t think that it’s likely to happen (Slide 28).


    I vaguely remember a time in 2001 or so that Metro polled people and “gave them a dollar” to allocate between modes, biking and walking got something like 18% (WAY under the current allocation), transit 40%, and cars 40%. Or so.

  3. Kari, Adam didn’t define ‘balanced system’, but I took him to mean that a wholesale switch away from autos wouldn’t go far. But I still think it’s encouraging.

    Evan, can you clarify your numbers on the current allocation to biking and walking?

  4. Found this interesting article in the Oregonian on a law that requires businesses must encourage their employees to seek alternate modes of transportation – and how many are obviously dragging their heels, or outright refusing to do so because:

    “It’s so hard to have companies be in charge of this sort of thing,” says Schwark. “Providing alternative transportation has got to be done from a government standpoint.”

  5. The so-called “ECO” (Employee Commute Option) rule doesn’t have a lot of teeth. All you have to do to comply is show that you are making effort to get employees to use alternate modes. You don’t actually have to show any results.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *