Traffic congestion in Texas continues to worsen each year, but that’s not changing how the vast majority of Texans feel about their cars and trucks. This and a variety of other insights come from the first Texas Transportation Poll conducted by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute’s (TTI’s) Transportation Policy Research Center (PRC).
What Did the Survey Accomplish?
The survey examines the travel behaviors and opinions of registered voters in Texas, and the results help identify what Texans think about daily transportation choices, challenges, funding and solutions. In short, voters support spending more on solutions but don’t necessarily agree on how to do that.
- Nearly two-thirds of respondents said they support increased funding for transportation statewide.
- A majority also support increased funding for public transportation.
- Of the options offered, respondents favored dedicating the motor vehicle sales tax to transportation needs; they were least supportive of raising the vehicle registration fee from $65 to $115.
- From a list of 15 different ways to improve transportation in the state, better traffic signal timing and clearing accidents more quickly were the most popular ideas. Building more toll roads was the least supported option.
How Was the Survey Conducted?
The random sample survey responses were collected by mail, by phone, or online. The sample size of more than 5,000 provides for a statewide margin of error of plus or minus 1.5 percent, and allows the opportunity to investigate how attitudes and behaviors differ along demographic lines, including age, gender and education. Comparisons can also be made based on where respondents live, with the state divided into 12 regions. Researchers plan to repeat the survey in two years to measure possible changes in the travel choices and attitudes among registered voters in the state.
Key Survey Findings
Texans are confused about how transportation is funded.
- Less than 1 percent of respondents know the correct amount they pay in fuel tax for every gallon of gasoline purchased and how that tax is assessed.
- Nearly half incorrectly think that the state’s motor fuel tax is a sales tax (a percentage based on the overall price of a gallon), while it’s actually a flat tax that does not change, regardless of the price.
Texans really depend on their cars and trucks.
- Ninety percent of respondents said they own or lease a personal vehicle as their primary means of travel.
- One-third reported walking to make a non-recreational trip in the 30 days prior to the survey; one-fourth used public transit; and one in 10 used a bicycle.
Texans are feeling the squeeze of traffic gridlock and higher gas prices.
- Three-fourths of Texans said they experience traffic congestion when traveling in their region.
- A majority view congestion as a byproduct of the state’s growing population and expanding economy.
- Because of higher fuel prices at the time of the survey, 60 percent have tried to drive less; the younger the respondent, the more likely he or she was to limit driving due to high fuel prices.
Access the full survey report and regional summaries at https://policy.tti.tamu.edu/texas-transportation-poll/.
Project TitleTexas Transportation Poll
Transportation Policy Research Center
Economics & Policy
Project Termination Date
For More Information
Christopher L. SimekAssistant Research Scientist
Public Engagement Planning
Texas A&M Transportation Institute
505 E Huntland Dr., Suite 455
Austin, TX 78752
Ph. (512) 407-1153