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 Transportation Policy Research Center (PRC).
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 least supported 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.
The findings also suggest that most Texans might be reluctant to make significant lifestyle changes, such as changing where they live, to cope with congestion.
Researchers say the poll was conducted in part to help inform transportation policy discussions, and that the findings confirm a number of things suggested by previous research.
“From dozens of focus groups over several years, we have seen that Texans, in general, have very little understanding of how we pay for the highways we use,” says PRC Director Ginger Goodin. “We now know that this lack of understanding is widespread, and it’s common among all demographic groups.”
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.
Access the full survey report and regional summaries at http://tti.tamu.edu/policy/texas-transportation-poll/.