A new survey from Smart Growth America notes that three-fourths of Americans think improving public transportation is a better long term solution than building roads.
"Three-fourths of Americans believe that being smarter about development and improving public transportation are better long-term solutions for reducing traffic congestion than building new roads, according to a survey released today by the National Association of Realtors® and Smart Growth America. The 2007 Growth and Transportation Survey details what Americans think about how development affects their immediate community, and the results may surprise you on some issues.
As evidence of the traction the issue has gained in the last few years, nearly three-quarters of Americans are concerned about the role growth and development plays in climate change. Traffic congestion is still a concern to many Americans as it continues to worsen in most cities in the country. Half of those surveyed think improving public transit would be the best way to reduce congestion, and 26 percent believe developing communities that reduce the need to drive would be the better alternative. Only one in five said building new roads was the answer.
Eight in 10 respondents prefer redeveloping older urban and suburban areas rather than build new housing and commercial development on the edge of existing suburbs. More than half of those surveyed believe that businesses and homes should be built closer together to shorten commutes, limit traffic congestion and allow residents to walk to stores and shops instead of using their cars. Six in 10 also agree that new-home construction should be limited in outlying areas and encouraged in inner urban areas to shorten commutes and prevent more traffic congestion.
With road building costs often exceeding revenues, many states are turning to tolls as a key funding source. Americans are divided on tolls, although 55 percent approve of charging tolls on more roads if it improves roads and decreases congestion. On the other hand, six in 10 are opposed to charging tolls on freeways during rush hour to reduce congestion, and respondents are evenly split on charging tolls during rush hour, even if the money is used to provide transportation alternatives to the freeway. When it comes to spending taxpayer dollars, respondents believe Congress should spend more money to maintain and repair roads, highways, freeways, and bridges and to expand and improve public transit than build new roads.
The 2007 Growth and Transportation Survey was conducted by telephone among 1,000 adults living in the United States in October 2007. The study has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points."
Thanks to Jon Cecil