Survey: Americans Don’t Support Road Expansions

U.S. transportation policy, which still heavily centers automobile infrastructure, is increasingly out of step with the majority opinion, according to a new survey from Transportation for America.

1 minute read

July 4, 2023, 5:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Aerial view of road construction with yellow heavy equipment parked next to two-lane asphalt road against green forest and blue sky

Highway construction in Maryland. | tamas / Adobe Stock

A new survey from Transportation for America (T4A) reveals that a vast majority of American voters don’t think expanding roads and highways is the best way to solve traffic congestion, according to a T4A blog.

In fact, 36 percent of the 2,001 respondents—90 percent of whom own cars—said expanded roadways would bring more traffic. “Only 11 percent felt state DOTs actually deliver congestion relief with highway expansions. In other words, the public understands the concept of ‘induced demand,’ which is widely ignored by state legislatures, DOTs, Congress, and federal agencies.”

Survey respondents expressed “a deep dissatisfaction with the overall status quo of state and local transportation spending which overwhelmingly prioritizes spending on new roads, often at the expense of keeping roads and bridges in good condition, investing in transit and safe streets for walking or biking, or reducing the need to drive overall.” The most popular option for how states should spend transportation funding was the repair and maintenance of existing infrastructure. 

The blog points out that results indicate a massive gap between policymaking that continues to privilege road building and public opinion about transportation policy.

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