Traffic Congestion, Road Conditions Top Residents’ List of Most Pressing Transportation Concerns
New research shows 69% of respondents drive alone all or most of the time
SACRAMENTO, CA — Valley Vision and Sacramento State’s Institute for Social Research (ISR) released findings today from a public opinion survey that captured regional attitudes on transportation. Respondents overwhelmingly say that reducing traffic congestion is the region’s most serious transportation issue and the main reason to invest in transportation improvements.
When asked how important transportation infrastructure is to the region’s job and business growth, 93 percent of respondents reported it being ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ important. At the same time, 28 percent cited traffic congestion as a major barrier to obtaining or getting to work and another 20 percent said it was ‘somewhat’ of a barrier. From a jobs perspective, a long commute was seen as a ‘major’ (22 percent) or ‘somewhat’ of a barrier (19 percent) to obtaining employment.
This public opinion survey is the second in an ongoing series of studies conducted by Valley Vision and ISR that gathers insights into residents’ views about a variety of regional issues affecting quality of life and livability. The polls provide independent opinion research on matters important to the region’s future health and prosperity.
“The findings of this transportation poll offer valuable information to local policy makers on investments and priorities for advancing transportation and mobility infrastructure for our communities at a time when improvements are of increasing importance,” said Valley Vision chief executive Bill Mueller. “Valley Vision believes that having a greater understanding of residents’ transportation uses, needs and challenges will serve to better direct regional planning and goal-setting.”
Top-level findings from the transportation poll include:
- Respondents feel transportation is critically important to the region’s business and job growth.
- The majority of respondents view transportation as a problem in the region and feel worse about conditions today than they did in 2014.
- Traffic congestion and conditions on roads and freeways were cited as today’s most notable problems, while 69 percent of respondents said they drive alone all or most of the time.
- For those who do not use public transportation options, the main reasons are that it takes too long, stops are too far from home or destination, or people have safety concerns.
“Considering that two-thirds of respondents cited they drive alone all or most of the time, focusing on road improvements alone is an incomplete solution,” Mueller noted. “Residents, transportation planners, and decision-makers must look at a broad suite of solutions capable of reducing congestion as the region plans for transportation improvements and investments.”
Findings suggest a willingness to increase use of public transportation if service frequency was improved and if there was more service near their home or end destination, two leading factors respondents named as barriers to public transportation use.
“Capitalizing on residents’ willingness to increase use of public transit is imperative to congestion relief strategies,” said Henry Li, Sacramento Regional Transit District General Manager/CEO. “As the region’s population continues to grow, our ability to coordinate planning, inject new investment, and assert needed policy actions are all vital to delivering public transit that serves residents’ needs today and in the future.”
“This research provides high-value information that will be helpful in framing the next Metropolitan Transportation Plan—supporting regional leadership to proactively address these expressed public priorities, values, and trends,” said SACOG CEO James Corless.
The transportation survey is the second in a series of studies being conducted by Valley Vision and ISR, a unique public opinion research program being fielded at a regional level. The first poll on civic amenities was released in June 2017. The next poll will gauge resident attitudes and preferences on livability factors and community values, scheduled for release in the spring.
The transportation survey respondent group consisted of 788 residents in Sacramento County and specific zip codes in Yolo, Placer and El Dorado, San Joaquin, Solano, Sutter, and Yuba counties, with a margin of error of +/-4.7.
“Understanding local perspectives is critical to building responsive solutions,” said ISR Executive Director Shannon Williams. “Utilizing our state-of-the-art CalSPEAKS survey methodology allows ISR to serve the public interest by informing policy and catalyzing community conversation.”