November 14, 2013
More than seven in 10 (71%) Americans already see public transportation
as more reliable than unreliable, according to a new America THINKS
survey from HNTB Corp. The research also finds most Americans see public
transit as a money saver and, for many, a requirement when relocating.
fact, nearly one-half (48%) of Americans say they would require an area
to have good public transportation before they would consider moving
there. More than two in 5 (46%) Americans say a different area having a
good public transportation system would make them more likely to move
there. There is an age differential, with those 18 to 39 years old more
likely to share this sentiment than those 40 and older (51% versus 43%,
The availability of good public transportation
would have a positive influence on 90% of Americans if they were
selecting a different area to live in.
“According to the American
Public Transportation Association, for every $1 cities invest in public
transportation, they generate $4 in economic returns. Healthy cities
make funding transit a priority because systems like bus rapid transit
or light rail can generate loads of positive economic outcomes with just
a single investment,” said Liz Rao, HNTB chair public transit services.
see a range of benefits from more convenient local public
transportation options, including less congested roads (50%), a better
quality of life for locals (31%), attracting more businesses to open in
the area (26%) and increasing property value (18%).
to light rail, commuter rail and traditional bus services, bus rapid
transit is a rapidly growing public transit option, offering a
lower-cost, more easily implemented alternative to a rail-based commuter
transit system, yet still including many popular features of rail-based
public transportation, such as routes that are clearly laid out and run
on a frequent and reliable schedule.
Like rail, investment in BRT has shown it can spur economic redevelopment. According to a recent study from the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, which looked at many transit corridors across the country, more than $5 billion in redevelopment has occurred along Cleveland’s Euclid corridor, and along Boston’s Silver Line BRT, the private sector has invested more than $1 billion.
fact, Rao said, “because of BRT’s low threshold, funding often can be
cobbled together from multiple sources, including metropolitan planning
organizations, municipal or county transportation funds, or even state
highway maintenance budgets.” Many cities across the country are
studying and/or implementing BRT systems, including Atlanta and Miami.
About the survey
America THINKS transit survey polled a random nationwide sample of
1,127 Americans Sept. 5 through Sept. 12, 2013. It was conducted by
Kelton, which used an e-mail invitation and online survey. Quotas were
set to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the total U.S.
population ages 18 and over. The margin of error is +/- 2.9 percent.