According to a new report from the Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI), Investing in California’s Transportation Future: Public Opinion on Critical Need, Californians want the state to invest in transportation systems that are safer, greener, and more efficient.
“Respondents sent a crystal-clear message about their desire for safer and better maintained transportation options,” observed Dr. Asha Weinstein Agrawal, one of the study’s authors and Director of MTI’s National Transportation Finance Center. Three-quarters of Californians rated it as “very important” that the state improve maintenance of roads and highways (78%). Almost as high a priority was reducing crashes and improving safety (75%).
Making it more convenient to get around without driving was a priority for just over half. Specific options to achieve this that received large support include more frequent public transit service and discounting fares for low-income Californians, as well as building bicycle paths.
The public also wants to see changes to the transportation system that will improve the environment. More than half (58%) thought it a “very important” goal to reduce emissions of air pollutants and greenhouse gases from the transportation sector and had medium or high support for creating new electric vehicle charging stations.
“These findings held across the state and among different types of people,” explained study co-author Dr. Hilary Nixon. The study found very similar priorities among respondents from different regions, from respondents in urban, suburban, and small town or rural areas, and from respondents with different personal characteristics. For example, 92% of the highest-income respondents vs. 92% of the lowest-income respondents placed medium or high priority on maintaining local roads.
The online survey data was collected from a representative sample of 3,574 adults living in California. Respondents completed the survey prior to the COVID-19 global pandemic.
ABOUT THE MINETA TRANSPORTATION INSTITUTE
At the Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) at San Jose State University (SJSU) our mission is to increase mobility for all by improving the safety, efficiency, accessibility, and convenience of our nation's transportation system. Through research, education, workforce development and technology transfer, we help create a connected world. MTI was founded in 1991 and is funded through the US Departments of Transportation and Homeland Security, the California Department of Transportation, and public and private grants. MTI is affiliated with SJSU’s Lucas College and Graduate School of Business.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Asha Weinstein Agrawal, PhD, is Director of the Mineta Transportation Institute’s National Transportation Finance Center. Hilary Nixon, PhD, is Deputy Executive Director of the Mineta Transportation Institute.
MTI Communications and Operations Manager