Survey: Investing in Mass Transit Key to Economic...
Benjamin de la Peña

Benjamin de la Peña Former Associate Director, Foundation Initiatives

July 24, 2013

Survey: Investing in Mass Transit Key to Economic Growth and Job Creation

Bquilla-2012-06-plataforma - Carlos Felipe Pardo
The TransMetro system in Barranquilla, June 2012. Photo credit: Carlos Felipe Pardo

As part of the Foundation’s focus on transforming cities, we’re supporting local efforts to build bus rapid transit (BRT) systems in Boston, Chicago, Nashville, and Pittsburgh. We recently funded research that examines voters’ perceptions and attitudes towards mass transit and their support for BRT in all four cities.

Announced today, the survey findings illustrate a growing awareness among residents that investments in mass transit are key to economic growth and job creation. They also shed light on the important role mass transit plays in making cities more livable, and the strong potential for BRT to alleviate commuter’s concerns related to reliability, accessibility and travel speeds.

Summary of findings:

  • A majority say that it is important to invest in public transportation to ensure communities continue to grow and thrive—Boston (91 percent agree), Chicago (71 percent agree), Nashville (63 percent agree) and Pittsburgh (89 percent agree).
  • Many also believe good public transportation helps improve the economy and create jobs—Boston (90 percent agree), Chicago (88 percent agree), Nashville (85 percent agree) and Pittsburgh (85 percent agree).
  • In addition, a majority of voters surveyed in each city support bringing Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) to their communities—Boston (52 percent support), Chicago (59 percent support), Nashville (77 percent support) and Pittsburgh (66 percent support).
  • More than six-in-ten voters in each city would take BRT instead of driving or other forms of public transit if it made their commute faster.
  • A majority of voters in the four cities say they would pay an additional 10 cents a day for better, more reliable public transportation options that reduce their commute—Boston (75 percent agree), Chicago (71 percent agree), Nashville (63 percent agree) and Pittsburgh (70 percent agree).
  • The surveys also showed that voters across the four cities found “reliability” and “accessibility” as the top benefits of BRT, followed by faster travel times.
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