A recent poll by Transportation for America found a solid majority of American’s support improving public transportation, such as trains and buses, to make it easier to walk and bike and reduce traffic congestion.
“In small towns and big cities alike, Americans are saying loudly and clearly that their lives would be better, and their nation stronger, if we had world-class public transportation and more options for walking and bicycling,” Geoff Anderson, co-chair of Transportation for America, said of the results.
Of 800 voters surveyed by telephone, 59% agreed that “we need to improve public transportation, including trains and buses, and make it easier to walk and bike to help reduce traffic congestion.
Only 38% agreed that the United States needs to build more roads and expand existing roads to help reduce traffic congestion.
So fume-spewing bottlenecks of cars will soon be replaced by speeding pelotons of bike commuters. Right?
Maybe. Someday. But this poll doesn’t seem to dig deeply into people’s interest in biking and walking.
The poll questions wrapped several concepts together, making it difficult to parse exactly what people were agreeing with. They focused less on whether people want to bike and walk and more on the need for public transportation. One thing does seem clear: people are sick of traffic congestion.
Regardless of the ambiguities, U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood, who recently announced major new US investment in biking and walking infrastructure, touted the survey results on his blog as evidence that the public is ready for expanding public transportation
First, however, LaHood engaged in some pedaling of his own – in the reverse direction. Giving a shout out to his frienemies in the American trucking industry, who took umbrage with his recent call to end the tyranny of motorized transportation, LaHood acknowledged that cars are here to stay.
“And we are always going to rely on the hardworking trucking community to haul our nation’s freight.” he added. Seems he’s had a breakfast meeting or two with the trucking lobby since he declared an “end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of non-motorized.”
But LaHood also saw the poll results as vindication for his push for more public transportation and biking and walking options.
“As the New York Times Green Inc column noted yesterday, this idea generated a huge outpouring of support on Facebook, Twitter, my Fastlane page, and other blogs,” LaHood wrote. “A lot of people out there are enthusiastic about a return to a healthier, greener American mobility.”