The February 13, 2020 Authority business meeting kicked off with Keith Jasper, Principal, Transportation Planning and Programming, NVTA, and Dee Allsop, Ph.D., Founding Partner, Heart+Mind Strategies, presenting the results of NVTA’s 2019 Transportation Perception Survey, which tracks changes in transportation attitudes and priorities in the DMV region. The 616 survey respondents were age 18+ and residents of Northern Virginia, but employment locations included Virginia, Maryland and the District.

This latest survey builds upon previous surveys of transportation-related public perceptions/awareness conducted in 2015 and 2016, as part of NVTA’s long-range transportation plan, TransAction, update.

Findings include:

  • Concern about traffic congestion on quality of life decreases to 26% (vs. 33% in 2016), and the focus turns to areas like housing. Although, reducing traffic congestion and improving transportation options to improve quality of life, still ranked the highest.
  • Traffic congestion is also less influential when choosing where to live (17%) vs. where to work (42%).
    • Residents focus on essentials like safety, affordability, opportunity and ease of commuting when considering where to live or work. Social opportunities and walkable communities are secondary.
  • Residents report their normal commute time is 3 minutes faster (since 2016); slight decline in number of residents who drive to work (62% in 2016 vs. 59% in 2019)
    • 30 minutes a normal commute for survey takers; fastest commute 21.7 minutes; max acceptable 36.8 minutes
  • A majority now say the region is doing a mostly “good job” on key transportation priorities impacting quality of life (56% 2019; 51% 2016; 43% 2015)
  • Among potential projects, new/extended Metro rail lines top the list for those surveyed. When asked how they’d prioritize investments, residents distribute most funds to roads and rail/transit.
  • Residents describe self-driving cars as “scary,” “unsafe” or “dangerous,” with a smaller group also categorizing them as “good.”

The survey was conducted on NVTA’s behalf by an independent research company, Heart+Mind Strategies, in December 2019. The full results can be viewed here.