NVTA’s 2019 Transportation Perception Survey Results

Feb 19, 2020

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.

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