Voters in Boston, Chicago, Nashville, and Pittsburgh say investments in public transit are key to community development, economic growth, and job creation, according to a new survey commissioned by the Rockefeller Foundation and conducted by Global Strategy Group.
A significant majority of those surveyed agree that it is important to invest in public transportation to ensure that communities continue to grow and thrive: Boston, 91 percent; Chicago, 71 percent; Nashville, 63 percent; and Pittsburgh, 89 percent.
The vast majority also agree that good public transportation helps improve the economy and create jobs: Boston, 90 percent; Chicago, 88 percent; and Nashville and Pittsburgh, 85 percent each.
In addition, a majority of voters support bringing Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) to each of the four cities surveyed: Boston, 52 percent; Chicago, 59 percent; Nashville, 77 percent; and Pittsburgh, 66 percent.
“The survey findings illustrate a growing awareness among residents that, in order to achieve a strong, vibrant economy and improve access to employment opportunities, there must be greater investment in public transportation,” said Benjamin de la Peña, associate director of the Rockefeller Foundation. “As city planners and elected officials evaluate mass transit options in their communities, BRT should be on top of the list because it’s one the fastest and most cost-effective ways to expand and modernize public transportation.”
According to the survey, more than six in 10 voters in each city said they would use BRT instead of driving or take other forms of public transit if it made their commute faster, and a majority of survey participants said they would pay an additional 10 cents a day for better, more reliable public transportation options that reduce their commute. Survey participants in all four cities said reliability and accessibility are the top benefits of BRT, followed by faster travel times.
“If done right, the benefits of BRT can go beyond improvements in transportation speed, reliability, and accessibility,” de la Peña said. “High-quality BRT systems can also make communities more livable by enhancing overall quality of life for transit riders and drivers, improving air quality, and connecting more people to more jobs and services.”
Global Strategy Group conducted a public opinion survey among 2,000 registered voters in Boston, Chicago, Nashville, and Pittsburgh between Feb. 20 and June 5, including 500 live telephone interviews with representative samples of registered voters broken down by geography, gender, age, and ethnicity.
The Rockefeller Foundation supports work around the world that expands opportunity and strengthens resilience to social, economic, health, and environmental challenges.
More information about the survey is available here.