Traffic Congestion is a Serious Problem in One-Third of U.S. Communities
Traffic congestion and its accompanying delays are a fact of life in many communities and for many adults in the United States. According to a recent Harris Poll conducted online within the U.S. by the Harris Interactive market research firm, just over one-third (37%) of the adult respondents say that traffic congestion is a serious problem in their communities, while one-quarter say traffic congestion is a serious problem that is not being addressed.
Twelve percent say it is a serious problem that is being addressed. Less than two in five (39%) say traffic is a moderate problem and 21 percent say it is not a problem at all.
Region appears to play a role in the results of the poll. Just one-quarter (26%) of those who live in the Midwest and 32 percent of those in the South say traffic congestion is a serious problem. In the East, over one-third (37%) say traffic congestion is a serious problem. Compare this to the West, where over half (56%) of the respondents believe traffic congestion is a serious problem.
Another question asked if U.S. residents would accept a congestion tax to alleviate the problems.
Recently, the city of London introduced a controversial congestion tax as a way to help reduce traffic levels and the problems that accompany congestion. While acceptance of the tax seems to be going smoothly in London, U.S. adults do not appear to be as ready to embrace such a congestion tax in their cities.
According to the poll, two-thirds (66%) of adults oppose such a tax with half (51%) saying they strongly oppose it. Just 22 percent say they support it. Even among those who say traffic in their community is a serious problem, most would not support such a tax. Only three in ten (29%) of those who say traffic is a serious problem support a congestion tax while 61 percent oppose it.
This may be an issue of the importance of cars to Americans and the lack of good public transportation in many U.S. cities, not just a case of not wanting to pay another tax.
Other findings in the Harris Poll include:
–Over two in five (44%) of those who use public transportation to get to work say traffic congestion is a serious and unaddressed problem in their community while less than one-quarter (23%) of those who drive themselves to work share this sentiment. This may reflect the greater use of public transportation in larger cities.
–Just over half (55%) of adults drive themselves to work while only four percent each take public transportation, walk, or are part of a carpool.
–Those in the East are more likely to drive themselves to work (58%) and are also more likely to take public transportation (8%), while seven percent of those in the West say they are part of a carpool.
The Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between January 11 and 18, 2007, among 2,337 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race, education, region, and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.
Harris Interactive is the 12th largest market research firm in the world. The company provides research-driven insights and strategic advice to help its clients make more confident decisions that lead to measurable and enduring improvements in performance. Harris Interactive is widely known for The Harris Poll, one of the longest running, independent opinion polls and for pioneering online market research methods.