PSRC conducted a representative survey of over 1,900 residents from the four-county region on aspects of regional transportation beginning in March 2021.
The survey covered public needs within existing transportation infrastructure, motivators or barriers to the use of public transportation, priorities for the future regional transportation system, and the impact of COVID-19 on travel and work behavior. Follow up interviews were conducted to explore feedback shared in the survey and hear more from individuals about their personal experience of the transportation system.
Respondents were asked to choose their top 3 priorities for a complete and reliable transportation system. This chart shows the top responses.
“Well-maintained roads and highways are important nationally! It doesn’t matter where; safety is important anywhere – whether it’s regional or local roads.” -Spanish interview group
Overall results from the representative survey showed that reliable, well-maintained roads and highways were the top priority for respondents, followed by high speed rail connecting to places in and outside the region and reliable, well-connected transit service for local neighborhoods.
Follow up interviews on this question also showed support for the expansion of the public transit system with desire for frequent and accessible options for getting around the region without a personal vehicle. Interviewees also suggested that high speed rail was viewed by respondents as the light rail system and several respondents specifically said their priority is the speedy, continued expansion of the light rail system.
Transit service is the highest-rated infrastructure across the region among those who responded.
Survey respondents rated transit as the highest rated infrastructure component where they live and where they work. Other well rated infrastructure included sidewalks and crosswalks, infrastructure for people with disabilities, lighting, protected bike facilities, and road conditions.
“By and large, areas that don’t have sidewalks are areas that need sidewalks the most.”
-English interview group
However, interviewees stated certain elements of infrastructure were lacking near where they live and work. Many said the sidewalks near where they live do not meet their needs because they are not well-maintained, cracked, jagged, have puddles when it’s raining, or end abruptly. Others identified infrastructure for people with disabilities, lack of lighting and lack of protection from weather as missing elements
Motivation for using public transportation
Respondents to the representative survey said easier access to transit and shorter trip times are most likely to motivate respondents to use public transit across the region. Across the region, many respondents plan to drive alone or walk at least three days per week after the pandemic.
Interviewees travel around the region in a variety of ways, including public transit, personal vehicles, ridehail services, walking, and biking. Many are using public transit less now than they were before the COVID-19 pandemic, mainly because of health concerns, working from home, or cost-saving measures.
“I have a disability and cannot move around very easily. Because of the current road construction detouring my bus routes, I need to walk a long way to get to the bus stop. Since there are hills around where I live, it becomes very inconvenient to take the bus. - Mandarin interview group
Other motivators to taking public transit more often included:
- Access to park and rides
- More frequent buses that are consistently on-time
- Protect and improve the environment
- An opportunity to relax and unwind from the day
- Avoiding parking issues like limited parking and high parking fees
About the survey method
The survey was fielded through randomized mailings, outreach through community based organizations and flyers posted in grocery stores. Responses were collected in English, Spanish, simplified Chinese, traditional Chinese and Vietnamese. To validate and build upon information in the survey, 22 interviews were conducted with individuals in four languages: English, Mandarin, Spanish, and Vietnamese. To increase representation by groups who are historically underrepresented, priority was given to individuals aged 18-34, people with a disability or has someone in their household with a disability, and/or people with household incomes less than $50,000.
We still want to hear from you! The survey is posted online with additional questions on specialized transportation needs and services.