Public perceptions of toll roads: A survey of the Texas perspective
Like many U.S. states, Texas is experiencing shortfalls in transportation funding, along with growing needs for system improvements. Accordingly, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is turning to tolling to bridge the funding gap. To assist planning efforts and effectively direct public information, a telephone survey of 2111 Texans was undertaken statewide to gauge public opinion on tolling issues. Some issues yielded a definite consensus among survey respondents. Over 70% agreed on attending to existing roads first, keeping existing roads toll-free, reducing tolls after construction, using revenues within the same region, charging higher tolls for trucks, not imposing SOV tolls, and maintaining the same toll rates during rush-hours. Some opinions varied by region. Austinites were more likely to support additional transportation spending, while residents of the Lower Rio Grande Valley were less supportive of raising the gas tax and of public/private partnerships. Opinions also varied with survey design. In eight places in the survey, optional text was provided or question order was modified to intentionally influence response. For two questions, support for tolling was decreased when information on personal transportation costs and higher gas tax rates in other states was offered. Ordered probit and binomial and multinomial logit models were estimated to assess the impact of demographic and travel characteristics on respondent opinions, and results for key issues are presented here. Opinions across demographic groups also were examined. The survey was successful at measuring opinions on several key tolling issues and should prove a useful tool for transportation planners and policymakers.
Volume (Year): 40 (2006)
Issue (Month): 10 (December)
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