Americans Want More Public Transit, Not Roads

elsie via Flickr/CC BY 2.0

The car is supposed to be king in America; along with 'freedom' and bearing arms, driving comprises a crucial plank in the foundation of our mad men-manufactured mythology. Telling Americans to drive less is like telling an eagle to fly less, amiright?

Then why, when questioned in circumstances drained of patriotic machismo, do those same Americans turn out to heavily favor public transit over more space for our automobiles? Because they do, by a two-to-one margin.

The NRDC has the numbers:

NRDC/via

They come from an extensive survey the green group carried out, focusing on Americans who live in suburban areas. You'll notice the bulk of the respondents, Democratic and Republican alike, would rather their taxpayer dollars be directed towards buses and trains than paving new routes for their freedomobiles. Here's more:

NRDC/via

Streetsblog parses the findings:

When asked what would solve traffic problems in their community, 42 percent of Americans say more transit. Only 20 percent say more roads. And 21 percent would like to see communities developed that don’t require so much driving. Two-thirds support local planning that guides new development into existing cities and near public transportation ...

Of the national respondents, only about a third had taken transit or a bike any time in the last month, and only two-thirds had ever done so. But even they support local investment in transit by more than a two-to-one margin.

These findings run contrary to the predominant attitude that's swept into public policy-making along with the Tea Party—that is, gut funding for rail, transit, and anything else that's not fortunate enough to be a highway. Yet suburban Americans clearly support further investment in public transportation—and well they should. It might be the only thing that prevents their homes from eventually turning into slums.

Tags: Car-Free | Public Transportation

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