Poll: Traffic in U.S. is Getting Far Worse

| by Reason Foundation

By Emily Ekins

The recent Reason-Rupe public opinion poll called 1,200 adults on landline and mobile phones providing a snapshot of public opinion regarding transportation policy issues. A majority of Americans believe their area’s transportation system is only in fair or even poor condition, while just 6 percent believe it is in excellent condition.

Nearly half of Americans say traffic congestion has gotten worse over the past five years and 54 percent expect traffic congestion to get worse over the next five years. In fact, 31 percent reported getting stuck in traffic jams at least a few times a week; however, another 30 percent say they never get stuck in traffic jams.

Despite traffic problems on the roads, only 6 percent of Americans say they use public transportation, such as buses, subways, or trains, every day; another 6 percent use public transit a few times a week. In contrast, 63 percent say they never use public transit, implying that most Americans primarily use roads and highways rather than public transit. Carpooling has also not caught on as a solution to congestion with only 4 percent saying they typically travel to work via carpool; instead, a majority drive alone.

Work commutes vary substantially, with 25 percent getting to work within 10 minutes while another quarter spending 30 minutes or more commuting. Some live close to work, with 28 percent living within five miles of their jobs, but another quarter travel 20 miles or more to work each day.

Find full Reason-Rupe Q4 2011 poll results, question wording, and methodology here.

The Reason-Rupe Q4 2011 poll collected a nationally representative sample of 1,200 respondents, aged 18 and older from all 50 states and the District of Columbia using live telephone interviews from December 1-13. Interviews were conducted on both landline and mobile phones. The margin of sampling error for this poll is +/- 3 percent.