Results of Poll on Transportation Investment
Angus Reid Forum conducted a poll between April 4 and 7, 2014 on a wide range of topics about transportation investment in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA). The poll was on behalf of Move the GTHA, a collaborative group of organizations working together to support investment in the GTHA transportation system.
Below is a summary of key finding from the result. Additionally, a full listing of poll results are available here.
Conducted by Angus Reid Forum, one of Canada’s leading online research panels, the poll was based on a random sample of 1,042 GTHA residents within the panel (which is comprised of over one hundred thousand Canadians nationwide), proportional to age/gender/region.
Travel Behaviour and Demographics
Consistent with expectations, 62% of respondents used a car most often to travel, ranging from 83% in Durham to 45% in Toronto. The mean one-way travel time to work or school was 44 minutes, with the longest times being in Durham, Peel and York Regions.
Most respondents (77%) were homeowners and almost all (89%) had access to a car.
Prioritization of Transportation Investment
a) There was a clear consensus across all groups (87% strongly or somewhat agree) that public transit and road/bridge/highway infrastructure should be a regional spending priority
b) Residents recognize that transportation investments produce shared benefits (challenging the “driver vs. transit user” narrative)
- When asked who benefits from improvements to the GTHA’s transportation systems 80% of residents responded “everyone.” Only 6% responded that improvements primarily benefit drivers, and 13% replied that improvements primarily benefit transit users.
c) There is clear demand for political leadership on new funding for transportation improvements
- 59% of residents would be more likely to support a political leader who brought in new funding sources that directly supported improvements to their community’s transportation options. Only 12% responded they would be less likely to support a leader with such an agenda, with 29% indicating a mixed opinion. Support was highest in Peel region (62%), Toronto (60%), and York Region (59%).
d) A majority of residents are willing to support an increase in taxes and fees in order to improve our transportation system
- 60% of respondents stated they would support an increase in taxes and fees to improve public transit infrastructure, with 60% also indicating support for an increase to improve road, bridge, and highway infrastructure in the GTHA. In both cases, there was good support from all regions across the GTHA.
Support for Key Principles
The majority of respondents were more likely to be supportive of new revenue sources if:
a) Funds were put into a dedicated fund that would only be used for transportation (83%);
b) Some of the money was spent on roads and bridges (91%); improving existing transit service (86%); improving walking and cycling (61%)
c) They could see system benefits right away (82%)
Support for Individual Revenue Tools
The levels of support for specific tools for investment in transit and in roads/bridges/highways were almost identical. The Table below shows the percentage of respondents supporting specific tools for transit investment.
As expected, there were some regional, gender and age differences in the levels of support for the various tools, but these differences typically were not large.
Recognizing that all new taxes and fees are controversial with the public, there were a number of tools that achieved a good degree of support from residents, including increasing corporate income tax, increasing developer charges, implementation of HOT lanes and implementing a business-owner parking levy.