AUSTIN, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--As transportation industry experts from around the world gather in Austin for the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association’s 82nd Annual Meeting & Exhibition, Sept. 14-17, infrastructure solutions firm HNTB Corporation announces the results of a new America THINKS tolling survey, including the public’s views on tolling in the Lone Star State.
According to the new survey, close to 3 in 4 (73 percent) Texans who regularly drive on roads or bridges with tolls are pleased with the value they receive for the fare paid. Fewer drivers on toll roads or bridges across the nation (65 percent) are satisfied with the value they get for the toll they pay.
In fact, more than 4 in 5 (85 percent) Texans also could be influenced to use toll roads more often. Top motivators for those who would use toll roads more in reaching their destination more quickly include, if the toll road made their travel time faster and more reliable (73 percent) and if it helped them avoid traffic (71 percent). Improving infrastructure also is a driving force, as nearly half (49 percent) would use toll roads more if they knew the money was going toward a worthwhile transportation cause, such as roadway repairs, new roads or improved local public transit.
And close to 6 in 10 (59 percent) would be pushed toward these routes if the fare was lower. Texans want the toll-paying process to be convenient when traveling outside of their area. More than 4 in 5 believe that if they have an electronic toll tag, it should work in other states in their region (86 percent) or nationwide (84 percent).
Tolling adds capacity
Texas has toll roads in many major metropolitan areas, including Austin, Dallas and Houston, and more than 10 million active toll transponders. Like the nation as a whole, the state is facing an avalanche of transportation funding needs.
“Tolling is becoming the solution of choice for generating additional user-based transportation revenue,” said Scott Cooper, PE, HNTB national toll practice consultant and vice president. “The Texas Department of Transportation and regional toll authorities are using tolls and toll roads to manage congestion and add capacity that otherwise would have taken decades longer to get from the drawing board to the construction site.”
Despite this history of success, fewer Texans (55 percent) than Americans as a whole (61 percent) are likely to support tolls as part of a transportation project’s funding if there are insufficient funds from other sources.
Public transportation gets approving nod
The survey suggests public transportation usage could go up if tolls were in place. Nearly 3 in 5 (56 percent) Texans would be more likely to choose riding a bus if buses were an option on a toll road and it meant a safer, congestion-free and more reliable trip.
Many Texas residents are split as to whether or not they should have to pay tolls anytime they drive on a toll road (51 percent), vs. just when the toll road saves them time (49 percent). In fact, the latter is true, the former is not; and Cooper said additional education could help address that issue.
However, more than 7 in 10 (72 percent) Texans think toll agencies should put drivers on probation or fine them for skipping on the fares they are supposed to pay. In fact, more than half (55 percent) think toll authorities should collect fines from offenders, and, on average, those who think fines should be collected say a $34 fine sounds reasonable.
About the Texas state survey
HNTB’s America THINKS Texas tolling survey polled a random sample of 1,046 Texans Aug. 22-29, 2014. It was conducted by Kelton, which used an e-mail invitation and online survey. Quotas were set to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the total U.S. population ages 18 and over. The margin of error is +/- 3 percent.
About the national survey
HNTB’s America THINKS national tolling survey polled a random nationwide sample of 1,090 Americans Aug. 21-28, 2014. It was conducted by Kelton, which used an e-mail invitation and online survey. Quotas were set to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the total U.S. population ages 18 and over. The margin of error is +/- 3 percent.
HNTB Corporation is an employee-owned infrastructure firm serving public and private owners and contractors. Now celebrating a century of service in the U.S. and more than six decades in Texas, HNTB continues to grow in size and service offerings to clients from seven office locations employing more than 300 full-time professionals. HNTB understands the life cycle of infrastructure and solves clients’ most complex technical, financial and operational challenges. Professionals nationwide deliver a full range of infrastructure-related services, including award-winning planning, design, program management and construction management. For more information, visit www.hntb.com.
[Editor’s note: results of the national survey are available at news.hntb.com.]