ETC Institute, in association with Parsons Brinckerhoff, conducted a survey of residents in the 10-County Region of Tennessee that includes Cheatham, Davidson, Dickson, Maury, Montgomery, Robertson, Rutherford, Sumner, Williamson, and Wilson during June and July of 2010. The purpose of the survey was to gather input from residents regarding issues and opportunities relating to transportation planning for the region. The Nashville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization sponsored the study.
Some of the specific topics that were addressed in the survey included:
- Perceptions of current transportation issues.
- The degree of problems relating to various issues.
- Commute issues for those who worked outside of the home.
- Methods of transportation used.
- Potential solutions to easing travel in the future.
- The importance of various issues to transportation improvements.
- Preferred sources of funding for transportation improvements.
- Transportation status compared to other County issues.
Perceptions of Current Transportation Issues:
Those surveyed were asked about their level of satisfaction with various transportation issues.
The issues with which residents were most satisfied were:
- The maintenance of roadways in their area (63%),
- Overall levels of roadway congestion in their area (54%), and
- How walkable their community is (49%).
Of least satisfaction was:
- How safe it is to ride a bicycle in their community (42%), and
- The availability of mass transit services in their area (29%).
Lack of transit options was considered the transportation issue that was the greatest problem in Middle Tennessee, followed by the lack of walking and bicycling options.
The Realities of Commute Travel: Fifty-five percent (55%) of those surveyed work outside of the home. When asked about their commute, 20 miles was the mean distance to work and 33 minutes was the mean time it took. With regard to the level of traffic congestion, 28% indicated that they experienced heavy congestion, 45% experienced some congestion, and 27% experienced no congestion.
Method of Travel by Residents: Ninety percent (90%) of those surveyed normally got to and from their frequent destinations by car. Eight percent (8%) were a part of a carpool, 3% took the bus, and 2% walked.
Alternate means of Transportation: Those surveyed were asked if anyone in their household used public transit, and 13% did. Eighteen percent (18%) said they walked or biked for reasons other than exercise.
Transportation Priority: Three strategies for improving transportation in Middle Tennessee were provided to those surveyed, and they were asked to prioritize the strategies; the first choice was to improve and expand mass transit options, the second choice was to build new or widen existing roadways, and the third choice was to make communities more walkable and bicycle friendly.
The findings from this study were used in the development of the 2035 Regional Transportation Plan.