An Assessment og Road User Needs in a Rural Environment

There are two major players in the transportation system: users and providers. Traditionally, public agencies (transportation agencies at the federal, state, county, and local level) held most of the decision making powers related to transportation. These decisions pertain to the physical infrastructure and the operating characteristics of roadways. Infrastructure issues include financing and programming of building, improving, and maintaining highway transportation structures. Operational issues include regulations, enforcement, and taxing of users. A multitude of federal and state laws were established to assure the efficient and safe use of the nation 's transportation infrastructure. Road users on the other hand, include motorists and motor carriers who utilize the highway transportation system. These users finance some of the costs of the transportation system by paying taxes and user fees. Road users typically expect adequate road services to be provided by governmental agencies. Users of transportation services participate in directing some road decisions through public input mechanisms and input to elected officials. However, in many cases, there will still be differences between perceptions of providers and users. To fill this gap, new federal policy had specifically mandated transportation agencies to adopt active and effective public participation plans. The new transportation plans developed according to !STEA requirements consider input from extensive public involvement process. However, these efforts are still rudimentary in many states. In addition, user groups targeted for participation are usually located in urban centers where most of the population and economic activities are located. Even in these areas, citizen participation is limited. This paper summarizes the results of a study on direct assessment of rural user needs. The objective of the study was to assess rural road users and providers perception of rural road needs. Different rural road user groups were identified to obtain a representative sample of v perceptions. User groups targeted in the study included: commuters, mail carriers, school bus drivers, and farmers. An attitudinal survey was developed and administered to these groups. The survey yielded a good return rate, suggesting that more road users are becoming aware of road management and finance issues. This paper summarizes the development of the survey and discusses major findings.

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MPC Report

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2017-08-29

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