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There are two major players in the transportation system: users and decision makers. The decision makers referred to in this study include county engineers, county road supervisors, and county commissioners. Their decisions pertain to the physical infrastructure and operating characteristics of roadways. Infrastructure issues include financing and building, improving, and maintaining highway transportation structures. Operational issues include regulations, enforcement, and taxing of users. Federal and state laws were established to assure efficient and safe use of the nation’s transportation infrastructure. Road users include motorists and motor carriers. These users finance some costs of the transportation system by paying taxes and user fees. Road users expect adequate road services to be provided by governmental agencies. They participate in directing some road decisions through public input mechanisms and input to elected officials. However, in many cases, there are differences between perceptions of providers and users. This paper summarizes the results of a study on direct assessment of rural user needs in three states including Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota. The objective 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 perceptions. User groups targeted in the study included commuters, delivery services, mail carriers, school bus drivers, and farmers. An attitudinal survey was administered to these groups. The survey yielded good return rates in each of the states, suggesting that more road users are becoming aware of road management and finance issues. This paper summarizes development of the survey and discusses major findings.


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