Understanding Public Opinion Regarding Transit in Southeast Michigan
April 02, 2015Mineta Transportation Institute
This report presents findings from a study on public opinion regarding transit in Southeast Michigan. The overall goals of this study were to assess the nature of public opinion regarding regional transit and to understand its relation to socio-demographic characteristics, political attitudes and orientations, and geographical characteristics of respondents. Results from the study were interpreted toward the identification of key recommendations for building a positive public opinion regarding transit in future transit initiatives in Southeast Michigan. The project consisted of three phases – Phase 1: a pilot mail survey; Phase 2: an educational effort; and Phase 3: a comprehensive phone and email survey. In the last phase, an ad hoc survey was designed based on the review of past public opinion surveys, local media coverage on public opinion about transit,1 and previous educational campaigns. A sample of 799 likely-voters in four counties of Southeast Michigan provided opinions for this project. Results provide insight on how public opinion relates to respondents’ socio-demographic, political, and geographical characteristics. In addition, a set of recommendations on how to enhance the success of future campaign initiatives and public opinion efforts for the Metro Detroit region and comparable regions is also provided. Key elements for such efforts include public education about transit, clarity about transit funds spending, accountability measures, and transparency of transit plans and decision-making processes. Specific recommendations for campaign messaging for Southeast Michigan are also included in this report.