Survey Shows Rails Still Rule… Kind Of

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The Urban Phoenix has begun a series of small “initial” single-question surveys through Google Surveys in an effort to gain and share knowledge with regard to how people perceive our cities today.  Note that the data below cannot be considered “statistically significant” (mostly due to a relatively small sample size of 255) enough to make any formal conclusions, but we can make some basic assessments from the results that might guide future research.

Light rail and streetcar projects have recently come under a concerned microscope with regard to ridership numbers and overall practicality.  The struggles of the Cincinnati Bell and the QLine streetcar in Detroit, just to name a couple, have caused planners to pull back the reins on potential streetcar projects across the nation.

But the reality is that people generally still perceive trains as the preferred mode of mass transit.  In a short single-question survey, the UP asked what cities should focus on with regard to transit.

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While not overwhelmingly, more respondents still thought that their cities should focus more on rail-based solutions than any of the other three options.  As much as our city leaders are beginning to show hesitation with regard to streetcars and rail systems, this initial data suggests that this form of transit is still in higher favor with citizens.

The other side of the coin is that, while 35% of responses were in favor of rail initiatives, 65% of the population was in favor of something different.  While rail was the most frequent answer, 65% of respondents chose a different option.

Though this small study offers no conclusion, it is a curious look into what the general population prefers with regard to transit priorities for our urban areas.