Why It’s So Hard to Convince the Public on Transportation Projects

Engineers and the general public often hold attitudes on transportation topics that directly contradict core tenets of the transportation planning profession, and those differences are especially stark when it comes to reducing the use of automobiles, a new study found.

The contrasts start with the purpose of transportation policy itself. The study, conducted by several planning professors and published in the Journal of Planning Education and Research, found 83% of transportation planning students supported the goal of reducing driving, compared to only 52% of engineering students. The public was even more skeptical. Just 31% of respondents agreed with that goal…

Kelcie Ralph, a Rutgers university planning professor and one of the authors of the study, said one of the most striking findings was the difference in how people explained why American society had become so oriented around automobiles.