The Path of Least Resistance: Identifying Supporters of Public and Active Transportation Projects

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - universities, economics - finance, ridership - attitudes, planning - public consultation


transportation projects, local support, public and active transportation projects, transportation investment


The financing and implementation of transportation projects are more likely to be successful with the support of local communities. Hence, for cities and transportation agencies to develop strategies that will improve public acceptability and reduce resistance to funding transportation projects, it is important to understand differences in the levels of local support. This study used a factor-cluster analysis to segment a university population, to understand current levels of support toward transportation investments, and seek out important allies to endorse public and active transportation projects. The results of the study reveal five clusters of individuals with varying opinions toward transportation investments and distinct motivations. Strong advocates are the greatest allies for promoting public and active transportation investments. They support financing public and active transportation projects, and are well positioned to endorse the necessity and advantages of such investments. Highway and transit funders are motivated by their dissatisfaction with the current transportation system. Cycling advocates are valuable in publicizing the benefits of expanding the bicycle network. Infrequent commuters do not travel to the university as often as the other groups, and are supportive of transportation investments in general. Despite the overall positive opinion toward investing in public and active transportation projects, there is a minority of funding opponents who are generally against financing transportation projects. The results of this study will be helpful for policy makers intending to communicate the benefits of transportation projects to various community groups.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Transportation Research Board, Washington, copyright remains with them.