Recent poll found transportation is top of mind for Massachusetts residents

Courtesy of Chris Rycroft/Creative Commons

11/18/23 By Gandharvika Gopal

A MassINC poll published Friday found that many state residents are concerned with local transportation and don’t believe legislators are addressing the issues. Few Massachusetts residents felt “very safe” on transportation systems, the poll found, and less than one-third of respondents graded Gov. Maura Healey and state lawmakers above a C for public transportation.

The poll covered multiple problem areas for various forms of transportation across the state. While responses varied based on transportation used in different areas, many results suggested safety as a top issue across categories: Drivers were most concerned with reckless or distracted driving and speeding, cyclists with other vehicle drivers, and transit riders with crime, violence, and outdated infrastructure. 

“The state of the T and other public transit systems is the top transportation issue cited by residents, followed by traffic congestion and road conditions,” the poll found. For traffic concerns, 52% of participants felt that traffic in their respective areas was worse than before the COVID-19 pandemic. This was especially true for residents in proximity to Interstate 495. 

The poll also tracked statistics based on race and other demographic information. Black, Latino and Asian American and Pacific Islander residents generally felt safer on most modes of transportation. However, only 26% of Black respondents felt very safe walking in their own communities, in comparison to 40% of white residents, 38% of Latino residents and 44% of AAPI residents. 

While most respondents ranked Healey and state legislators as average for leadership in transportation, 58% of respondents supported Healey’s proposal for a real estate transfer fee. 

The administration suggests a “local option of adopting a real estate transaction fee of 0.5 percent to 2 percent on the portion of a property sale over $1 million – or the county median home sale price,” as described by an October press release from the governor’s office. 

The MassInc poll was sponsored by The Barr Foundation, and was based on 1,390 respondents. “Responses were collected by online survey and live interviews via landline and cell phones October 23 – November 6, 2023,” the poll says. Results in different demographics like race, gender, and age were weighted based on other identifiers like geography and political identification to reflect the estimated adult population of Massachusetts.