There are two major players in the transportation system: users and decision makers. Traditionally, public agencies (transportation agencies at the federal, state, county, and local level) held most of the decision-making powers related to transportation. The decision makers referred to in this study include county engineers, county road supervisors, and county commissioners. These decisions pertain to the physical infrastructure and operating characteristics of roadways. Infrastructure issues include financing and programming of building, improving, and maintaining highway transportation structures. Operational issues include regulations, enforcement, and taxing of users. A multitude of federal and state laws were established to assure efficient and safe use of the nation's transportation infrastructure. Road users, on the other hand, include motorists and motor carriers who utilize the highway transportation system. These users finance some costs of the transportation system by paying taxes and user fees. Road users typically expect adequate road services to be provided by governmental agencies. Users of transportation services participate in directing some road decisions through public input mechanisms and input to elected officials. However, in many cases, there still will be differences between perceptions of providers and users. To fill this gap, new federal policy specifically had mandated transportation agencies to adopt active and effective public participation plans. The transportation plans developed according to the 1991 Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) requirements and continued in the Transportation Equity Act of the 21st Century (TEA-21) consider input from extensive public involvement process. However, these efforts still are rudimentary in many states. In addition, user groups targeted for participation usually are located in urban centers where most of the population and economic activities are located. Even in these areas, citizen participation is limited. This paper summarizes the results of a study on direct assessment of rural user needs in three states - Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota. The objective of the study was to assess rural road user and provider perceptions of rural road needs. Different rural road user groups were identified to obtain a representative sample of perceptions. User groups targeted in the study included commuters, delivery services, mail carriers, school bus drivers, and farmers. An attitudinal survey was developed and administered to these groups. The survey yielded good return rates in each of the states, suggesting that more road users are becoming aware of road management and finance issues. This paper summarizes development of the survey and discusses major findings.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 67 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00942598
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: MPC Report No. 03-140
  • Files: NTL, TRIS
  • Created Date: May 23 2003 12:00AM