Transportation Information Needs Assessment for Small Rural Municipalities in Eastern North Carolina

The many small towns in North Carolina (1,000 residents or fewer) face a number of disadvantages and unique problems when trying to address their transportation-related needs. This project addressed these problems in two primary ways. First, the authors developed a resource containing basic contact information along with census data regarding demographic, economic, and social characteristics of each town. Second, a mail survey was sent to all of the towns to determine the mayors' satisfaction with NCDOT. Regional meetings were then held with the mayors to gain a deeper understanding of their experiences. While the majority of the mayors reported satisfaction with their transportation services, a sizeable percentage expressed dissatisfaction. Satisfaction varied depending upon characteristics of the towns. Mayors also reported more satisfaction and more contact with NCDOT and their district office than with their RPO or County Commissioner. The mayors reported needing and wanting help with numerous transportation-related issues in their town. In meetings, mayors reported a number of immediate concerns (highway maintenance, safety, drainage, and highway signs) with limited time and resources to consider longer-term issues. Many mayors described NCDOT as an inefficient bureaucracy that largely ignored their problems. When NCDOT did turn its attention to the small towns, according to the mayors, they excluded the mayor and town officials from the process. The problems are made worse by the mayors admitted lack of information about the operation of NCDOT and their general lack of time and other resources to put toward the problems. To address these problems, efforts should be focused on addressing the way NCDOT interacts with the small towns to increase both efficiency and to improve the perception of fairness. Research should continue into how to improve the organizational infrastructure and operations of NCDOT. The needs of the small towns could be served through the establishment of a small town transportation institute that would serve as a resource for the small towns and as a partner to work with both the towns and NCDOT.

Language

  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Web
  • Edition: Final Report
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 80p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01152586
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: FHWA/NC/2006-32
  • Files: TRIS, USDOT, STATEDOT
  • Created Date: Mar 2 2010 2:31PM