Here’s a quick breakdown of the 2016 CHR Short Survey:

  • Residents continue to place a high priority on improving public transportation compared to other transportation needs.
    Adding more transit options, such as light rail or bus rapid transit, ranked the highest. Increasing and expanding routes and integrating transit into major road, bridge and tunnel projects also rated highly.
  • There is a continued strong belief that improved public transportation will have a positive impact on local economic growth.
    On a scale of 0 (extremely negative) to 100 (extremely positive impact), the average score was 82. Such data about transit’s positive impacts are well grounded. Today’s HRT services (with just over $100 million in costs) support over 20,300 jobs and $548 million in employment income each year. HRT services also support $93 million in consumer spending and help avoid 45 million additional vehicle miles on our roadways. These are real benefits that would not exist without HRT services.
  • Participants believe we should be spending significantly more on public transportation than what they think is spent.
    This year we added two new questions about transportation funding. When asked, “Out of every dollar local governments invest in transportation in Hampton Roads, how many cents would you guess is currently spent on public transportation such as ferries, buses, and light rail?”, the average answer was 26 cents.When asked how much they believe should be spent on public transportation, however, the answer was 46 cents. Clearly, there is a significant difference in what people say we should be spending on transit compared to what they think is spent. Of course, actual spending among local governments varies and today, for new regional transportation funds, zero pennies of each dollar are being spent on public transportation.

For full results of the 2016 Short Survey, click here.

For full results of the 2014 Long Survey, click here.

Meeting current and future demand for travel options other than driving and being stuck in traffic

13,830 participants from across Hampton Roads took part in the 2014 Connect Hampton Roads Survey (the most ever for a transportation-related survey and mobility planning effort in the region’s history) – identifying that adding transit capacity is a top priority which will have significant positive impacts on local economic growth.

The CHR survey affirms the rising public demand for better transit we are witnessing in Hampton Roads in recent years:

  • Expanding public transportation (e.g., light rail, ferry, bus) ranked as the number one recommendation from public input to develop both the 2034 and the 2040 Regional Long Range Transportation Plan for Hampton Roads.
  • In the June 2014 Envision Hampton Roads research report released by the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission, 87% of participants Agree or Strongly Agree that improving public transit should be a priority regional planning action.
  • The Military Commuter Survey engaged over 10,900 respondents. Three of the top four suggestions (and half of the top 10) had transit or multimodal as an essential component (e.g., expanded light rail, extended public transit hours, make changes to HOV lanes for transit use, add bike lanes).
  • A light rail advisory referendum in Virginia Beach (Nov. 6, 2012), passed with a 62.7% favorable vote.
  • ULI – Hampton Roads hosted “Reality Check” in May 2013, where several hundred community stakeholders emphasized improved transit connectivity across Hampton Roads as an essential component for the region’s future success.
Supporting the region’s workforce and families

The number of persons age 65 and Better in Hampton Roads is expected to grow more than 80% by 2040, increasing demand for affordable and accessible transportation choices. Access to quality transit is an important mobility issue for this segment of our population.

  • Regional population is expected to exceed 2 million by 2040.
  • It is essential for the region to effectively and efficiently connect workers to jobs.
  • Research shows the so-called “Millennial” generation (those born after 1981 who will be a major part of the workforce) prefer to live and work in areas with quality public transportation options. A Rockefeller Foundation study found that 54% of Millennials said they would consider moving to a new city if it offered and wider and better range of transportation options.
Diversifying the regional economy

The Ports, the Military, and Tourism have been and will continue to be major economic engines for the regional economy. It is also in the region’s strategic interests to diversify. Connecting Hampton Roads with a modern multimodal transportation infrastructure is an essential key to Reinventing Hampton Roads for the new economy.

Hampton Roads does not currently compare well with many cities and regions around the United States when it comes to attracting and retaining the workforce needed for a strong knowledge-based economy – Hampton Roads ranks in the bottom fifth of metro areas in attracting young, college-educated people. These workers are necessary for new business clusters the region can benefit from growing. Millennials like transit.

Across the United States, transit has been shown to play a key role in supporting high-growth business clusters.