Publication Detail

Sustainable Transportation at the Ballot Box: A Disaggregate Analysis of the Relative Importance of User Travel Mode, Attitudes and Self-Interest

UCD-ITS-RP-18-09

Reprint

National Center for Sustainable Transportation

Suggested Citation:
Palm, Matthew and Susan L. Handy (2018) Sustainable Transportation at the Ballot Box: A Disaggregate Analysis of the Relative Importance of User Travel Mode, Attitudes and Self-Interest. Transportation 45 (1), 121 - 141

Transportation agencies’ increased reliance on voter approved financing requires planners to better understand and address voters’ motivations to support ballot initiatives. These initiatives, which can mimic or subvert traditional planning processes, are also opportunities for voters to register backlash against planning initiatives. We examine the role of voters’ self-interest, as measured by personal travel patterns and their attitudes towards the impacts of various transportation policies, in predicting residents’ votes on two concurrent transport ballot measures in San Francisco, CA. Voters were asked to evaluate each initiative in terms of their personal, direct interest versus the interest of the city of San Francisco generally. We find that that drivers will vote against policies marketed to the public as benefiting drivers or defending “drivers’ rights” if they believe strongly in the benefits of alternative policies for non-users. Those who identified their interests as divergent from the city’s were more likely to vote against their perceived interest and for the city’s than to cast a vote consistent with their own interest. Among mode use patterns, only cycling significantly predicted votes: Frequent cycles voted as a cohesive and potentially decisive block in favor of transportation initiatives promoting non-automobile modes.

Keywords: Ballot box planning, Transportation policy, Transit