Transit Planning
New national poll with a local twist: Majority of Mecklenburg County residents desire more investmen
Immediate release - September 12, 2012 

A new national public opinion poll shows that 75 percent of Americans are frustrated with the lack of transportation options.  The opinion poll included respondents from Mecklenburg County and followed up the poll with focus groups from Charlotte, N.C.  According to the poll, two out of three Americans support government investments to expand and improve public transportation and twice as many people favor new transit – buses, trains and light rail – rather than new highways as the best way to solve America’s traffic woes.
Mecklenburg County residents’ responses mirrored the national sentiment, where local residents were twice as likely to favor investments in public transit over building new roads as a solution to worsening traffic problems congestion. 

  • 61 percent of respondents in Mecklenburg County said improving public transportation (39 percent) and developing communities where people don’t have to drive as much (22 percent) are the best “long term solutions to reducing traffic” in their area. In contrast, only 25 percent favored building new roads.
  • 71 percent support increased local government spending to expand public transportation options.
“It is no surprise that residents of the Charlotte region favor more transportation options,” said Carolyn Flowers, CEO of CATS.  “The dedicated funding enacted by the residents of Mecklenburg County in 1998 has resulted in the Charlotte region experiencing the fastest growth in ridership nationally.” (American Family Survey 2010) In 1998 the citizens of Mecklenburg County opted to provide dedicated funding for public transit and to develop the land-use policies necessary to support transit-oriented-development.  Over the past decade the Charlotte region has seen a doubling of bus service, the introduction of the state’s first light rail line the LYNX Blue Line, the creation of walkable, mixed-used communities adjacent to the light rail line and increased services for the disabled.
CATS has experienced consistent growth in ridership since 1998 averaging over 6 percent per year.  More and more people are choosing CATS to get out of the stop-and-go traffic and into a more reliable, stress-free commute that eliminates the pain they experience at the pump. 
The region continues to advance rapid transit projects with the extension of the LYNX Blue Line and the initial phase of the Charlotte Streetcar. CATS is in the final stages of design work for the 9 mile extension of the LYNX Blue Line from center city to the University of North Carolina at Charlotte slated to start construction in 2013 and open in 2017.  The City of Charlotte is scheduled to begin construction of the Charlotte Streetcar in December of 2012 with a 2015 opening date. The first phase of the Charlotte Streetcar is designed to operate from Presbyterian Hospital to the Charlotte Transit Center.
The survey of 800 Americans was conducted this summer by a bipartisan team -- Public Opinion Strategies, which conducts polling for Republican candidates, and Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates, which specializes in polling for Democratic candidates. The nationwide telephone survey was preceded by focus groups in Charlotte, NC, Philadelphia, PA, and Cleveland, OH.

CATS is a multi-modal transit system providing over 70 bus, light rail, para-transit and vanpool routes serving over 25 million customer trips a year across the Charlotte region. To learn more about CATS and its services, please call 704-336-7433 or visit us on the web at www.ridetransit.org.