Metro’s Regional Transpo Plan survey lets citizens set the budget

Metro is in the home stretch in updating their Regional Transportation Plan. The RTP is the major transportation plan of our region’s road and transit network that includes an influential project list and sets investment priorities for the next 25 years. Before a final version is drawn up later this year, Metro needs to hear more citizen input to help them fine-tune priorities and tweak policy language so that it aligns more closely with the people who will be most impacted by it (all of us).

To help kick off the comment period for the RTP, Metro has launched a new online survey. One part of the survey is an interesting exercise that turns everyone into a budget-maker.

Here’s the exercise:

Next, I’d like for you to build a budget based on how you would like to see existing taxpayer money spent on the following six transportation priorities. Your total budget is $100 dollars. You can assign any amount to a single item, from $0 to $100, but the total of all six priorities will need to be $100. Remember to allocate the money in the way you feel most closely matches your personal values and beliefs.

The survey taker is then given six categories of spending to choose from:

  • Maintain and keep our current transportation system in good condition
  • Widen roads and build new connections to improve vehicle flow and safety
  • Use technology to improve vehicle flow and safety on roads including timing traffic signals, pedestrian countdown signs, and flashing yellow turn signals
  • Public transportation including making transit more frequent, convenient, accessible and affordable
  • Connections to more places with sidewalks, walking, and bicycle paths
  • Provide incentives and information to encourage carpooling, walking, bicycling, and public transit

It’s a fun and revealing exercise that gives everyday citizens a taste of the difficult decisions faced by regional planners and politicians. While I would have preferred the categories to be written up much differently, it still seems like a worthwhile exercise.

There are other questions in the survey too. In a fill-in question, Metro asks, “What change would you like to see happen to the Portland Metropolitan region transportation system in the next ten years that would most improve the quality of life for you or your family?” And there’s also the big question about how to approach climate change mitigation efforts.

You can take the survey and learn more about Metro’s current public comment period at

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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Oregon Mamacita
Oregon Mamacita
10 years ago

Really, really poorly drafted and designed survey. Compound questions are a no no- you don’t ask about bikes and sidewalks in the same question. The Opt-In survey is far better.

I get tired of incompetent surveys. Very frustrating- why is Metro so clueless with surveys?

10 years ago

It’s a new survey yet the site tells me that I’ve already filled out this survey. Hmmm.

10 years ago
Reply to  Tony

The first link to the survey was likely retrieved from Jonathan’s web browser after he finished the survey, and was not the general link for the public.

You can start your own survey on this page:

Evan Manvel
Evan Manvel
10 years ago

The survey frames some potential investments in terms of values or outcomes, and others as items or processes. For example, one investment is “improve vehicle flow and safety,” while another is “providing information to encourage carpooling…” These are apples and oranges.

An apples-to-apples comparison would include “improve vehicle flow and safety” as an outcome for improving biking and walking as well.

People are generally more drawn to results than processes, and value terms like “safety” or “accountability” instead of things like information and encouragement. Also, seems like stating something is an “improvement” would be a survey no-no.

It also has some compound sentence problems, as most of the data about wider roads demonstrate they decrease safety.

But hey, I’m glad they’re asking; though I’ll take the results with a hunk of salt.

Chris Anderson
10 years ago
Reply to  Evan Manvel

I took the opportunity to be very specific. Tear out I-5. Cameras on every stop sign. More diverters in neighborhoods.