Splendid Cycles Big Sale

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

Posted by on March 26th, 2014 at 12:08 pm

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 MakeAGreatPlace.org.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

5
Leave a Reply

avatar
3 Comment threads
2 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
5 Comment authors
KirkChris AndersonEvan ManvelTonyTOregon Mamacita Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Oregon Mamacita
Guest
Oregon Mamacita

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?

TonyT
Guest
Tony

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

Kirk
Guest

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: http://www.makeagreatplace.org/

Evan Manvel
Guest
Evan Manvel

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
Guest

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