In May 2000, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) presented
its Annual Report Connecting America: 1999 Report to the Nation.
It showed the changing emphasis in the United States from
the construction of new highways to the preservation and operation
of existing ones. The FHWA's mission is to continuously improve
the quality of our nation's highway system and its intermodal
connections. The Annual Report also highlighted the many improvements
in the nation's highways, which have resulted from the coordinated
efforts of the FHWA; state, local, and tribal governments; other
Federal agencies; the transportation industry; and academia. Many
of the improvements could not have been made without the support
of the American public.
Recognizing the importance of public support, the FHWA has now
embarked on an equally important endeavor: to measure public satisfaction
with the nation's highways and with community transportation
systems. These public opinion surveys provide greater insight into
the issues and concerns of the traveling public and help the FHWA
understand opportunities for improvement.
The survey results are encouraging: 65 percent of those surveyed
are satisfied with the major highways they travel most often, up
15 percentage points since 1995. There has also been a smaller increase
of 6 percentage points in dissatisfaction since 1995. Heavier traffic
flows and delays while driving through work zones appear to contribute
to this increase in dissatisfaction.
The findings in this report - Moving Ahead: The American Public
Speaks on Roadways and Transportation in Communities - reaffirm
the importance of managing work zones, using advanced technologies
to improve operations, and enhancing community-oriented transportation
projects. These complex challenges, coupled with building and repairing
roads, present a new perspective on the public's satisfaction
with the nation's highways and offer opportunities for transportation
providers to create and maintain the best transportation system
in the world.
Anthony R. Kane
Federal Highway Administration