Public Perceptions of the Midwest's Pavements - Executive Summary: Iowa

(2001) Public Perceptions of the Midwest's Pavements - Executive Summary: Iowa. Transportation, Department of


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This report summarizes Iowa results of a five year, Pooled Fund study involving the Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota Departments of Transportation (DOTs) designed to 1) assess the public's perceptions of the DOTs' pavement improvement strategies and 2) develop customer-based thresholds of satisfaction with pavements on rural two lane highways in each state as related to the DOTs' physical indices, such as pavement ride and condition. The primary objective was to seek systematic customer input to improve the DOTs' pavement improvement policies by 1) determining how drivers perceive the DOTs' pavements in terms of comfort and convenience but also in terms of other tradeoffs the DOTs had not previously considered, 2) determining relationships between perceptions and measured pavement condition thresholds (including a general level of tolerance of winter ride conditions in two of the states), and 3) identifying important attributes and issues that may not have been considered in the past. Secondary objectives were 1) to provide a tool for systematic customer input in the future and 2) to provide information which can help structure public information programs. A University of Wisconsin-Extension survey lab conducted the surveys under the direction of a multi-disciplinary team from Marquette University. Approximately 4500 drivers in the 3 states participated in the 3 phases of the project. Researchers conducted 6 focus groups in each state, approximately 400 statewide telephone interviews in each state and 700-800 targeted telephone interviews in each state. Approximately 400 winter ride interviews were conducted in Wisconsin and Minnesota. A summary of the method for each survey is included. In Phase I, focus groups were conducted with drivers to get an initial indication of what the driving public believes in regards to pavements and to frame issues for inclusion in the more representative statewide surveys of drivers conducted in Phase II. Phase II interviews gathered information about improvement policy tradeoff issues and about preliminary thresholds of improvement in terms of physical pavement indices. In Phase III, a two step recruitment and post-drive interview procedure yielded thresholds of ride and condition index summarized for each state. Results show that, in general, the driving public wants longer lasting pavements and are willing to pay for them. They want to minimize construction delay, improve entire sections of highway at one time but they dislike detours, and prefer construction under traffic even if it stretches out construction time. Satisfaction with pavements does not correlate directly to a high degree with physical pavement indices, but was found instead to be a complex, multi-faceted phenomenon. A psychological model was applied to explain satisfaction to a respectable degree for the social sciences. Results also indicate a high degree of trust in the 3 DOTs which is enhanced when the public is asked for input on specific highway segments. Conclusions and recommendations include a 3-step methodology for other state studies.

Item Type: Departmental Report
Keywords: Comfort, Customer satisfaction, Focus groups, Interviewing, Pavement performance, Public opinion, Ride quality, Rural highways, State departments of transportation, Surveys, Trust (Psychology), Two lane highways
Subjects: Transportation
Transportation > Social impacts
Transportation > Roads and highways
Transportation > Research
ID Code: 22328
Deposited By: Iowa DOT Library
Deposited On: 22 Jun 2016 16:50
Last Modified: 22 Jun 2016 16:50