Riverside, California (NAPSI) - More Americans are getting on board with public transportation, according to the latest national America THINKS survey, as the cost to own and operate a vehicle rises and consumers look for ways to save money.

What Americans Want

According to the research from HNTB Corporation, 76 percent of Americans are open to taking public transportation instead of driving, up from 69 percent in 2010.

High gas prices would drive the decision for 41 percent of those who choose public transportation over driving. In fact, 54 percent think getting around on public transportation for a year would save them more money than doing so via a car.

More than 9 in 10, however, believe the nation’s public transportation needs to be improved in some way. Many public transit agencies are exploring various ideas, including the introduction or expansion of bus rapid transit (BRT) facilities.

This rapidly growing transit option offers communities a viable, cost-effective way to attract nontraditional riders and get them to their destinations more quickly, by bus. It’s a lower-cost, more easily implemented alternative to a rail-based commuter transit system, yet still includes many popular features of rail-based public transportation, such as routes that are clearly laid out and run on a frequent and reliable schedule.

The research also shows if all other factors were the same, 55 percent of Americans would prefer a new bus system in their area over a train system. That may be why 73 percent of those who don’t have a BRT system would support that kind of development.

Expert Opinion

“Across the country, more and more agencies are turning to bus rapid transit as a way to relieve congestion, reduce pollution and support job growth,” says Liz Rao, vice president and chair public transit services at the infrastructure solutions firm HNTB Corporation.

“Embracing this new generation of proven mass transit concepts will help attract drivers off our highways, allowing everyone to enjoy quicker commutes, and customers the use of low-emission vehicles, off-board fare payment and real-time travel information,” she adds. “Successful communities thrive when transit is part of a healthy mix of transportation choices.”

Learn More

For further information, visit www.hntb.com.