The Coalition for Smarter Growth and Communities for Transit commissioned the poll of 400 Montgomery County residents by D.C.-based Mason-Dixon Polling & Research.
Pollsters twice asked whether poll takers supported or opposed bus rapid transit in Montgomery County — once at the start of the poll and once after presenting some of the issues.
In November, the County Council approved a controversial master plan for a bus rapid transit network that will allow transportation planners to study and design 10 BRT corridors throughout the county. About 78 percent of those corridors would include a dedicated lane for buses, meaning a lane reserved for transit and cut off from regular traffic.
In congested areas such as Rockville Pike, that could mean taking a lane of regular traffic away. That prospect concerned many who testified against the master plan at the Planning Board and County Council.
But in the poll, 78 percent agreed that BRT “promotes the right kind of development by supporting walkable communities with mixed residential & commercial spaces along major commercial corridors like Rockville Pike.”
The survey was conducted Jan. 22 and Jan. 23. According to pollsters, 70 percent supported BRT at the beginning of the survey and 71 percent supported it after they were asked about some issues surrounding the network.
The highest rated argument for the BRT plan was its relatively cheap cost compared to other transit options. Eighty percent agreed that BRT is the most affordable option.
According to the poll, 63 percent believe mass transit — not new roads — will provide the greatest relief to traffic congestion in the county, while 32 percent disagree with that opinion.
Still, opinions on taking a lane of regular traffic away for BRT use weren’t as one-sided. Those surveyed were split 50/50, with 200 folks saying taking of lanes would make car traffic worse and 200 folks saying it wouldn’t or they aren’t sure.
Read the full results of the survey in the PDF below.