HNTB survey: Increasing congestion has Americans willing to pay additional fees to maintain road quality and reduce commute time

HNTB Survey shows majority of Americans believe congestion has increased over the past year

Key findings include:

  • Eighty-four percent of Americans who drive for their commute to work say they experience congestion.
  • Nearly 9 in 10 Americans say they would use priced-managed lanes in some capacity to have a more reliable travel time to their destination.
  • Sixty-seven percent of Americans are willing to pay higher taxes or tolls for additional infrastructure improvements. 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Aug. 23, 2023) – With increasing congestion along the nation’s roadways, 67% of Americans are willing to pay higher taxes or tolls to fund additional infrastructure improvements that would ensure quality roads and provide a more reliable trip time for their commutes according to a new HNTB Corporation America THINKS national public opinion survey. The survey, “Funding Congestion Solutions-2023” found 40% of respondents prefer fees paid only by the users of toll roads, while 27% believe improvements should be funded by taxes that everyone pays.

“Americans place a high value on their time and recognize there is an ongoing need to fund as many different solutions as possible that create options within our transportation systems to enhance safety and reduce congestion,” said Kevin Hoeflich, PE, HNTB toll services chairman and senior vice president. “Tolls and other choice-based options give us the opportunity to build upon the historic level of investment in our nation’s transportation infrastructure to provide consistently reliable trips for commuters.”

Fifty-one percent of Americans said there is more traffic congestion now than just a year ago, with more than 8 in 10 Americans (84%) saying they experience congestion on their daily commute.

As a result, half of those who commute to work on a daily basis said they would be willing to pay a toll to reduce their drive time. That number increased to 57% for those commuting in urban areas of the country.

HNTB’s survey also explored interest in priced managed lanes as a potential congestion solution. Priced-managed lanes are express lanes that are part of a highway and allow drivers the choice to pay a toll to avoid congestion. The survey found 88% of Americans would likely use price managed lanes in some capacity, with 7 in 10 Americans saying these lanes can help manage or reduce highway congestion.

“Pricing is one of the most effective ways you can manage congestion because it offers customers an option to purchase time-savings for their commute and attaches a value for creating a more reliable trip,” said Hoeflich. “This research not only tells us that Americans are increasingly open to using price managed lanes, but that they are also more aware of them than ever before.”

According to the survey, the number of Americans who have heard of price managed lanes is 2.5 times higher than it was a decade ago.

About the survey

HNTB’s America THINKS survey, Funding Congestion Solutions-2023, polled a random nationwide sample of 1,000 Americans, ages 18 and older, between June 16 and June 20, 2023. It was conducted by Material+. Quotas were set to ensure reliable representation of the entire U.S. population ages 18 and over. The margin of error is +/- 3.1 percent.