• Public Perception of Transportation Fees in North Carolina

    NCDOT Research Project Number: 2019-32

 Executive Summary

  • Changing trends in the automobile market are challenging the long-term sustainability of revenue streams—and possibly how the public perceives them.  In response, NCDOT commissioned a survey to better understand how the public perceives transportation taxes and fees.  Using the knowledge gained from the literature review, the research team designed and administered a 21-question survey to 37,000 randomly selected households in North Carolina.  The final sample included over 2,200 responses from across the state, with each of the NCDOT divisions represented.  The survey responses were weighted by county population and response rate, gender, age, and education to adjust the sample for representativeness of North Carolina’s population. 

    ​​In addition, two versions of the survey were administered: one with no additional background information for each transportation tax or fee and with this background information provided.  
    The results suggest several instances where providing background information does have an impact.  Preferences for general-based transportation taxes and fees are 14 percent greater when given the information-based survey than when compared to the baseline survey response.  Second, there appears to be statistical differences by demographic group regarding support for increasing transportation funding.  Those living in urban areas, males, those 50 years or older, those with a Bachelor’s degree or higher, and self-identified Democrats tend to be more supportive of transportation funding increases while those living in rural areas; females, those less than 50 years old, those with less than a Bachelor’s degree, and self-identified Republicans tend to be less supportive.  

    In addition, 26.8 percent of respondents correctly identified the combined federal and state gas tax rate in North Carolina of 53.9 cents (selected by ranges.)  However, little difference was observed between Survey B (with additional background on the federal and state gas tax) and the Survey A version.  The results also suggest that some respondents thought they paid a fair amount for transportation.  Finally, the findings suggest a relatively little difference in responses between those that live in urban and rural areas.  Finally, the results suggest statistical differences (but not many practical differences) in education, political affiliation, and age.

Daniel Findley
Daniel Findley
Burt Tasaico
Mustan Kadibhai, PE, CPM
NC State University - ITRE

 Report Period

  • August 1, 2018 – July 31, 2019


  • Complete


  • Planning, Policy, Programming and Multi-modal

 Sub Category

  • Miscellaneous

 Related Links

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