2006 Arlington County Residents’ Satisfaction with Transportation Telephone Study

As outlined in the 2006-2008 Arlington County Commuter Services (ACCS) Program Research and Evaluation Plan, the purpose of this study was to collect and analyze information needed to assess the performance of ACCS in order to enhance ACCS’ effectiveness in providing travel assistance services in Arlington County.


Travel Patterns & Choices:

  • Four out of five Arlington County residents used one mode of transportation four or more days per week for travel to work. Thus, there is only modest potential for increasing high-occupancy-vehicle (HOV) use among current HOV users. – Arlington residents traveled shorter distances to work than did other commuters in the region. However, Arlington residents did not have proportionately shorter commute times than the regional average. This was primarily due to the large number of residents who use transit and walk/bike.  These trips tended to be shorter, but take more time.
  • Two thirds of Arlington County residents made a non-work trip “yesterday.”: On days they worked, 40% of employed residents made trips on the way to/from work and 44% made trips at other times of the day; Non-employed residents made more non-work trips weekly than did employed residents, but employed residents made more trips overall; Over half of non-work trips were made by modes other than driving alone, and one third were made by walking. One in eight was made by riding or driving with another person.
  • Half of all Arlington County residents sought information on types of transportation they could use and just under half sought transportation services: More than half of the residents who sought information or services looked for transit information/services. Almost all said the info/service encouraged this action and half said they were “not likely” to have taken the action without the info/service.
  • About a third of the employed residents said their employer offered commute assistance services/benefits. This was much lower than that noted in the 2004 State of the Commute (SOC), but the SOC asked the question differently: Employees were most likely to know their employer offered Transportation Demand Management (TDM) services if they worked full time, outside Arlington, for a federal agency, or for an employer with 251+ employees; Among residents who did not have access to transportation subsidies, a third said they would be very likely or somewhat likely to try HOV for work if their employers offered this benefit; Transit use was higher and drive alone was lower at worksites where employees said they had access to TDM services; One in four residents who lived in a condominium, townhouse, or apartment said they had access to transportation information at home and almost all residents who used a residential TDM service tried or increased use of an HOV mode after using the services.
  • One in four residents who lived in a condominium, townhouse, or apartment said they had access to transportation information at home and almost all residents who used a residential TDM service tried or increased use of an HOV mode after using the services.

Perceptual Issues:

  • Arlington County residents indicated they were quite satisfied with their quality of life – almost 9 in 10 gave it a favorable rating.
  • Arlington County’s transportation system had a positive and direct influence on citizen’s quality of life ratings: When explicitly asked how important certain attributes are in their overall quality of life, both transportation services and ease of getting around in the area were found to be meaningful predictors of positive quality of life ratings; Higher level statistical modeling of the survey data confirmed residents’ explicit or stated feelings. The transportation system had a statistically significant impact on perceptions of quality of life. Transportation was in the set of attributes that had a measurable impact on how Arlington County residents rate their quality of life, although had less of an impact than did education and job opportunities.
  • Perceptions of the impact of transportation and mobility on overall quality of life differed for Ridesharers and Non-Ridesharers.
  • Satisfaction with Arlington County’s transportation system was quite high – both for Ridesharers and Non-Ridesharers.
  • Residents gave the most favorable ratings to the safety of the transportation system: They were least satisfied with the time it takes to make trips; Current ridesharers generally gave the transportation system higher ratings than did those who do not rideshare; Non-ridesharers gave the lowest rating to the time it takes to make trips.
  • Overall, ease of traveling around Arlington County, choice/variety of transportation options, and getting around by bus were the most significant drivers of satisfaction with the transportation system: Safety also was a major factor for primary ridesharers.  Time required to make trips was a factor for Secondary Ridesharers.  Non-Ridesharers were also concerned about convenience.

Opportunities for Improvement:

  • A few gaps were noted between importance of transportation system attributes and the County’s perceived performance on those attributes: Notably, there was particular opportunity in the time needed to make trips. This was especially important because this was one of the driving factors for NonRidesharers in terms of satisfaction with the ability to get around the County.

Ability to Get Around:

  • Both Ridesharers and Non-Ridesharers gave favorable ratings to their ability to travel around Arlington County: They believe that it was easier to get around with a car than without; Those who did not own a car believed it was easier to get around without a car than did car owners; About half of the residents gave Arlington County favorable scores for ease of getting around by bus, bicycle, or walking.


  • Nearly one-forth recalled ACCS’ “Way to Go Campaign.” The “Way to Go” Campaign has brought about self-reported mode switching and increased usage.
  • Advertising lifted both satisfaction with ability to travel around Arlington County and satisfaction with the transportation system.
  • Communication was equally important to those who are and are not satisfied with travel around Arlington County.
  • Awareness of ACCS initiatives and services varied, suggesting a unification of different County messages under one brand communication platform might be warranted.


  • Hispanics were twice as likely as non-Hispanics not to own a car, and they rated their quality of life less favorably than non-Hispanics: Hispanics were significantly more likely to say that they were satisfied with their ability to travel around Arlington and were significantly more likely to say that they were satisfied with the Arlington County transportation system than were non-Hispanics.  Hispanics were also significantly more likely to say that Arlington County was meeting residents’ needs.


  • Mode of Data Collection: Random Digit Dialing Telephone Survey
  • Completed Surveys – 509 Respondents Total: Rideshare Mode – 148 Primary Rideshares, 189 Secondary Rideshares, and 172 Non-Rideshares (Ethnicity – 201 Hispanic and 308 Non-Hispanic)
  • Survey Population – Quota’s Were Established to Ensure Sufficient Numbers of Respondents in Key Categories: Residents Who Use Ridesharing Modes – primary and secondary;ƒ Residents Who Primarily Do Not Use Ridesharing Modes;ƒ Hispanic Respondents;ƒ Non-Hispanic Respondents
  • Survey Instrument – Telephone Questionnaire and CATI Interviewing
  • Criteria for Participation: Resident of Arlington County, Age 18 and Older


Full Presentation (PPT):  2006 AC Residents Satisfaction Telephone FINAL REPORT

Technical Summary (PDF):  Summary – 2006 AC Residents Satisfaction Telephone STUDY

Survey Questionnaire (PDF):  2006 AC Residents Satisfaction Telephone QUESTIONNAIRE

Data Tables (PDF):  2006 AC Residents Satisfaction Telephone DATA TABLES


Contact the ACCS Research Team for more information.

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