The Hartford: Texas Cities Are ‘Drivable’ but Improvements Are Needed

April 13, 2010

Despite incidents of road rage and complaints from a core group of heavy drivers, Texas residents generally believe their cities are “drivable,” with at least 60 percent in each of the major cities of Dallas, Austin and San Antonio stating that officials in their area do a good job of maintaining city streets, according to the results of a survey conducted on behalf of The Hartford Financial Services Group.

Many drivers see room for improvement, however. Residents of each of the large cities studied have a slightly different take on ways to boost drivability in their city:

  • Dallas drivers, besieged by weather-related potholes and rough roads, would recommend improving the condition of existing roads to improve drivability (39 percent of drivers).
  • Austin drivers, with narrow roadways restricted by development, would like to see more lanes added to highways (39 percent).
  • San Antonio drivers would appreciate a combination of the two solutions, with road improvements slightly nudging out adding more lanes as the No. 1 choice for improved driving conditions (32 percent vs. 28 percent).

According to a new research study conducted by GfK Roper for The Hartford, many Texas drivers say that improving the condition of existing roads, such as fixing potholes or repaving streets, would be the most effective way to make their communities more drivable.

Armed with this information, The Hartford is launching its “Pothole Patrol” initiative in key markets nationwide, including Dallas, with the goal to create smoother commutes by filling costly and burdensome potholes that cause damage and disrupt the drives of local residents.

The Hartford Drivability Survey polled American drivers nationwide, and examined a number of metropolitan areas in detail – including Texas markets Dallas, Austin and San Antonio. In general, residents of the Texas cities:

  • Spend more hours driving per week than in other cities studied.
  • Spend more time driving on highways.
  • Spend more time driving during rush hours.
  • Spend more time in traffic jams.

According to the survey, the majority of Texas drivers (at least 73 percent in each market) also believe that traffic is getting worse where they live, and acknowledge that the roads in their area were not designed to handle the amount of traffic they currently receive.

These growing frustrations may create the “need for speed.”

When asked which song title best describes driving in their area, more drivers in each of the three Texas cities selected the Sammy Hagar song “I Can’t Drive 55” than any other. And whether it’s the need for speed or a desire for agility, if given the opportunity to trade their cars for a famous fictitious car from television or the movies, more drivers would opt for George Jetson’s flying car as a way to solve traffic problems.

From February 16 to March 2, 2010, GfK Roper conducted 300 targeted random-digit dial (RDD) telephone interviews with U.S. drivers in each Dallas; Austin, Texas; and San Antonio. To qualify, respondents had to be at least 18 years old, have a valid driver’s license, and have driven in the past month.

Source: The Hartford Financial Services

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