Idaho Transportation

Public Affairs Office
P.O. Box 7129
Boise, ID 83707
Fax: 208.334.8563

Board hears report on transportation perceptions

Idaho Transportation Board members learned about the perceptions and priorities of Idahoans who use the transportation system during a report last week on the Idaho Traveler Opinion and Perception Survey. Findings of the extensive study were presented at the April board meeting in Pocatello, April 21-22.

The phone-based public opinion survey included more than 600 Idaho residents last winter.

The survey was an extension of a national survey commissioned by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Northwest Research Group, Inc., an Idaho-based company, developed and administered Idaho’s survey. The consultant will prepare a report that compares Idaho’s survey data to the regional and national survey data conducted for FHWA.

Northwest Research Group Project Manager Jennifer Dorothea reported on the key findings of the survey. Following is a sample of answers emerging from the comprehensive surveys that averaged 24 minutes each:

  • The vast majority of Idahoans - 96% - have a valid driver’s license; while 98% of households have at least one working vehicle available.
  • 98% of respondents used a personal vehicle in the past 12 months while 48% walked (for non-recreational purposes), 36% rode a bicycle, and 5% used public transportation.
  • The average miles driven annually in Idaho is 12,596, which is 7% less than the national average of 13,500.
  • Idahoans believe the most important characteristics of an effective or high-quality transportation system are highway and roadway safety, followed by being able to get around as a pedestrian safely and easily, bridge conditions, and planning for future transportation needs. Respondents felt that visual appearance of the highway is the least important feature.
  • Bridge conditions received the highest grade overall when it came to rating the system. That was followed by traveler information and management of work zones. Planning for future transportation needs, pavement conditions, and efforts to reduce delays from road work received the lowest grades.
  • The state is seen as doing an average job of serving populations with special needs, especially those who use wheelchairs and/or have other disabilities.
  • Only 18% of respondents have used the Division of Motor Vehicles Web site in the past 12 months, with 31% of those users being “very satisfied” with the Web site; however, 59% are willing to use the Internet to perform transactions such as registering their vehicles.
  • In the past 12 months, 36% of residents have taken one or more trips on a commercial airline using an Idaho airport.

Other board agenda items

Forest Highway Program
The board approved the FY05-10 Forest Highway Program. The Tri-Agency Group, composed of representatives from ITD, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Western Federal Lands Highways Division of FHWA, recommends projects for funding. Eligible projects for this program include planning, research, engineering, highway construction, highway reconstruction, adjacent parking areas, interpretive signs, pedestrian and bicycle facilities, roadside rest areas, and visitor centers on designated forest highways, public lands highways, park roads, and reservation roads.

Approximately $30 million in funds is available for FY05. Some of the projects included in the program for FY05 include improving the Salmon River Road (Forest Highway 60), overlaying a portion of the Cascade Warm Lake Road (Forest Highway 22), and replacing the Moyie River Bridge on Meadow Creek Road (Forest Highway 94).

Jerome School District presentation
The Jerome School District identified the need to expand its parking lot and incorporate an access on Idaho 25 as part of the extensive long-range planning efforts it conducted several years ago.

School officials told board members they have been working closely with ITD’s District 4 staff on the access request. District Engineer Devin Rigby concurred and said he supports the proposed access. The board members are pleased with the partnership the two entities have established and expressed support for the access. They will consider funding the project when the updated Statewide Transportation Improvement Program is presented for approval.

District Tour
The tour of District 4 on Friday (April 22) started with a breakfast meeting with members of the Mini-Cassia Transportation Committee, the Greater Twin Falls Area Transportation Committee and the city of Burley.

Committee spokespersons thanked the board for the numerous projects recently completed or scheduled in the area. Some of the projects mentioned include the proposed additional Snake River Crossing in the Twin Falls area, improvements on Idaho 25 by Minico High School and reconstruction of Idaho 77, Albion Hill.

The city of Burley elaborated on its efforts to relocate the airport. A preferred site has been chosen: north of Interstate 84 near the Burley exit. An environmental assessment will be completed before right-of-way acquisition and construction. The new facility is scheduled to open in 2009.

The board traveled Idaho 77 and the City of Rocks Backcountry Byway to the City of Rocks National Reserve. The group stopped at the Castle Rock State Park visitor center. Department of Parks and Recreation officials participated on the tour and elaborated on development plans for the state’s newest park and provided information on the popular National Reserve.

The City of Rocks National Reserve is more than 14,000 acres and receives approximately 85,000 visitors annually. The park offers internationally renowned rock climbing, camping, horseback riding, mountain biking, backpacking, photography and wildlife viewing.