WORCESTER — Nearly four years post-pandemic, traffic has returned to Massachusetts' roads in a big way. The concept of the morning or evening commute has been transformed into a consistent glow of break lights that last through out the day.
A new poll from the Mass Inc. Polling Group reveals the majority of Massachusetts residents are not only feeling the impacts of the return of traffic, they also feel unsafe while using the state's roads and rails.
Looking at the results of nearly 1,400 Massachusetts residents, more than 50% feel as though traffic in their region is worse than before the global pandemic.
Among the top concerns on the roads: reckless or speeding drivers, distracted drivers and road rage.
It isn't just the roads causing the transportation turmoil, but the rails too. More than 70% of transit riders reported feeling unsafe because of crime and violence, 54% cited overcrowding, and more than 40% cited old or broken transit vehicles or stations.
What's more, those polled took aim at Gov. Maura Healey and lawmakers on Beacon Hill for their transportation woes.
"Many of the negative stories about the MBTA predate the current administration, but it appears residents are not cutting the current governor much slack for that," the organization said. "The state of the T and other public transit systems is the top transportation issue cited by residents, followed by traffic congestion and road conditions."
Digging deeper into the findings, it's clear priorities differ from the Greater Boston area versus the western part of the state. For example, nearly a quarter of those polled in Western Massachusetts would like to see public transportation expanded in the area.
The survey also looked specifically at residents who identify as Black, Latino, or Asian American or Pacific Islander (AAPI).
"Black, Latino, and AAPI residents give Governor Healey and the Legislature higher grades on transportation and feel safer on most modes of transportation. But there was one notable exception: Only 26% of Black residents feel “very safe” walking around their community, lower than white (40%) Latino (38%) and AAPI residents (44%)."
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