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TTA Survey On Commuter Rail Slanted, Some Say

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Area residents overwhelmingly support a regional rail line, according to a recent Triangle Transit Authority poll, but some who took the survey say questions pushed them toward certain answers.

Others point out they were never asked if they would use the rail.

About 70 percent of the 800 respondents to the TTA's poll, according the survey, said the Triangle needs the commuter rail, which would provide a commuter rail line between Raleigh and Durham, now.

North Carolina State University sociology professor Dr. Ron Czaja, who wrote the book "Designing Surveys: A Guide to Decisions & Procedure," said, however, the poll could have been much better and fairer.

"(There are) long questions, most positive responses, at the end of these long questions," Czaja said. "Some key questions (are) missing. I think, asked this way, the results can only turn out very favorable in their favor."

For example, one question buries regional rail in a series of transportation options.

"The best question is the most specific (one) and the most direct (one)," Czaja said.

"All we were looking to do was to educate this community on where we're at, and is the problem as apparent to everyone as it is to us," said TTA spokesman John Claflin.

Soon, surveys will not matter. The federal government will decide on funding for the TTA line in September.


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