Quality of Life: Assessment for Transportation Performance Measures

Principal Investigator:

Ingrid Schneider, Professor, Forest Resources

Project Summary:

Quality of life (QOL) is a commonly used term, but defining it is an ongoing challenge that experts often take on with minimal input from citizens. This groundbreaking research sought citizen input on what makes up QOL and what role transportation plays. Further, this research explored in detail the important factors across the breadth of transportation and how the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) was performing on these important factors. The research encompassed three phases between 2010 and 2011: 1) an extensive literature review of QOL, 2) 24 focus groups that asked Minnesota's citizens about their QOL, and 3) a mailed questionnaire about what matters in quality of life, transportation, and their intersection. Eleven related QOL factors emerged, including transportation; others were education, employment and finances, environment, housing, family, friends and neighbors, health, local amenities, recreation and entertainment, safety, and spirituality/faith/serenity. Within transportation, seven important areas were identified that predicted satisfaction with MnDOT services: access, design, environmental issues, maintenance, mobility, safety, and transparency. Results reveal that 1) QOL is complex and transportation plays an important and consistent role in it across Minnesota; 2) transportation is critical to QOL because it connects people to important destinations in aspects that matter most; and c) Minnesotans can readily identify what matters and how the state is performing within the breadth of transportation services.

Sponsor:

Project Details:

  • Start date: 07/2010
  • Project Status: Completed
  • Research Area: Environment and Energy
  • Topics: Planning