Quality of Life: Assessment for Transportation Performance Measures


Ingrid Schneider, Tian Guo, Sierra Schroeder

January 2013

Report no. MnDOT 2013-05



Quality of life (QOL) is a commonly used term. Defining QOL, however, is an ongoing challenge that experts often take on with minimal input from citizens. This groundbreaking research sought citizen input on what comprised QOL and what role transportation played in it. 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 on QOL, (2) 24 focus groups that asked Minnesota's citizens about their QOL, and (3) a mail questionnaire about what matters in quality of life, transportation and their intersection. Eleven related quality of life factors emerged, including transportation: education, employment and finances, environment, housing, family, friends and neighbors, health, local amenities, recreation and entertainment, safety, spirituality/faith/ serenity, and transportation. 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 a) QOL is complex and transportation plays an important and consistent role in it across Minnesota; b) transportation is critical to QOL because it connects us 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.

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