Humphrey School News—August 30, 2018

Potholes and Politics at the State Fair

Humphrey School researchers survey fairgoers about Minnesota's transportation infrastructure

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Volunteers standing inside the Driven to Discover Research Facility at the 2018 Minnesota State Fair
Associate Professor Kathy Quick with Jeff Holland (MPA '19), Guillermo Narváez (Proxemic Insights), Ben Gronowski (MHR '19), and Jim Skoog (MnDOT ombudsman’s office).

How would you fix Minnesota’s transportation infrastructure problems? That question is at the heart of a study that Humphrey School of Public Affairs Associate Professor Kathy Quick is conducting with visitors to the Minnesota State Fair this week.

Quick and her collaborator, Guillermo Narváez, are interested in learning more about how Minnesotans perceive the overall quality of the state's transportation system–​from sidewalks to freeways and everything in between. The fair provides a unique setting to connect with individuals from around the state about their experiences with Minnesota’s transportation infrastructure.

With help from seven Humphrey School students and alumni, Quick and Narváez are surveying Minnesota fairgoers about what qualities they value in a transportation system, their opinions of our existing system, and their openness to current transportation policy proposals, such as a gas tax increase.

Although transportation infrastructure has been a prominent topic in Minnesota for several years, there’s heated debate about what to prioritize and how to pay for it. “It is very useful to have a research study that tells us something about current attitudes towards transportation infrastructure policy​,” says Quick, whose work focuses on practices for involving diverse stakeholders in decision-making about complex and contested public issues.

The study is being conducted in collaboration with the University of Minnesota’s Center for Transportation Studies and the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT). The partnership with MnDOT provides an opportunity for the Humphrey School to conduct research on policy questions that are directly relevant to one of the major public institutions in the state, says Quick.

Interested in participating? Quick and her team will be at the Driven to Discover Research Facility this Sunday, September 2, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Driven to Discover Research Facility was launched in 2014 to bring University of Minnesota research and researchers into closer contact with the Minnesota community.

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