HSP Opinion Poll

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) invites you to take a survey that will help guide WSDOT's recommendations to the Legislature for state highway system spending. WSDOT will use your responses to shape updates to the Highway System Plan (HSP), which defines the State's vision for preserving, maintaining, improving, and operating state highways in Washington. For more information on the HSP update, visit https://engage.wsdot.wa.gov/

Here are answers to frequently asked questions about the survey.

Click here for more information about your participation in this survey.

Thank you in advance for your participation. Your feedback is important to us.

Esta encuesta también está disponible en español.


Your participation is voluntary and should take no more than fifteen minutes to complete. You must be at least 18 years of age to participate.

This survey is administered by the University of Washington on behalf of WSDOT to inform the next Highway System Plan update. Your responses will be combined with the responses of other Washington State residents and will be completely confidential.

HSP Opinion Poll

Instructions: We wish to learn how you would fund state highways in select spending categories using a budget.

For the survey, you have $3 billion to spend each year. You can't spend more than $3 billion, but you can spend less. The survey describes the results of spending different amounts in each category. Please choose how much you would like to spend in each category.

You can see your spending total in the bar at the top of the screen. The amounts in yellow are how much the state spends now.

The categories are:

  • Pavement
  • Bridges
  • Stormwater
  • Maintenance
  • Safety
  • Operations
  • Walking and Bicycling
  • Increase Travel Options
  • New and Bigger Highways

HSP Opinion Poll

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Highway Systems Plan (HSP)?

The Washington State Department of Transportation's (WSDOT) Highway Systems Plan is WSDOT's blueprint for preserving, maintaining, improving and operating interstates, US routes, and state routes in Washington. The plan also serves as the basis for highway funding decisions.

What is the purpose of this research?

The Highway System Plan is being updated. WSDOT is seeking your input on spending priorities. As budgets allow, your feedback on spending priorities will be reflected in the plan. Your priorities can ben be considered by the State Legislature, where funding decisions are made.

Areas of funding in the plan include pavement repair, bridge repair, stormwater runoff, general road maintenance, safety improvements, operational improvements, congestion reduction, active transportation, and capacity expansion. Invitations were mailed to a representative sample of 80,000 Washington State residents inviting them to participate in the online survey.

Why should I participate in the survey?

By providing feedback about your priorities for transportation spending, the State can better allocate our limited funds to what is most important to Washington state residents.

How do I access the survey?

To take the open-to-anyone opinion poll, visit https://bit.ly/wa-hwy-poll using any web browser. If you received a survey invitation via mail, please use the link in your invitation so we may track survey response rates.

Free, temporary internet access is available in locations throughout the state to those who do not have broadband service. To find the nearest Drive-In WiFi Hotspot visit: www.commerce.wa.gov/building-infrastructure/washington-state-drive-in-wifi-hotspots-location-finder/

What is the University of Washington's role in the study?

WSDOT has hired researchers at the University of Washington's Washington Transportation Center to design, conduct, and analyze the statewide survey. The University of Washington will also publish a report of the survey findings.

How are participants selected?

Our sampling methodology was designed to engage all demographic groups in our state. A regionally representative sample of residential addresses was selected from U.S. Census data and sent invitations to take the survey. Historically, we have received lower than average response rates in geographic areas with high concentrations of communities of color and low income communities. To help achieve a representative sample of respondents from those communities, and account for the potential lower response rate, we oversampled those areas by sending mailers to a higher percentage of residents.

How will WSDOT ensure that people whose first language is not English are involved in the study?

As noted in the mailed invitation, the online survey is available in Spanish, as well as English. The 80,000 survey invitations that WSDOT mailed to residents of Washington also provide information on how to access the survey in Spanish, simplified Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Tagalog, and Russian with the following translation:

If you have difficulty understanding English, you may, free of charge, request language assistance services for this Department information by calling (360) 705-7090 , or email us at: TitleVI@WSDOT.WA.GOV.

People with difficulty understanding English who call or email WSDOT will receive live verbal interpretation of the HSP Opinion Poll.

How is my information kept confidential?

Your responses will be combined with the responses of other Washington State residents and will be completely confidential. In order to take the version of the survey that corresponds to your geographic region, you will be asked to provide your zip code of residence. The end of the survey requests basic demographic information which is voluntary. WSDOT is interested in understanding the background of survey respondents in order to improve future outreach efforts, and to compare the results to the overall demographic profile of the state. No personally identifiable information will be connected with your demographic information.

We appreciate your survey participation. If you would like to enter a drawing to win $10 or $25 Tango gift cards, you may provide your email address. Tango allows you to choose a gift card from a variety of popular brands, restaurants, and retailers. Your email address information will be stored separately from your survey responses, which will not affect your chances of winning.

How will the results of the survey be used?

WSDOT will use the summary results of this survey to inform the Highway System Plan. The HSP aids WSDOT in making program funding recommendations to the State Legislature, which determines budget allocations of the state's available highway funding.

What if I don't drive very much?

WSDOT highway spending affects all residents of the state, whether or not you personally drive. Spending in categories such as public transportation and safety are important for everyone. We are interested in getting feedback from people who are dependent on public transportation or who don't drive a car.

What do I get for participating?

Once you have completed the survey, you may provide your email address to be entered in a random drawing for either a $10 or $25 Tango gift card. The odds of winning a $25 gift card are better than 1 in 8,000 or 0.0125%, and the odds of winning a $10 gift card are better than 1 in 3,200 or 0.0312%. Winners will be notified by email.

Can more than one member of my household participate?

Yes. The state is interested in the opinions of all residents of Washington, and anyone is welcome to share their opinion in the HSP Opinion Poll.

How were the alternative budgetary figures in the survey developed?

The budgetary figures were selected to accomplish two goals:

1. Give survey respondents strong, realistic options that reflect their transportation priorities.
2. Present a range of publicly supported funding options.
They do not account for inflation.

How much confidence does WSDOT have in the transportation outcomes expressed in the survey questions?

The results described for each proposed funding level are based on predictions from WSDOT's asset management teams. They are in the middle of the range of likely outcomes and include assumptions about funding of complementary budget categories.

Does the state really spend $0 to improve walking and bicycling on highways?

WSDOT does not have dedicated funding to construct sidewalks or bike facilities (such as bike lanes or wider shoulders) on or adjacent to state highways. However, some improvements are made as part of other programs:

1. When building newer and bigger roads, WSDOT can incorporate walking and bicycling improvements where those projects are located. However, that funding does not connect the network between those projects.
2. Grant funding, such as the pedestrian and bicycle program and safe routes to school program, is available to improve walking and biking infrastructure for cities and counties. Most grant projects are not on state highways.

Who do I contact if I need more information about the survey?

More information on the Highway System Plan, including contact information, is available at https://wsdot.wa.gov/planning/hsp.htm. Please email hsp@wsdot.wa.gov for more information about the study.

Who do I contact for technical support with the survey?

Please email trac@uw.edu for technical support.

Back to Survey

You are over the maximum budget. Please reduce spending.

Here are answers to frequently asked questions about the survey.

Pavement (Learn more)

WSDOT repairs highway pavement to keep it lasting as long as possible. Over the last 20 years, the budget for repairing highways has not kept up with repair costs. Currently, there is only enough money to pay for less than half of repairs. Waiting to repair poor pavement costs five times more than timely repairs. Saving money now costs a lot more later.

How much would you like to spend on pavement repair?

Yearly Spending


Asphalt in poor state Asphalt in poor state
Examples of pavement in poor state of repair due to underfunding.
Asphalt in good state Asphalt in good state
Examples of pavement in good state of repair.

Bridges (Learn more)

Bridges require repairs to remain open and working. Aging bridges require more work and are weaker to earthquakes. WSDOT replaces bridges and repairs them to be safer and last longer. However, many replacements and repairs are delayed due to lack of funding.

How much would you like to spend on bridges?

Yearly Spending


Load posted bridge. Load posted bridge.
Examples of a load posted bridge.
Deteriorated bridge. Deteriorated bridge.
Examples of deteriorated bridges that could become unusable with continued underfunding.
Well-funded bridge. Well-funded bridge.
Examples of well-funded bridges in good condition.

Please note the benefits from the remaining categories may not happen if pavement and bridges are not fully funded.

Stormwater (Learn more)

Stormwater comes from rain or snow that runs off roads. Without treatment, stormwater carries toxins to nearby rivers and streams. It can also increase flooding and erosion.

All new highways meet current stormwater standards. However, most highways were built before treatment was required. WSDOT provides treatment for these older highways, called a stormwater retrofit. Locations are chosen based on benefit and cost. There are 221 prioritized stormwater treatment locations. Many are near clean rivers and streams outside cities. Others are in rural areas near rivers and streams where fish could thrive. Locations in cities are lower priority due to high costs and lower ability to improve river and stream water quality.

How much would you like to spend on stormwater treatment?

Yearly Spending


Maintenance (Learn more)

Maintenance keeps highways working between larger repair projects.

Maintenance keeps the highway in operating condition by replacing damaged guardrails, fixing potholes, clearing snow and ice, and responding to emergency road closures. Roads close due to events like rockslides, avalanches, road washouts, and falling trees. Each of the 27 types of work has a maintenance grade. The overall grade is the average across all of them.

How much would you like to spend on maintenance?

Yearly Spending


Poorly maintained highway crash cushion.
Example of poorly maintained highway crash cushion.
Well-maintained highway crash cushion.
Example of well-maintained highway crash cushion.

Safety (Learn more)

The number of deaths and serious injuries are rising, especially for people who walk and bicycle. The personal, financial, and societal loss is enormous. There are no acceptable deaths from crashes.

In 2019, crashes cost the Washington economy $14 billion. This includes the costs of lost lives, hospitals, slow traffic, and damage to cars and buildings. Spending on highway safety makes crashes less likely and less serious.

How much would you like to spend on safety?

Yearly Spending


Operations (Learn more)

Operations helps get the most from existing highways without spending more on larger highway projects. It includes improvements to keep traffic moving like traffic lights, highway lighting, and intelligent transportation systems technology. It funds small-scale changes to intersections, like turn lanes and crosswalks that make them work better. Operations also provides traveler information and emergency services to help keep highways open, and moving smoothly and safely.

How much would you like to spend on operations?

Yearly Spending


Operations funding provides travel time information for drivers.
Operations funding provides travel time information for drivers.
Incident Response Teams respond to people on state highways in need of help.
Incident Response Teams respond to people on state highways in need of help.
Monitoring highway traffic and safety conditions.
Monitoring highway traffic and safety conditions.

Walking and Bicycling (Learn more)

Walking and bicycling are the most common types of active transportation. This category also includes rolling on scooters, skateboards, and wheelchairs. The goal is to make a comfortable network for most adults walking, bicycling, and rolling. Investing in this category builds sidewalks and bicycle lanes. It also builds separated paths along or near highways. It makes walking and bicycling to school safer. It connects homes and businesses across highways. It provides connections to local trails.

How much would you like to spend on active transportation?

Yearly Spending


Person riding along state highway with no bike lane.
$0 funding level. Person riding along state highway with no bike lane toward their destination.
Sidewalk before and after pedestrian improvements.
$100 million funding level. (Left): Sidewalk before pedestrian improvements. (Right): Sidewalk after pedestrian improvements.
Person using bike lanes along state highway.
$270 million funding level. Person using bike lanes along state highway.
Children safely using separated bike trail.
$400 million funding level. Children safely using separated bike trail.

Increase Travel Options (Learn more)

This category increases the use of trains, buses, and carpools. It helps people work from home more. It helps people with disabilities travel and may decrease the number of cars on state highways.

How much would you like to spend on Increasing Travel Options?

Yearly Spending


This funding category provides alternatives to driving, like bicycling and vanpools.
This funding category provides alternatives to driving, like bicycling and vanpools.
This funding category helps provide transit services for commuters.
This funding category helps provide transit services for commuters.

New and Bigger Highways (Learn more)

Examples of spending on new and bigger highways include widening roads, expanding intersections, adding new interchanges, adding passing lanes, and improving ramps. It includes projects funded from the gas tax increase in 2015.

How much would you like to spend on new and bigger highways?

Yearly Spending


WSDOT added capacity to the highway overpass.
WSDOT added capacity to the highway overpass.
New highway lane expansion and paving.
New highway lane expansion and paving.

Remaining funds

If there were additional funds available, how would you spend them? Please rank your top five priorities in order of importance:

Instructions: Drag your top five (5) categories to the top in order of most importance.
  1. Address climate change and reduce the impact of natural disasters.
  2. Enhance the state highway system's natural environment (habitat for bees and other pollinators, tree canopy coverage, wildlife, animal crossings).
  3. Invest in transportation programs to benefit low-income residents.
  4. Improve how state highways connect to buses, city/county roads, rail, and airports.
  5. Spend less than we spend now and lower the gas tax.
  6. Develop new scenic highways.
  7. Invest in non-transportation programs that lower the need to travel on the highway system (for example, improve broadband access so more people can work from home)
  8. Provide more truck parking facilities to improve freight efficiency and safety.
  9. Develop infrastructure for electric vehicles and electric trucking.
  10. Complete a statewide network of trails that can be used for travel, recreation, and exercise.

Which of the following large-scale investments is most important to you if you had additional funds?

Demographic questions

You are almost at the end of the survey! We need you to fill in a few additional questions which will tell us which sociodemographic group you belong to.

What is your age range?

What is your gender?

What is your household's annual income?

Are you of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin?

How do you identify your race? (CHECK ALL THAT APPLY)

Do you identify as having a disability of any kind?

If yes, do you receive any state or federal compensation for your disability?

How many people live in your household, including you?

How many people in your household are under 18 years old?

How many vehicles are in your household?

Please include all working vehicles regardless of how often the vehicle is driven.

Does anyone in your household usually speak a language other than English?

As a thank you for participating in the survey, if you would like to be entered to win an electronic Tango gift card of either $10 or $25, please enter your email address below.

Tango Gift Cards can be used to purchase gift cards from a variety of vendors without a fee.


HSP Opinion Poll

Survey results received. Thank you very much for participating! If you know someone else who would like to participate in the survey, please send them this link: https://bit.ly/wa-hwy-poll

For questions about the survey, you may contact hsp@wsdot.wa.gov.