PHILADELPHIA Today recently curated a story published by The Allentown Morning Call that identified the Pennsylvania Turnpike as one of the “top five most hated roads in the country,” according to the results of a survey of 3,000 drivers conducted by a car dealership in Daytona Beach.
Kelli Roberts, the Chief Strategy and Communications Officer for the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, indicated to PHILADELPHIA Today that she wanted to learn about that survey’s methodology and thus contacted the dealership directly to better understand the data points.
“To this point, we have not heard back,” she wrote in an e-mail to PHILADELPHIA Today. “But it is very likely that this limited poll was nothing more than a sales technique to drive potential customers to their website.”
Roberts said that the Commission does significant, legitimate, ongoing research among its customers and shared some key data points:
- 80 percent of Turnpike users said that it is a convenient way to travel within Pennsylvania.
- 61 percent of users report an excellent or very good experience that consists of convenience, optimal highway speed, safety, high-quality plazas, and a well-maintained road.
- In an unaided test, users reported that the most recent time they traveled on the Turnpike, it was chosen over alternate routes because it was faster (67 percent) or more direct (25 percent).
- More than 60 percent of those who reside in Philadelphia or Pittsburgh and are active Turnpike users gave it an overall rating of “very good” or “excellent.”
Mark Compton, Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission CEO, also penned a response to the story, which can be read below in its entirety:
Recently this publication gave up valuable column inches to report on a Daytona Beach Volvo dealership “survey” that, without published methodology, dubbed our roadway “loathsome.”
The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission does significant, legitimate research among our customers. Those studies found that 80 percent of users indicate the PA Turnpike is a convenient way to travel within our state and more than 60 percent of active users who reside in Philadelphia or Pittsburgh gave the PA Turnpike an overall rating of “very good” or “excellent.”
We also receive high marks for outpacing national standards for roadway rideability and overall safety. And as we build out the next phase of electronic tolling, which is open road tolling, the chokepoints that customers may now experience will be eliminated.
Conversely, the article included no methodology or information on whether respondents had personally travelled on our roads or how recently and it doesn’t note where respondents lived, or how many respondents answered questions specific to the PA Turnpike. In our attempts to answer these questions with the dealership, we received no response.
We expect this publication to do better by its readers and spend time on stories related to actual issues facing our Commonwealth and leave the “clickbait” behind.
Mark P. Compton
Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission