Wisconsin Survey Research Laboratory
Wisconsin Department of Transportation, Iowa Department of Transportation, Minnesota Department of Transportation
The Wisconsin Winter Ride Survey was designed to determine the extent to which drivers were tolerant of the rougher ride of pavements on rural two-lane highways in the winter. Survey objectives, as such, were centered around this primary question of winter ride tolerance. A telephone survey was conducted by the Wisconsin Survey Research Laboratory (WSRL), which added questions to its quarterly Wisconsin Opinion Poll for the data collection period of January 15 to March 15, 1997. A similar survey focusing only on the topic of winter driving on rural highways was conducted in Minnesota during the same period. Random digit dial samples were drawn for both states according to accepted sampling procedure. The survey data set provided by WSRL included 417 respondents.
Conclusions derived from the Wisconsin Winter Ride Survey included the following. Overall, Wisconsin respondents were predominately tolerant of the pavement’s potentially rougher ride in winter. Three-fourths of the 173 respondents who had noticed a change in the pavement indicated that they were more tolerant of the rough ride in winter than they would be the rest of the year. The extent to which motorists noticed changes in the pavement was influenced by the driving and vehicle characteristics. Respondents who drove more frequently on rural two-lane highways and those driving trucks, full-size vans or sport utility vehicles were more 2 likely to notice changes. The latter finding suggests that differences in suspension and ride entered in for respondents driving cars versus those driving trucks. It follows, therefore, that noticing pavement changes generally increased as ratings of the vehicle’s ride quality declined.