The transit agency releases its the 2017 version of its annual Attitude and Awareness Survey.

PORTLAND TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO - Although most riders feel safe, half would like to see more security on TriMet's system.TriMet needs to add more security officers to its trains and buses.

Homeless and housing are the most important problems in the region.

Traffic congestion is the most important transportation issue.

And people are losing faith in the region.

Those are among the findings of the 2017 TriMet Attitude and Awareness Survey that was released by the regional transit agency Wednesday. The most recent version of the annual survey was conducted by DHM Research between Nov. 7 and Nov. 12, 2017.

Although the survey was commissioned by TriMet, it included several questions that allowed respondents to express their opinions on nontransit-related issues. Among other things, only 45 percent think the Portland metro region is going in the right direction, the third decline in three years. Nearly as many, 42 percent, think the region is off track, the third increase in three years.

The decline in confidence may be related to homelessness and the affordable housing crisis. Asked to pick the most important issue that local governments need to address, 52 percent volunteered social issues. The overwhelming majority of issues named were homelessness, hunger, housing and affordable housing.

Only 24 percent volunteered transportation as the next highest category. In a follow-up question, 71 percent volunteered congestion, road maintenance and the need to increase capacity. Only 11 percent said transit, and just 2 percent wanted more bike lanes.

No other issue category was volunteered by more than 4 percent, including taxes, crime, schools, growth and the economy.

The news for TriMet was mostly good. Overall, 73 percent had a favorable opinion of the agency. Even more, 79 and 81 percent, think bus and MAX service is reliable. The approval ratings were even higher for TriMet riders.

Although the survey was conducted just six months after the horrific attack on a MAX train that left two men dead and one severely wounded, 76 percent approve of the job TriMet is doing to ensure safety. However, 50 percent said there was not enough security on the transit system, something TriMet is working on. And 26 percent said personal safety concerns had prevented them from taking TriMet in the past.

Eight-hundred residents in the TriMet service district participated in the survey. It has a margin of error of 3.5 percent.

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