In recent years various intercity rail projects have moved into construction and late planning phases for the first time in the past fifty years in the US. These projects have faced and continue to face many challenges towards implementation including conflict with communities and regions in which these projects affect. This study explains which factors influence individual decisions as to support, oppose, or have no opinion towards an intercity rail project that will affect their community. Looking at the Brightline rail project, a controversial intercity rail project in the US state of Florida, the factors that most determine individual decisions towards the project were determined. How these determinate factors were first identified was through an overview of research into decision theory from the physiological perspective in which perceptions overtly determine the decision outcomes of individuals. The constructs of perceptions and decision theory were connected within the context of transportation in the US in order to form a concise research strategy that identified how individuals perceived the impacts of the project and some of the constructs that build perceptions through measurable individual characteristics. Perceptions towards the Brightline projects impacts and characteristics of individuals were gather through an online and paper survey allowing for a quantitative analysis that was conducted to see precisely what role perceptions and individual characteristics played in determining how someone responded to the project. It was found that how an individual perceived the future impacts of the project overwhelmingly determined their response towards the project. The results also reviled how particular characteristics of an individual had some influence on their decision outcome while other characteristics had little to no influence. This study provides insight into the role of decision making from the individual level in relation to a major infrastructure project. To summarize the analysis the extent of individual characteristics and perceived project impacts is high in understanding the effects on decision outcomes towards the project understood through a variance of (80.08%). Perceived project impacts had both the greatest control amongst (IV’S) and the highest odds of predicting individual decision towards the Brightline project. Despite this control and high predictive power of perceived project impacts, risk and exposure still maintained a significant association with individual decisions towards the project. This study concludes that individual perceptions of project impacts has the greatest control in people’s decisions towards the project while their risk and exposure to the project still retains a strong influence on overall decision outcomes.

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Keywords Perceptions, Brightline project, decision making, ration choice theory, cognitive constructs, intercity rail, community impact
Thesis Advisor Sharma, S. (Somesh)
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Note UMD 13 Report number:1112
Bowen, J. (Jacob). (2017, September). Individual decisions towards intercity rail. Retrieved from