High-Tech Headaches

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What's on the minds of people living in high-tech cities these days? Probably the value of their stock options, but there's another issue concerning them as well: traffic. In a recent survey of residents in six high-tech cities, 59 percent cited traffic as an important factor influencing the quality of life in their areas. Only 5 percent said their city is doing an excellent or very good job addressing traffic issues.

The survey by market research firm IntelliQuest asked residents in Austin, Atlanta, Boston, Raleigh-Durham, San Jose, and Seattle to rate which quality-of-life issues are important to them and to score their city's performance on each. Few cities come close to reaching their citizens' expectations. Education and healthcare are the most important factors everywhere, but few people are very satisfied with the quality of either in their town. Roughly 75 percent of Bostonians rate education as very important, but only 18 percent think the school system is very good or excellent.

The number of help-wanted ads in their city's newspapers satisfies many residents - after religion, employment is the second factor with the highest overall performance ratings. Half of Austin dwellers think their town provides adequate jobs; 43 percent of those in San Jose agree. Still, the weather in Silicon Valley is more crucial to locals there. Sixty-one percent say the climate is an important issue affecting their quality of life (beating out culture, religion, and traffic), and 46 percent say the weather is very good or excellent.

Residents in each of the six cities generally believe their personal circumstances will be better five years from now, but many don't feel the same about their hometowns: 37 percent of the folks in Seattle say their city will be a worse place to live in five years; one out of four people in Raleigh-Durham agree. Maybe they should import the weather from San Jose.

For more information about the study, visit www.intelliquest.com or e-mail communities@intelliquest.com.

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