Fewer than one in five of those questioned in the County Surveyors Society's (CSS) annual survey on public perceptions of transport services foresee improvement in key areas over the next five years.
More than 2,000 people were questioned by pollster MORI on their attitudes to traffic congestion, public transport, road and pavement maintenance, facilities for pedestrian and cyclists and road safety.
Some three-quarters of respondents report that congestion is a major problem in their area. But despite the concerns about congestion, opinions are divided over road user charging, with 47 per cent opposing and 37 per cent in favour.
Reducing the cost of public transport is respondents' top priority, followed closely by improving road maintenance and public transport services. Pedestrians, cyclists and bus users reported the biggest improvement in services over the past five years.
CSS president Bob Wilkins said the survey highlights "a worrying trend towards more congestion and deterioration in our transport networks".
Transport 2000 spokesman Steve Hounsham said the results show that transport is "a chief concern". He added: "This pessimism will continue if the government does not tackle these issues head on."