New ACT government-commissioned research has found 55 per cent of Canberra residents support the construction of a light rail system for the city, with opposition to tram services strongest in suburbs including Kambah, Curtin, Garran and Hughes.
A telephone survey of 1192 people throughout the ACT found 34 per cent do not support the roll-out of a city-wide light rail network and 11 per cent remain undecided.
Throughout Canberra, most residents in most suburbs said they would be more likely to use public transport if an accessible light rail tram system was available.
Conducted over two weeks last month, the survey comes as the ACT government continues development of a final business case for the first-stage city-to-Gungahlin line, with work to start in 2016.
More than half of those opposed to light rail nominated cost as their principal reason, followed by a belief there were better ways to improve public transport in Canberra.
Over-65s were the only age group with a majority of opposition, while 70 per cent of one-parent homes with dependent children were in favour.
A total of 59 per cent of men supported light rail, compared with 51 per cent of women.
A "majority of residents from most postcodes across Canberra" support the proposed city-wide network, including in suburbs around the first-stage line taking in the Northbourne Avenue corridor and Gungahlin district.
Mixed opinion on a light rail network for Canberra was recorded in suburbs including Mawson, Farrer, Fadden, McArthur and Wanniassa.
Residents of suburbs which don't support light rail also said they were unlikely to use improved public transport, while those not likely to leave their car at home were mostly south of State Circle or in Fyshwick.
Stage one of the network, which could be extended to take in parts of the city and Russell, will cost more than $614 million.
The research comes as Capital Metro Minister Simon Corbell released new artists' impressions of trams in Canberra, including of terminus sites in the city and at Gungahlin, passenger stops, intersections treatments on Northbourne Avenue and a stop at Phillip Avenue and the Federal Highway.
Mr Corbell said the research was encouraging, but acknowledged some Canberrans remained unconvinced.
He said the survey dispelled myths that Canberrans south of Lake Burley Griffin didn't support light rail.
"The government is encouraged by what we've seen in the report," he said.
"What it highlights is a strong level of support across the community for the light rail project but obviously it also indicates that there are some people who are sceptical, and whilst they're not in a majority, it's important that we continue to engage with those people and explain the benefits of this project."
The communications and engagement survey conducted by Piazza Research will be used to inform bureaucrats of public sentiment about light rail and to guide information campaigns.
"What we know is that light rail projects in other cities have been controversial and it is proving to be controversial here in Canberra as well," Mr Corbell said.
"People get the big picture. They get that this isn't just one line and it is going to be on over time and it's about creating the foundations for a broader, city-wide network."
Staff from the Capital Metro agency will visit Gungahlin on Saturday and Erindale on Sunday to continue public consultation, including seeking public feedback on the location of the line's 13 proposed stops.