TRIP Report: LOUISIANA’S DEFICIENT ROADS COST DRIVERS $6.5 BILLION EACH YEAR – AS MUCH AS $2,466 PER DRIVER.

Louisiana Transportation By The Numbers:

Meeting the State’s Need for Safe, Smooth and Efficient Mobility

Ten Key Transportation Numbers in Louisiana

 

$6.5 billion

Driving on deficient roads costs Louisiana motorists a total of $6.5 billion annually in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC), congestion-related delays and traffic crashes.
Baton Rouge: $2,466

Lafayette: $2,024

New Orleans: $2,171

Shreveport: $1,894

TRIP has calculated the cost to the average motorist in Louisiana’s largest urban areas in the form of additional VOC, congestion-related delays and traffic crashes. The average Baton Rouge area driver loses $2,466 annually, while each Lafayette area driver loses $2,024. Each New Orleans area driver loses $2,171 annually and the average Shreveport area driver loses $1,894.
3,563

713

On average, 713 people were killed annually in Louisiana traffic crashes from 2011 to 2015, a total of 3,563 fatalities over the five year period.
2X The fatality rate on Louisiana’s non-interstate rural roads is more than double that on all other roads in the state (2.46 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs. 1.16).
26% Statewide

39% Baton Rouge

41% Lafayette

39%New Orleans

38% Shreveport

Statewide, 26 percent of Louisiana’s major roads are in poor condition. Thirty-nine percent of major roads in the Baton Rouge urban area are in poor condition and in the Lafayette urban area, 41 percent of major roads are in poor condition. Thirty-nine percent of major roads in the New Orleans urban are in poor condition and 38 percent of major roads in the Shreveport urban area are in poor condition.
$734 Billion Annually, $734 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in Louisiana, relying heavily on the state’s network of roads and bridges.
 

13%

Thirteen percent of the state’s bridges are structurally deficient, meaning there is significant deterioration to the major components of the bridge.
Baton Rouge: 47 hours

Lafayette: 26 hours

New Orleans: 45 hours

Shreveport: 27 hours

The average driver in the Baton Rouge urban area loses 47 hours to congestion annually, while each driver in the Lafayette urban area loses 26 hours annually. Drivers in the New Orleans area lose 45 hours to congestion each year, while Shreveport area drivers lose 27 hours annually.
 

21%

 

Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in Louisiana increased by 21 percent from 2000 to 2016 –from 40.8 billion VMT in 2000 to 49.5 billion VMT in 2016.
 

 

$1.00 = $5.20

The Federal Highway Administration estimates that each dollar spent on road, highway and bridge improvements results in an average benefit of $5.20 in the form of reduced vehicle maintenance costs, reduced delays, reduced fuel consumption, improved safety, reduced road and bridge maintenance costs, and reduced emissions as a result of improved traffic flow.

Executive Summary

Nine years after the nation suffered a significant economic downturn, Louisiana’s economy continues to rebound. The rate of economic growth in Louisiana, which is greatly impacted by the reliability and condition of the state’s transportation system, has a significant impact on quality of life in the Pelican State.

An efficient, safe and well-maintained transportation system provides economic and social benefits by affording individuals access to employment, housing, healthcare, education, goods and services, recreation, entertainment, family, and social activities. It also provides businesses with access to suppliers, markets and employees, all critical to a business’ level of productivity and ability to expand. Reduced accessibility and mobility – as a result of traffic congestion, a lack of adequate capacity, or deteriorated roads, highways, bridges and transit facilities – diminishes a region’s quality of life by reducing economic productivity and limiting opportunities for economic, health or social transactions and activities.

With an economy based largely on agriculture, natural resource extraction, manufacturing, and tourism, the quality of Louisiana’s transportation system plays a vital role in the state’s economic growth and quality of life.

In this report, TRIP looks at the key transportation numbers in Louisiana as the state addresses its need to modernize and maintain its system of roads, highways, bridges and transit systems.

COST TO LOUISIANA MOTORISTS OF DEFICIENT ROADS

An inadequate transportation system costs Louisiana motorists a total of $6.5 billion every year in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC), congestion-related delays and traffic crashes.

  • Driving on rough roads costs Louisiana motorists a total of $2 billion annually in extra vehicle operating costs. Costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.
  • Traffic crashes in which roadway design was likely a contributing factor costs Louisiana motorists a total of $2.1 billion each year in the form of lost household and workplace productivity, insurance and other financial costs.
  • Traffic congestion costs Louisiana motorists a total of $2.4 billion each year in the form of lost time and wasted fuel.
  • TRIP has calculated the average cost to drivers in the state’s largest urban areas as a result of driving on roads that are deteriorated, congested and lack some desirable safety features. The chart below details the costs to drivers in the Baton Rouge, Lafayette, New Orleans and Shreveport urban areas.

POPULATION, TRAVEL AND ECONOMIC TRENDS IN LOUISIANA

The rate of population and travel growth in Louisiana have resulted in increased demands on the state’s major roads and highways, leading to increased wear and tear on the state’s transportation system.

  • Louisiana’s population reached approximately 4.7 million residents in 2016, a five percent increase since 2000.
  • Louisiana had 3.4 million licensed drivers in 2015.
  • Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in Louisiana increased by 21 percent from 2000 to 2016 –from 40.8 billion VMT in 2000 to 49.5 billion VMT in 2015.
  • By 2030, vehicle travel in Louisiana is projected to increase by another 20 percent.
  • From 2000 to 2015, Louisiana’s gross domestic product, a measure of the state’s economic output, increased by 16 percent, when adjusted for inflation. U.S. GDP increased 27 percent during this time.

LOUISIANA ROAD CONDITIONS

A lack of adequate state and local funding has resulted in nearly a quarter of major roads and highways in Louisiana having pavement surfaces in poor condition, providing a rough ride and costing motorist in the form of additional vehicle operating costs.

  • The pavement data in this report, which is for all arterial and collector roads and highways, is provided by the Federal Highway Administration, based on data submitted annually by the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) on the condition of major state and locally maintained roads and highways in the state.
  • Pavement data for Interstate highways and other principal arterials is collected for all system mileage, whereas pavement data for minor arterial and all collector roads and highways is based on sampling portions of roadways as prescribed by FHWA to insure that the data collected is adequate to provide an accurate assessment of pavement conditions on these roads and highways.
  • Statewide, 26 percent of Louisiana’s major locally and state-maintained roads and highways are in poor condition, while 22 percent are in mediocre condition. Fifteen percent of major roads are in fair condition and the remaining 37 percent are in good condition.
  • Thirty-nine percent of Louisiana’s major locally and state-maintained urban roads and highways have pavements in poor condition, while 25 percent are in mediocre condition. Fourteen percent of major roads are in fair condition and the remaining 23 percent are in good condition.
  • Eighteen percent of Louisiana’s major locally and state-maintained rural roads and highways have pavements in poor condition, while 20 percent are in mediocre condition. Sixteen percent of major roads are in fair condition and the remaining 46 percent are in good condition.
  • Roads rated in poor condition may show signs of deterioration, including rutting, cracks and potholes. In some cases, poor roads can be resurfaced, but often are too deteriorated and must be reconstructed.
  • The chart below details pavement conditions on major urban roads in the Baton Rouge, Lafayette, New Orleans and Shreveport urban areas.

  • Driving on rough roads costs Louisiana motorists a total of $2 billion annually in extra vehicle operating costs. The average driver in the Baton Rouge urban area loses $696 annually, while the average Lafayette urban area driver loses $706 each year as a result of driving on deteriorated roads. Driving on deteriorated roads costs the average New Orleans urban area driver $672 annually, while the average driver in the Shreveport urban area loses $698 annually. Costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.

LOUISIANA BRIDGE CONDITIONS

Thirteen percent of locally and state-maintained bridges in Louisiana show significant deterioration and are in need of repairs or replacement. This includes all bridges that are 20 feet or more in length.

  • Thirteen percent of Louisiana’s bridges are structurally deficient. A bridge is structurally deficient if there is significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components. Structurally deficient bridges are often posted for lower weight or closed to traffic, restricting or redirecting large vehicles, including commercial trucks and emergency services vehicles.
  • The chart below details the number and share of structurally deficient bridges statewide and in the Baton Rouge, Lafayette, New Orleans and Shreveport urban areas.

HIGHWAY SAFETY AND FATALITY RATES IN LOUISIANA

Improving safety features on Louisiana’s roads and highways would likely result in a decrease in the state’s traffic fatalities and serious crashes. It is estimated that roadway features are likely a contributing factor in approximately one-third of all fatal and serious traffic crashes.

  • Between 2011 and 2015 a total of 3,563 people were killed in traffic crashes in Louisiana, an average of 713 fatalities per year.
  • Louisiana’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.51 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2015 is the seventh highest in the nation and significantly higher than the national average of 1.13.
  • The fatality rate on Louisiana’s non-interstate rural roads is more than double that on all other roads in the state (2.46 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs. 1.16).
  • The chart below details the average number of fatalities from 2012 to 2014 in the Baton Rouge, Lafayette, New Orleans and Shreveport urban areas and the average cost per driver as a result of traffic crashes.

  • Traffic crashes in Louisiana imposed a total of $6.3 billion in economic costs in 2015. TRIP estimates that traffic crashes in which roadway features were likely a contributing factor imposed $2.1 billion in economic costs in 2015.
  • Roadway features that impact safety include the number of lanes, lane widths, lighting, lane markings, rumble strips, shoulders, guard rails, other shielding devices, median barriers and intersection design. The cost of serious crashes includes lost productivity, lost earnings, medical costs and emergency services.
  • Several factors are associated with vehicle crashes that result in fatalities, including driver behavior, vehicle characteristics and roadway features. TRIP estimates that roadway features are likely a contributing factor in approximately one-third of fatal traffic crashes.
  • Where appropriate, highway improvements can reduce traffic fatalities and crashes while improving traffic flow to help relieve congestion. Such improvements include removing or shielding obstacles; adding or improving medians; improved lighting; adding rumble strips, wider lanes, wider and paved shoulders; upgrading roads from two lanes to four lanes; and better road markings and traffic signals.
  • Investments in rural traffic safety have been found to result in significant reductions in serious traffic crashes. A 2012 report by the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) found that improvements completed recently by the Texas Department of Transportation that widened lanes, improved shoulders and made other safety improvements on 1,159 miles of rural state roadways resulted in 133 fewer fatalities on these roads in the first three years after the improvements were completed (as compared to the three years prior).   TTI estimates that the improvements on these roads are likely to save 880 lives over 20 years.

LOUISIANA TRAFFIC CONGESTION

Increasing levels of traffic congestion cause significant delays in Louisiana, particularly in its larger urban areas, choking commuting and commerce. Traffic congestion robs commuters of time and money and imposes increased costs on businesses, shippers and manufacturers, which are often passed along to the consumer.

  • Based on Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) estimates, the value of lost time and wasted fuel in Louisiana is approximately $2.4 billion per year.
  • The chart below, based on TTI estimates, details the hours lost to congestion annually by the average motorist in each urban area and the cost per driver in lost time and wasted fuel.

  • Increasing levels of congestion add significant costs to consumers, transportation companies, manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers and can reduce the attractiveness of a location to a company when considering expansion or where to locate a new facility. Congestion costs can also increase overall operating costs for trucking and shipping companies, leading to revenue losses, lower pay for drivers and employees, and higher consumer costs.

TRANSPORTATION FUNDING IN LOUISIANA

Investment in Louisiana’s roads, highways and bridges is funded by local, state and federal governments.   The current five-year federal surface transportation program includes modest funding increases and provides states with greater funding certainty, but falls far short of providing the level of funding needed to meet the nation’s highway and transit needs. The bill does not include a long-term and sustainable revenue source.

  • According to the 2015 AASHTO Transportation Bottom Line Report, a significant boost in investment in the nation’s roads, highways, bridges and public transit systems is needed to improve their condition and to meet the nation’s transportation needs.
  • AASHTO’s report found that based on an annual one percent increase in VMT annual investment in the nation’s roads, highways and bridges needs to increase 36 percent, from $88 billion to $120 billion, to improve conditions and meet the nation’s mobility needs. Investment in the nation’s public transit system needs to increase from $17 billion to $43 billion.
  • The 2015 AASHTO Transportation Bottom Line Report found that if the national rate of vehicle travel increased by 1.4 percent per year, the needed annual investment in the nation’s roads, highways and bridges would need to increase by 64 percent to $144 billion. If vehicle travel grows by 1.6 percent annually the needed annual investment in the nation’s roads, highways and bridges 2015 AASHTO Transportation Bottom Line Report would need to increase by 77 percent to $156 billion.

TRANSPORTATION AND ECONOMIC GROWTH IN LOUISIANA

The efficiency of Louisiana’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy. Businesses rely on an efficient and dependable transportation system to move products and services. A key component in business efficiency and success is the level and ease of access to customers, markets, materials and workers.

  • Annually, $734 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in Louisiana, relying heavily on the state’s network of roads and bridges.
  • Businesses have responded to improved communications and greater competition by moving from a push-style distribution system, which relies on low-cost movement of bulk commodities and large-scale warehousing, to a pull-style distribution system, which relies on smaller, more strategic and time-sensitive movement of goods.
  • Increasingly, companies are looking at the quality of a region’s transportation system when deciding where to re-locate or expand. Regions with congested or poorly maintained roads may see businesses relocate to areas with a smoother, more efficient and more modern transportation system.
  • Highway accessibility was ranked the number two site selection factor behind only the availability of skilled labor in a 2015 survey of corporate executives by Area Development Magazine.
  • The Federal Highway Administration estimates that each dollar spent on road, highway and bridge improvements results in an average benefit of $5.20 in the form of reduced vehicle maintenance costs, reduced delays, reduced fuel consumption, improved safety, reduced road and bridge maintenance costs and reduced emissions as a result of improved traffic flow.

Sources of information for this report include the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the U.S. Census Bureau, the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

 

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