TRIP Report: Connecticut Motorists Lose $6.1 Billion Per Year On Roads That Are Rough, Congested & Lack Some Safety Features

Connecticut Motorists Lose $6.1 Billion Per Year On Roads That Are Rough, Congested & Lack Some Safety Features – Up To $2,378 Per Driver. Costs Will Rise And Conditions Will Worsen Without Increased Funding

Roads and bridges that are deteriorated, congested or lack some desirable safety features cost Connecticut motorists a total of $6.1 billion statewide annually – as much as $2,378 per driver in some urban areas – due to higher vehicle operating costs, traffic crashes and congestion-related delays. Increased investment in transportation improvements at the local and state levels could relieve traffic congestion, improve road, bridge and transit conditions, boost safety, and support long-term economic growth in Connecticut, according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation organization.

The TRIP report, Connecticut Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe and Efficient Mobility,” finds that throughout Connecticut, nearly four-fifths of major, locally and state-maintained roads are in poor or mediocre condition and eight percent of Connecticut’s locally and state-maintained bridges are structurally deficient. The state’s major urban roads are becoming increasingly congested, with drivers wasting significant amounts of time and fuel each year. And, more than 1,200 people were killed on the state’s roads from 2011 to 2015.

Driving deficient Connecticut roads costs the state’s drivers $6.1 billion per year in the form of extra vehicle operating costs (VOC) as a result of driving on roads in need of repair, lost time and fuel due to congestion-related delays, and the costs of traffic crashes in which the lack of adequate roadway safety features likely were a contributing factor. The TRIP report calculates the cost to motorists of insufficient roads in the Bridgeport-Stamford, Hartford and New Haven urban areas. A breakdown of the costs per motorist in each area along with a statewide total is below.

Overall, 57 percent of Connecticut’s major locally and state-maintained roads and highways have pavements in poor condition and 22 percent are in mediocre condition. Ten percent of the state’s major roads are rated in fair condition and the remaining 11 percent are rated in good condition. Driving on deteriorated roads costs Connecticut drivers an additional $2.2 billion each year in extra vehicle operating costs, including accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.

“A generation ago, shortsighted and sporadic decisions were made that grossly underfunded our infrastructure and crippled our current transportation system,” said Representative Chris Perone, chief transportation financial officer for Connecticut House Democrats. “A strong economy is fueled by an efficient transportation system and making that happen needs to remain a priority.”

Traffic congestion in the state’s largest urban areas is worsening, causing as much as 49 annual hours of delay for some motorists and costing drivers as much as $1,174 annually in lost time and wasted fuel.

“Our roads and bridges are decaying and the money in the state’s Special Transportation Fund (STF) is drying up. We are standing on the precipice of tragedy,” said Representative Tony Guerrera, house chair of the Connecticut Legislature’s Transportation Committee. “According to the TRIP report, a majority of our roads are in poor or mediocre condition. With electronic tolls we could have a dedicated revenue stream to lock away in the STF and ensure funding for our roads and bridges for decades to come.”

Eight percent of Connecticut’s bridges are structurally deficient, with significant deterioration to the bridge deck, supports or other major components.

Traffic crashes in Connecticut claimed the lives of 1,246 people between 2011 and 2015, an average of 249 fatalities per year. While Connecticut’s overall traffic fatality rate of 0.84 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel is lower than the national average of 1.13, the state’s rural roads have a traffic fatality rate that is nearly double the fatality rate on all other roads in the state.

The efficiency and condition of Connecticut’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy. Annually, $489 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in Connecticut, mostly by truck. Eighty-six percent of the goods shipped annually to and from sites in Connecticut are carried by trucks and another 11 percent are carried by courier services or multiple mode deliveries, which include trucking.

“The condition of Connecticut’s transportation system will worsen in the future without additional funding, leading to even higher costs for drivers,” said Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director. “In order to promote economic growth, foster quality of life and get drivers safety and efficiently to their destination, Connecticut will need to make transportation funding a top priority.”

CONNECTICUT TRANSPORTATION BY THE NUMBERS:

Meeting the State’s Need for Safe and Efficient Mobility

Ten Key Transportation Numbers in Connecticut

 

$6.1 billion

Driving on deficient roads costs Connecticut motorists a total of $6.1 billion annually in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC), congestion-related delays and traffic crashes.
Bridgeport-Stamford – $2,378

Hartford – $2,355

New Haven – $2,190

TRIP has calculated the cost to the average motorist in the state’s largest urban areas in the form of additional VOC, congestion-related delays and traffic crashes. Drivers in the state’s largest urban areas incur annual costs as a result of driving on deficient roads as follows: Bridgeport-Stamford – $2,378; Hartford- $2,355; New Haven – $2,190.
 

4 of 5 miles

Nearly four of five miles of Connecticut’s major roads are in either poor or mediocre condition, with 57 percent rated in poor condition and 22 percent rated in mediocre condition.
Bridgeport-Stamford – 49 hours

Hartford – 45 hours

New Haven – 40 hours

Mounting congestion robs drivers of time and fuel. Annual time wasted in congestion for drivers in the state’s largest urban areas is as follows: Bridgeport-Stamford, 49 hours; Hartford, 45 hours; and, New Haven, 40 hours.
2X The fatality rate on Connecticut’s rural roads is nearly double the fatality rate on all other roads in the state (1.45 fatalities per 100 million VMT vs. 0.79).
8%

338 bridges

Eight percent of Connecticut’s bridges (338 out of 4,214) are structurally deficient. A bridge is structurally deficient if there is significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components.
$489 Annually, $489 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in Connecticut, mostly by truck.
 

$4.4 Billion

$1.5 Billion

Traffic crashes in Connecticut imposed a total of $4.4 billion in economic costs in 2015. TRIP estimates that traffic crashes in which roadway features were likely a contributing factor imposed $1.5 billion in economic costs in 2015.
$1 = $4 to $5 Every $1 of deferred maintenance on roads and bridges has been found to cost an additional $4 to $5 in needed future repairs.
 

$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

Quality of life and economic progress are literally riding on Connecticut’s transportation system. The rate of economic growth in Connecticut, 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 Constitution 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 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 business and financial services, tourism, manufacturing, and agriculture, the quality of Connecticut’s transportation system plays a vital role in the state’s economic growth and quality of life.

In this report, TRIP looks at the top transportation numbers in Connecticut as the state addresses modernizing and maintaining its system of roads, highways, bridges and transit.

COST TO CONNECTICUT MOTORISTS OF DEFICIENT ROADS

An inadequate transportation system costs Connecticut motorists a total of $6.1 billion every year in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC), congestion-related delays and traffic crashes.

  • Driving on rough roads costs Connecticut motorists a total of $2.2 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 cost Connecticut motorists a total of $1.5 billion each year in the form of lost household and workplace productivity, insurance and other financial costs.
  • Traffic congestion costs Connecticut motorists a total of $2.4 billion each year in the form of lost time and wasted fuel. 
  • The chart below details the average cost per driver in the state’s largest urban areas and statewide.

POPULATION, TRAVEL AND ECONOMIC TRENDS IN CONNECTICUT

Population and economic growth in Connecticut have resulted in increased demands on the state’s major roads and highways, leading to increased wear and tear on the transportation system.

  • Connecticut’s population reached approximately 3.6 million residents in 2016, a five percent increase since 2000. Connecticut had approximately 2.6 million licensed drivers in 2015.
  • Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in Connecticut increased by four percent from 2000 to 2016 –from 30.8 billion VMT in 2000 to 32 billion VMT in 2016. VMT in the state increased three percent just in the last three years (2013-2016).
  • From 2000 to 2015, Connecticut’s gross domestic product, a measure of the state’s economic output, increased by 11 percent, when adjusted for inflation. U.S. GDP increased 27 percent during this time.

CONNECTICUT ROAD CONDITIONS

A lack of adequate state and local funding has resulted in four of five miles of major roads and highways in Connecticut having pavement surfaces in poor or mediocre condition, providing a rough ride and costing motorists 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 (FHWA), based on data submitted annually by the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) on the condition of major state and locally maintained roads and highways.
  • 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.
  • Overall, 57 percent of Connecticut’s major locally and state-maintained roads and highways have pavements in poor condition and 22 percent are in mediocre condition. Ten percent of the state’s major roads are rated in fair condition and the remaining 11 percent are rated in good condition.
  • Sixty-one percent of Connecticut’s major locally and state-maintained urban roads and highways have pavements in poor condition and 19 percent are rated in mediocre condition. Nine percent of major urban roads are in fair condition and the remaining 11 percent are rated in good condition.
  • Thirty-nine percent of Connecticut’s major locally and state-maintained rural roads and highways have pavements in poor condition and 34 percent are rated in mediocre condition. Seventeen percent of major rural roads are in fair condition and the remaining 11 percent are rated in good condition.
  • The chart below details the share of pavement in poor, mediocre, fair and good condition in the state’s largest urban areas.

  • Roads rated in mediocre to poor condition may show signs of deterioration, including rutting, cracks and potholes.       In some cases, these roads can be resurfaced, but often are too deteriorated and must be reconstructed.
  • Driving on rough roads costs Connecticut motorists a total of $2.2 billion annually in extra vehicle operating costs. Costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.
  • Long-term repair costs increase significantly when road and bridge maintenance is deferred, as road and bridge deterioration accelerates later in the service life of a transportation facility and requires more costly repairs. A report on maintaining pavements found that every $1 of deferred maintenance on roads and bridges costs an additional $4 to $5 in needed future repairs.

CONNECTICUT BRIDGE CONDITIONS

Eight percent of locally and state-maintained bridges in Connecticut show significant deterioration. This includes all bridges that are 20 feet or more in length.

  • Eight percent of Connecticut’s bridges (338 out of 4,214) 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 share of structurally deficient bridges in the Bridgeport-Stamford, Hartford and New Haven areas.

HIGHWAY SAFETY AND FATALITY RATES IN CONNECTICUT

Improving safety features on Connecticut’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.

  • A total of 1,246 people were killed in Connecticut traffic crashes from 2011 to 2015, an average of 249 fatalities per year.
  • Connecticut’s overall traffic fatality rate of 0.84 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2015 was lower than the national average of 1.13.
  • The fatality rate on Connecticut’s non-interstate rural roads in 2015 was nearly double that on all other roads in the state (1.45 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs. 0.79).
  • The chart below details the average number of people killed in traffic crashes from 2013 to 2015 in the state’s largest urban areas, as well as the cost per motorist of traffic crashes.

  • Traffic crashes in Connecticut imposed a total of $4.4 billion in economic costs in 2015. TRIP estimates that traffic crashes in which roadway features were likely a contributing factor imposed $1.5 billion in economic costs in 2015.
  • According to a 2015 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report, the economic costs of traffic crashes includes work and household productivity losses, property damage, medical costs, rehabilitation costs, legal and court costs, congestion costs and emergency services.
  • 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.

 CONNECTICUT TRAFFIC CONGESTION

Increasing levels of traffic congestion cause significant delays in Connecticut, 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 Connecticut is approximately $2.4 billion per year.
  • The chart below details the number of hours lost to congestion by the average driver in the state’s largest urban areas, as well as the annual cost of traffic congestion per driver in the form of 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 CONNECTICUT

Investment in Connecticut’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 Status of the Nation’s Highways, Bridges and Transit: Conditions and Performance report submitted by the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) to Congress, the nation faces an $836 billion backlog in needed repairs and improvements to the nation’s roads, highways and bridges.
  • The USDOT report found that the nation’s current $105 billion investment in roads, highways and bridges by all levels of government should be increased by 35 percent to $142.5 billion annually to improve the conditions of roads, highways and bridges, relieve traffic congestion and improve traffic safety.

TRANSPORTATION AND ECONOMIC GROWTH IN CONNECTICUT

The efficiency of Connecticut’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, $489 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in Connecticut, mostly by truck.
  • Eighty-six percent of the goods shipped annually to and from sites in Connecticut are carried by trucks and another 11 percent are carried by courier services or multiple mode deliveries, which include trucking.
  • 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 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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