Tag Archive for 'Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)'

TEXAS TRANSPORTATION BY THE NUMBERS: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe and Efficient Mobility

TRIPExecutive Summary

Texas’ extensive system of roads, highways and bridges provides the state’s residents, visitors and businesses with a high level of mobility. This transportation system forms the backbone that supports the state’s economy. Texas’ surface transportation system enables the state’s residents and visitors to travel to work and school, visit family and friends, and frequent tourist and recreation attractions while providing its businesses with reliable access to customers, materials, suppliers and employees.

As Texas looks to retain its businesses, maintain its level of economic competitiveness and achieve further economic growth, the state will need to maintain and modernize its roads, highways and bridges by improving the physical condition of its transportation network and enhancing the system’s ability to provide efficient and reliable mobility for motorists and businesses.  Making needed improvements to Texas’ roads, highways and bridges could also provide a significant boost to the state’s economy by creating jobs in the short term and stimulating long term economic growth as a result of enhanced mobility and access.

With a current unemployment rate of 5.1 percent and with the state’s population continuing to grow, Texas must improve its system of roads, highways and bridges to foster economic growth and keep businesses in the state. In addition to economic growth, transportation improvements are needed to ensure safe, reliable mobility and quality of life for all Texans.  Meeting Texas’ need to modernize and maintain its system of roads, highways and bridges will require a significant boost in local, state and federal funding.

Signed into law in July 2012, MAP-21(Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act), has improved several procedures that in the past had delayed projects, MAP-21 does not address long-term funding challenges facing the federal surface transportation program.

The impact of inadequate federal surface transportation revenues could be felt as early as August, when the balance in the Highway Account of the federal Highway Trust Fund is expected to drop below $1 billion, which will trigger delays in the federal reimbursement to states for road, highway and bridge projects.  States are expected to respond to this delay in federal reimbursement for road, highway and bridge repairs and improvements by delaying or postponing numerous projects.

As a further result, nationwide federal funding for highways will be cut by almost 100 percent from the current investment level for the fiscal year starting on October 1, 2014 (FY 2015) unless Congress provides additional transportation revenues.  This is due to a cash shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund as projected by the Congressional Budget Office.

Deficient_roads_cost-segment-Final-02-DFWThe level of funding and the provisions of the federal surface transportation program have a significant impact on highway and bridge conditions, roadway safety, transit service, quality of life and economic development opportunities in Texas.

 

  • TRIP estimates that Texas roadways that lack some desirable safety features, have inadequate capacity to meet travel demands or have poor pavement conditions cost the state’s residents approximately $25.1 billion annually in the form of additional VOC (including accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear), the cost of lost time and wasted fuel due to traffic congestion, and the financial cost of traffic crashes.
  • 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 Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Houston and San Antonio areas.

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

  • Texas’ population reached approximately 26.1 million in 2012, a 53 percent increase since 1990. Texas had 15,252,192 licensed drivers in 2012.
  • Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in Texas increased by 47 percent from 1990 to 2012 – jumping from 162.2 billion VMT in 1990 to 237.8 billion VMT in 2012.
  • By 2030, vehicle travel in Texas is projected to increase by another 25 percent.
  • From 1990 to 2012, Texas’ gross domestic product, a measure of the state’s economic output, increased by 107 percent, when adjusted for inflation.

A lack of adequate state and local funding has resulted in sixteen percent of major locally and state-maintained urban roads and highways in Texas having pavement surfaces in poor condition, providing a rough ride and costing motorist in the form of additional vehicle operating costs. 

  • Sixteen percent of Texas’ major urban roads and highways have pavements in poor condition.  An additional 51 percent of the state’s major urban roads are rated in mediocre or fair condition and the remaining 33 percent are rated in 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.
  • Driving on rough roads costs all Texas motorists a total of $5.7 billion annually in extra vehicle operating costs. Costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.
  • The chart below details the pavement conditions on major roads in the state’s largest urban areas.

Deficient_roads_cost-segments-Final-01-AustinNineteen percent of locally and state-maintained bridges in Texas show significant deterioration or do not meet current design standards often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment. This includes all bridges that are 20 feet or more in length. 

  • Two percent of Texas’ 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.
  • Seventeen percent of Texas’ bridges are functionally obsolete.  Bridges that are functionally obsolete no longer meet current highway design standards, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment.

Texas’ traffic fatality rate is significantly higher than the national average.  Improving safety features on Texas’ 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 2009 and 2013 a total of 16,041 people were killed in traffic crashes in Texas, an average of 3,208 fatalities per year.
  • Texas’ overall traffic fatality rate of 1.41 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2013 is significantly higher than the national traffic fatality rate of 1.11.
  • The fatality rate on Texas’ rural non-Interstate roads was 2.63 fatalities per 100 vehicle miles of travel in 2013, more than two-and-a-half times greater than the 0.99 fatality rate on all other roads and highways in the state.
  • 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 the next 20 years.

Increasing levels of traffic congestion cause significant delays in Texas, 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.

  • 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 to consider expansion or even 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.
  • The chart below details the annual number of hours wasted in traffic by the average driver in each urban area, as well as the annual congestion cost to the average motorist in the form of lost time and wasted fuel:

Deficient_roads_cost-segments-Final-03-HoustonThe efficiency of Texas’ transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy.  Businesses are increasingly reliant 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, $1.167 trillion in goods are shipped from sites in Texas and another $1.246 trillion in goods are shipped to sites in Texas, mostly by truck.
  • Fifty-nine percent of the goods shipped annually from sites in Texas are carried by trucks and another nine 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.
  • 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.
  • Highway accessibility was ranked the number one site selection factor in a 2011 survey of corporate executives by Area Development Magazine.
  • A 2007 analysis by the Federal Highway Administration found that every $1 billion invested in highway construction would support approximately 27,800 jobs, including approximately 9,500 in the construction sector, approximately 4,300 jobs in industries supporting the construction sector, and approximately 14,000 other jobs induced in non-construction related sectors of the economy.
  • 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.

The federal government is a critical source of funding for Texas’ roads, highways and bridges and provides a significant return to Texas in road and bridge funding based on the revenue Deficient_roads_cost-segments-Final-04-SanAntoniogenerated in the state by the federal motor fuel tax. 

  • MAP-21(Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act), approved by Congress in July 2012, increased funding flexibility for states and streamlined project approval processes to improve the efficiency of state and local transportation agencies in providing needed transportation improvements in the state.
  • MAP-21, which expires on September 30, 2014, does not provide sufficient long-term revenues to support the current level of federal surface transportation investment.
  • The impact of inadequate federal surface transportation revenues could be felt as early as this summer, when federal funding for road, highway and bridge projects is likely to be delayed because the balance in the Highway Account of the federal Highway Trust Fund is expected to drop below $1 billion. This delay and uncertainty in funding will likely result in the postponement of numerous projects.
  • Nationwide federal funding for highways is expected to be cut by almost 100 percent from the current investment level for the fiscal year starting October 1, 2014 (FY 2015) unless Congress provides additional transportation revenues.  This is due to a cash shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund as projected by the Congressional Budget Office.
  • If the funding shortfalls into the federal Highway Trust Fund are addressed solely by cutting spending it is estimated that federal funding for highway and transit improvements in Texas will be cut by $3.4 billion for the federal fiscal year starting October 1, 2014, unless Congress provides additional transportation revenues.
  • From 2008 to 2012, the federal government provided $1.13 for road improvements in Texas for every dollar the state paid in federal motor fuel fees.

Sources of information for this report include the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the U.S. Census Bureau, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). All data used in the report is the latest available.   

 

TRIP Report: MODERNIZING OKLAHOMA’S TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM:

Progress and Challenges in Providing Safe, Efficient and Well-Maintained Roads, Highways and Bridges 

Executive Summary

Oklahoma’s extensive system of roads, highways and bridges provides the state’s residents, visitors and businesses with a high level of mobility. This transportation system forms the backbone that supports the state’s economy and contributes to the provision of a high quality of life in Oklahoma.

A decade ago, Oklahoma had significant road, highway and bridge deterioration and high rates of traffic fatalities.  But beginning with legislative action in 2005 and continuing through state legislative action as recent as 2013, Oklahoma has undertaken a sustained commitment to upgrade the condition and efficiency of its roads, highways and bridges and to reduce traffic fatalities by modernizing its highway system.

By making this effort, Oklahoma has been able to reverse the deterioration of major roads, highways and bridges and has begun to improve traffic safety in the state by modernizing urban and rural roads and highways.  These efforts have resulted in a large reduction in the number of state-maintained deficient bridges, the rehabilitation and reconstruction of thousands of miles of roadways, and the completion of safety improvements that are saving numerous lives each year.

But the state still has far to go to meet its initial goals through 2021 for the reconstruction and modernization of the state highway system, additional improvements in road and bridge conditions, and further traffic safety enhancements.  Achieving the state’s goals for a modern, well-maintained and safe transportation system will require “staying the course” with Oklahoma’s current transportation program and doubling down on this effort by proceeding with further transportation improvements well through the next decade.

Population and economic growth have placed increased demands on Oklahoma’s major roads and highways, leading to mounting wear and tear on the transportation system. 

  • Oklahoma’s population reached approximately 3.8 million in 2012, a 21 percent increase since 1990, when the state’s population was approximately 3.1 million.  Oklahoma has approximately 2.4 million licensed drivers.
  • Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in Oklahoma increased 45 percent from 1990 to 2012 – from 33.1 billion VMT in 1990 to 47.9 billion VMT in 2012, higher than the rate of VMT growth nationally, which increased by 38 percent since 1990.
  • By 2030, vehicle travel in Oklahoma is projected to increase by another 25 percent.
  • From 1990 to 2012, Oklahoma’s gross domestic product (GDP), a measure of the state’s economic output, increased by 59 percent, when adjusted for inflation

Oklahoma has been able to rehabilitate approximately a quarter of state-maintained roads and highways since 2006 as the state continues to reconstruct and modernize its highways.  While further improvements in roadway structural conditions, safety design and capacity are planned for the state’s major roads, Oklahoma will continue to face a challenge in maintaining surface pavement conditions and the need to further modernize its highway system.    

  • Since 2006, Oklahoma has made significant progress in improving the overall quality and condition of its 12,265 miles of state-maintained roadways, largely due to the increased funding approved by the state legislature beginning in 2005.
  • Since 2006, 301 miles of Oklahoma’s 673 miles of Interstate were rehabilitated or reconstructed.
  • Since 2006, Oklahoma has resurfaced, rehabilitated or reconstructed more than 3,000 miles of non-Interstate state roads and highways.
  • Currently, 4,600 miles of Oklahoma’s state-maintained roads lack paved shoulders, reducing safety and limiting capacity on these routes. The state’s current transportation plan calls for improving 567 miles of these two-lane roads, including the addition of paved shoulders, by 2021, making these routes safer and more efficient.
  • Currently 11.5 percent of state-maintained roads and highways in Oklahoma have pavements in deficient condition and this share is anticipated to increase to 12.2 percent in 2021.

The number of Oklahoma’s state-maintained structurally deficient bridges has been cut in half in recent years as a result of accelerated bridge replacement and rehabilitation efforts that were made possible by additional funding provided by the state legislature. By 2021 the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) anticipates reducing the number of state-maintained structurally deficient bridges to near zero. 

  • A total of 468 of Oklahoma’s 6,800 state-maintained bridges were rated structurally deficient in 2013. This represents a significant reduction since 2004 when 1,168 state-maintained bridges were structurally deficient.  From 2006 through 2013 ODOT replaced or rehabilitated 823 bridges.
  • By 2021, the state expects to replace or provide major rehabilitation to 924 state-maintained bridges, reducing the number of state-maintained, structurally deficient bridges to near zero.
  • As a result of the significant improvement in Oklahoma’s state-maintained bridges the state’s overall share of structurally deficient bridges, including locally maintained bridges, that dropped from 27 percent in 2006  (the highest share nationally)  to 18 percent in 2013 (the fifth highest share nationally).
  • 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. Structurally deficient bridges are safe for travel and are maintained and monitored on a regular basis by the agencies responsible for their upkeep.

While Oklahoma has made significant safety improvements to its roadways in recent years, the state’s traffic fatality rate is still significantly higher than the national average.  Improved safety features on Oklahoma’s roads and highways are needed to decrease traffic fatalities and serious crashes in the state. It is estimated that roadway features are likely a contributing factor in approximately one-third of all fatal and serious traffic crashes.  

  • Between 2008 and 2012, 3,559 people were killed in traffic crashes in Oklahoma, an average of 712 fatalities per year.
  • Oklahoma’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.48 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2012 is 31 percent higher than the national average of 1.13.
  • The traffic fatality rate in Oklahoma declined from 1.57 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2006 to 1.48 fatalities in 2012 – a six percent decrease. During that time, the national fatality rate decreased 20 percent from 1.41 to 1.13 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel.
  • The traffic fatality rate on Oklahoma’s non-Interstate rural roads in 2012 was more than two-and-a-half times higher than on all other roads and highways in the state – 2.52 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel compared to 0.92.
  • Since 2006, 635 miles of cable median barriers have been completed or are under construction on Oklahoma’s divided high-speed roads. These barriers have dramatically reduced the number of fatalities resulting from crossover collisions. From 2007 to 2012, the number of fatalities due to crossover collisions in Oklahoma dropped from 39 to six.
  • Nearly a third – 31 percent – of miles of state-maintained highways in Oklahoma (3,862 of 12,265 miles) are rated as either critical or inadequate for safety, based on an evaluation of safety features such as passing opportunities, adequate sight distances, existence of paved shoulders, recovery areas for errant vehicles and the severity of hills and curves.
  • By 2021, the miles of state-maintained highways in Oklahoma that are rated either critical or inadequate for safety are anticipated to be reduced from 3,862 to 3,680.
  •  Several factors are associated with vehicle crashes that result in fatalities, including driver behavior, vehicle characteristics and roadway features. It is estimated 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 the next 20 years.

Federal funding for Oklahoma’s roads, highways and bridges may be cut as early as this summer because of a lack of adequate federal transportation revenue.  The current federal transportation program, which provides funding for the state’s roads and bridges, is set to expire this fall and will require Congressional action to continue beyond September 30th, 2014.   Future state highway spending will also be reduced by $75 million annually, which will be required to pay off bonds that were issued to help pay for the state’s recent road and bridge improvements.

  • The MAP-21 program, approved by Congress in July 2012, increased funding flexibility for states and improved project approval processes to increase the efficiency of state and local transportation agencies in providing needed transportation improvements.
  • The impact of inadequate federal surface transportation revenues could be felt as early as summer of 2014, when federal funding for road, highway and bridge projects is likely to be delayed because the balance in the Highway Account of the federal Highway Trust Fund is expected to drop below $1 billion. This delay and uncertainty in funding will likely result in the postponement of numerous projects.
  • MAP-21 does not provide sufficient long-term revenues to support the current level of federal surface transportation investment.  Nationwide federal funding for highways is expected to be cut by almost 100 percent from the current investment level for the fiscal year starting October 1, 2014 (FY 2015) unless Congress provides additional transportation revenues.  This is due to a cash shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund as projected by the Congressional Budget Office.
  • If the funding shortfalls into the federal Highway Trust Fund are addressed solely by cutting spending it is estimated that federal funding for highway and transit improvements in Oklahoma will be cut by $625 million for the federal fiscal year starting October 1, 2014, unless Congress provides additional transportation revenues.
  • Oklahoma is obligated to pay $75 million annually to retire bonds issued over the last decade to help pay for road, highway and bridge improvements in the state.

The efficiency of Oklahoma’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the state’s economy.  Businesses are increasingly reliant on an efficient and reliable 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, $117 billion in goods are shipped from sites in Oklahoma and another $135 billion in goods are shipped to sites in Oklahoma, mostly by truck.

  • Eighty percent of the goods shipped annually from sites in Oklahoma are carried by trucks and another seven percent are carried by courier services or multiple mode deliveries, which include trucking.
  • Highway accessibility was ranked the number one site selection factor in a 2011 survey of corporate executives by Area Development Magazine.

Sources of information for this report include the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT), the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the U. S. Census Bureau, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO),the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).  All data used in the report are the most recent available.  

TRIP Report: Bumpy Roads Ahead: America’s Roughest Rides and Strategies to Make our Roads Smoother

Nation’s urban roads are increasingly deteriorated, costing drivers as much as $800 each year. Road conditions expected to decline further if federal and state lawmakers fail to act. Federal funding for region’s highways set to be slashed in October 2014 unless congress approves additional revenues.

Rank

Urban Area

VOC

Rank

Urban Area

Poor

1

LA–Long Beach–Santa Ana, CA

 $832

1

LA–Long Beach–Santa Ana, CA

64%

2

Tulsa, OK

 $784

2

San Francisco—Oakland, CA

60%

3

San Francisco—Oakland, CA

 $782

3

San Jose, CA

56%

4

Oklahoma City, OK

 $782

4

San Diego, CA

55%

5

San Diego, CA

 $758

5

Tucson,  AZ

53%

6

San Jose, CA

 $737

6

New York, NY — Newark, NJ

51%

7

Tucson, AZ

 $723

7

Bridgeport—Stamford, CT

51%

8

Milwaukee, WI

 $700

8

Milwaukee, WI

48%

9

New Orleans, LA

 $687

9

New Orleans, LA

47%

10

New York, NY –Newark, NJ

 $673

10

Oklahoma City, OK

47%

11

Bridgeport—Stamford, CT

 $669

11

Tulsa, OK

46%

12

Sacramento, CA

 $658

12

Seattle, WA

45%

13

Riverside–San Bernardino, CA

 $638

13

Honolulu, HI

43%

14

Seattle, WA

 $625

14

Sacramento, CA

43%

15

Concord, CA

 $623

15

Concord, CA

42%

16

Denver—Aurora, CO

 $615

16

New Haven, CT

42%

17

Dallas–Fort Worth –Arlington, TX

 $615

17

Riverside–San Bernardino, CA

39%

18

Birmingham, AL

 $601

18

Springfield, MA

39%

19

Honolulu, HI

 $598

19

Boston, MA

39%

20

Colorado Springs, CO

 $589

20

Hartford, CT

38%

 

The TRIP report contains pavement condition data and driver costs for U.S. urban areas with a population of 250,000 or greater.

 

More than one-quarter (27 percent) of the nation’s major urban roads– Interstates, freeways and other arterial routes – have pavements that are in substandard condition and provide an unacceptably rough ride to motorists, costing the average urban driver $377 annually, a total of $80 billion nationwide.  In some areas, driving on deteriorated roadways costs the average driver more than $800 each year. Driving on roads in disrepair increases consumer costs by accelerating vehicle deterioration and depreciation and increasing needed maintenance, fuel consumption and tire wear.

These findings were released today by TRIP, a national transportation research group based in Washington, D.C. The report, Bumpy Roads Ahead: America’s Roughest Rides and Strategies to Make our Roads Smoother,” examines urban pavement conditions, transportation funding and economic development. Additional pavement condition and vehicle operating costs for urban areas with populations of 250,000 or greater can be found in the full report and appendices. The chart below details the 20 large cities (500,000+ population) with the highest percentage of pavements in poor condition and the highest vehicle operating cost.

 

The chart below details the 20 mid-sized urban areas (250,000 to 500,000 in population) with the highest percentage of pavements in poor condition and the highest vehicle operating cost.

Rank Urban Area VOC Rank Urban Area Poor
1 Antioch, CA $793 1 Antioch, CA 64%
2 Reno, NV $771 2 Reno, NV 55%
3 Jackson, MS $741 3 Santa Rosa, CA 51%
4 Hemet, CA $738 4 Trenton, NJ 48%
5 Santa Rosa, CA $709 5 Hemet, CA 48%
6 Temecula-Murrieta, CA $664 6 Spokane, WA 45%
7 Trenton, NJ $636 7 Jackson, MS 45%
8 Spokane, WA $619 8 Temecula-Murrieta 43%
9 Madison, WI $615 9 Worcester, MA 41%
10 Corpus Christi, TX $614 10 Stockton, CA 40%
11 Worcester, MA $600 11 Corpus Christi, TX 40%
12 Des Moines, IA $591 12 Des Moines, IA 38%
13 Stockton, CA $584 13 Madison, WI 37%
14 Baton Rouge, LA $581 14 South Bend, IN 34%
15 Modesto, CA $560 15 Davenport, IA 34%
16 Shreveport, LA $549 16 Baton Rouge, LA 32%
17 Davenport, IA $548 17 Scranton, PA 32%
18 Scranton, PA $539 18 Fort Wayne, IN 32%
19 Oxnard, CA $534 19 Modesto, CA 31%
20 Fort Wayne, IN $530 20 Anchorage, AK 29%

 

Pavement conditions are likely to worsen under current funding by all levels of government. Through 2032, the U.S. faces a $156 billion shortfall in the amount needed to maintain roadways in their current condition, a $374 billion shortfall to make modest improvements in pavement conditions and a $670 billion shortfall to make significant improvements to roadway conditions.

A 2010 U.S. Department of Transportation report found that the nation would need to increase annual funding for road and highway improvements by 21 percent to keep them in their current condition, by 51 percent to make a modest improvement in overall conditions and by 91 percent to make significant improvement to their condition.

“States depend on investment from the Highway Trust Fund to help preserve and maintain the roads and bridges that carry our families and our economy. We cannot continue to ignore the very real crisis facing our national transportation system without a long-term, sustainable funding source for the Highway Trust Fund,” said Bud Wright, executive director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO).

Federal dollars are a key source of transportation funding in many states.   But the lack of adequate funding beyond the expiration of the MAP-21 (Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act) federal surface transportation legislation on September 30, 2014, threatens the future condition and performance of the nation’s roads and highways. In the fall of 2014, nationwide federal funding for highways is expected to be cut back by almost 100 percent from the current $40 billion investment level unless additional revenues are provided to the federal Highway Trust Fund. This is due to a cash shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund as projected by the Congressional Budget Office.

Making improvements to the transportation system can have a significant economic impact. A 2007 analysis by the Federal Highway Administration found that every $1 billion invested in highway construction would support approximately 27,800 jobs, including approximately 9,500 in the construction sector, approximately 4,300 jobs in industries supporting the construction sector, and approximately 14,000 other jobs induced in non-construction related sectors of the economy.

“With state and local governments struggling to fund needed road repairs and with federal surface transportation funding set to be slashed next year, road conditions are projected to get even worse,” said Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director.  “Congress could reduce the extra costs borne by motorists driving on rough roads by approving funding that will support a federal transportation program that improves road conditions on the nation’s major roads and highways.”

Executive Summary

These days, potholes and pavement deterioration make it a challenge to keep the wheel steady on America’s roads and highways. More than a quarter of the nation’s major urban roadways – highways and major streets that are the main routes for commuters and commerce – are in poor condition.  These critical links in the nation’s transportation system carry 78 percent of the approximately 2 trillion miles driven annually in urban America.

With state and local governments unable to adequately fund road repairs and with the current federal surface transportation program set to expire on September 30, 2014, road conditions could get even worse in the future.

In this report, TRIP examines the condition of the nation’s major urban roads, including pavement condition data for America’s most populous urban areas, recent trends in travel, the latest developments in repairing roads and building them to last longer, and the funding levels needed to adequately address America’s deteriorated roadways.

For the purposes of this report, an urban area includes the major city in a region and its neighboring or surrounding suburban areas.  Pavement condition data are the latest available and are derived from the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) 2011 annual survey of state transportation officials on the condition of major state and locally maintained roads and highways, based on a uniform pavement rating index.  The pavement rating index measures the level of smoothness of pavement surfaces, supplying information on the ride quality provided by road and highway surfaces.  The major findings of the TRIP report are:

More than a quarter of the nation’s major urban roads are rated in substandard or poor condition, providing motorists with a rough ride and increasing the cost of operating a vehicle. 

  • More than one-quarter (27 percent) of the nation’s major urban roads – Interstates, freeways and other arterial routes – have pavements that are in substandard condition and provide an unacceptably rough ride to motorists.
  • An additional 27 percent of the nation’s major urban roads and highways have pavements that are in mediocre condition, 15 percent are in fair condition and 31 percent are in good condition.
  • Including major rural roads, 14 percent of the nation’s major roads are in poor condition, 19 percent are in mediocre condition, 17 percent are in fair condition and 50 percent are in good condition.
  • The twenty urban regions with a population of 500,000 or greater with the greatest share of major roads and highways with pavements that are in poor condition and provide a rough ride are:

California’s Roads and Bridges:* An urban area includes the major city in a region and its neighboring or surrounding suburban areas.

• The twenty urban regions with a population between 250,000 and  500,000 with the greatest share of major roads and highways with pavements that are in poor condition and provide a rough ride are: California’s Roads and Bridges:

  • An urban area includes the major city in a region and its neighboring or surrounding suburban areas.
  • A listing of road conditions for each urban area with a population of 500,000 or more can be found in Appendix A. Pavement condition data for urban areas with a population between 250,000 and 500,000 can be found in Appendix B.
  • The average motorist in the U.S. is losing $377 annually –$80 billion nationally –in additional vehicle operating costs as a result of driving on roads in need of repair.  Driving on roads in disrepair increases consumer costs by accelerating vehicle deterioration and depreciation, increasing the frequency of needed maintenance and requiring additional fuel consumption.
  • The twenty urban regions with at least 500,000 people, where motorists pay the most annually in additional vehicle maintenance because of roads in poor condition are:

California’s Roads and Bridges:* An urban area includes the major city in a region and its neighboring or surrounding suburban areas.

  • • The twenty urban regions with a population between 250,000 and 500,000  where motorists pay the most annually in additional vehicle maintenance because of roads in poor condition are:

California’s Roads and Bridges:* An urban area includes the major city in a region and its neighboring or surrounding suburban areas.

• A listing of additional vehicle operating costs due to driving on roads in substandard condition for urban areas with populations over 500,000 can be found in Appendix C. Additional vehicle operating costs for urban areas with a population between 250,000 and 500,000 can be found in Appendix D.

Significant increases in travel in the years ahead will put additional stress on roads and make it even more costly to improve and maintain them.

  • Overall vehicle travel increased by 37 percent from 1990 to 2011.  Travel by large commercial trucks grew at an even faster rate, increasing by 49 percent from 1990 to 2011.  Large trucks place significant stress on road surfaces.
  • Vehicle travel is expected to increase approximately 25 percent by 2030, and the level of heavy truck travel nationally is anticipated to increase by approximately 64 percent by 2030, putting greater stress on our nation’s roadways.

Pavement conditions are likely to worsen under current funding by all levels of government. Through 2032, the U.S. faces a $156 billion shortfall in the cost to maintain roadways in their current condition, a $374 billion shortfall to make modest improvements in pavement conditions and a $670 billion shortfall in the cost to make significant improvements to roadway conditions.

  • A 2010 U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) study prepared for Congress found that road and highway pavement conditions are likely to worsen at current funding levels, largely because numerous roadways currently or soon will require significant rehabilitation or reconstruction to extend their service life.
  • All levels of government (local, state and federal) are currently spending $36.5 billion annually on the rehabilitation and preservation of the physical condition of roads and highways (excluding bridge repairs).
  • The DOT study estimates that the annual investment needed to maintain roads and highways (excluding bridges) in their current condition is $44.3 billion annually -a 21 percent increase from current levels of annual funding.
  • The DOT study estimates that the annual investment needed to make a modest improvement in the condition of roads and highways (excluding bridges) is $55.2 billion annually -a 51 percent increase in annual funding.
  • Needed annual investment to significantly improve the condition of roads and highways (excluding bridges) is $70 billion annually -a 91 percent increase in annual funding.

The federal government is a critical source of funding for road and highway repairs.  But the lack of adequate funding beyond the expiration of the current federal surface transportation program, MAP-21(Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act), which expires on September 30, 2014, threatens the future condition of the nation’s roads and highways.

  • Signed into law in July 2012, MAP-21 will provide approximately $38 billion annually for road, highway and bridge improvements annually in fiscal years 2013 and 2014.
  • The MAP-21 program, approved by Congress in 2012, greatly increased funding flexibility for states and streamlined project approval processes to improve the efficiency of state and local transportation agencies in providing needed transportation improvements.
  • MAP-21 does not provide sufficient long-term revenues to support the current level of federal surface transportation investment. Nationwide federal funding for highways is expected to be cut back by almost 100 percent from the current investment level for the fiscal year starting on October 1, 2014 (FY 2015) unless Congress provides additional transportation revenues.  This is due to a cash shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund as projected by the Congressional Budget Office.

Projects to improve the condition of the nation’s roads and bridges could boost the nation’s economic growth by providing significant short-and long-term economic benefits.

  • Highway preservation projects provide significant economic benefits by improving travel speeds, capacity, load-carrying abilities and safety, and by reducing operating costs for people and businesses.  Roadway repairs also extend the service life of a road, highway or bridge, which saves money by either postponing or eliminating the need for more expensive future repairs.
  • A 2007 analysis by the Federal Highway Administration found that every $1 billion invested in highway construction would support approximately 27,800 jobs, including approximately 9,500 in the construction sector, approximately 4,300 jobs in industries supporting the construction sector, and approximately 14,000 other jobs induced in non-construction related sectors of the economy.
  • 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.

Transportation agencies can reduce pavement life cycle costs by adopting a pavement preservation approach that emphasizes making early initial repairs to pavement surfaces while they are still in good condition and using higher-quality paving materials, reducing the cost of keeping roads smooth by delaying the need for costly reconstruction.

  • There are five life-cycle stages of a paved surface:  design, construction, initial deterioration, visible deterioration and pavement disintegration and failure.
  • A 2010 Federal Highway Administration report found that an over­reliance on short-term pavement repairs will fail to provide the long-term structural integrity needed in a roadway surface to guarantee the future performance of a paved road or highway.
  • The 2010 Federal Highway Administration report warned that transportation agencies that focus only on current pavement surface conditions will eventually face a highway network with an overwhelming backlog of pavement rehabilitation and replacement needs.
  • A preventive maintenance approach to keeping pavements in good condition has been found to reduce overall pavement life cycle costs by approximately one-third over a 25-year period.
  • Initial pavement preservation can only be done on road surfaces that are structurally sound.  Roads that have significant deterioration must be maintained with surface repairs until sufficient funds are available to reconstruct the road, at which time a pavement preservation strategy can be adopted.
  • The use of thicker pavements and more durable designs and materials for a particular roadway are being used to increase the life span of road and highway surfaces and delay the need for significant repairs.  These new pavements include high performance concrete pavements and perpetual hot mix asphalt pavements.

Adequate funding would allow transportation agencies to adopt the following recommendations for insuring a smooth ride.

  • Implement and adequately fund a pavement preservation program that performs initial maintenance on road surfaces while they are still in good condition, postponing the need for significant rehabilitation.
  • Consider using pavement materials and designs that will provide a longer-lasting surface when critical routes are constructed or reconstructed.
  • Resurface roads in a timely fashion using pavement materials that are designed to be the most durable, given local climate and the level and mix of traffic on the road.
  • Invest adequately to insure that 75 percent of local road surfaces are in good condition.

All data used in the report are the latest available. Sources of information for this report include the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT), the AAA, the Texas Transportation Institute, the Transportation Research Board and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

TRIP Reports: The Top 50 Transportation Projects to Support Economic Growth and Quality of Life in New Mexico

TRIPNew Report Identifies New Mexico’s 50 Most Needed Transportation Projects For Economic Growth; Projects Would Improve, Modernize And Expand Road And Transit Systems To Support And Grow The State’s Economy

In order to adequately support New Mexico’s existing industries and provide for additional economic growth, the state will need to make numerous improvements to its surface transportation system. This is according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation research organization.

TRIP’s report, “The Top 50 Surface Transportation Projects to Support Economic Growth and Quality of Life in New Mexico,” identifies and ranks the projects needed to provide New Mexico with a transportation system that can support the increased movement of people, goods and resources throughout the state.  The most needed surface transportation improvements in New Mexico include projects to build, expand or modernize highways or bridges, projects to improve rail or public transportation, and multi-modal projects. These improvements would enhance economic development opportunities throughout the state by increasing mobility and freight movement, easing congestion, and making New Mexico an attractive place to live, visit and do business.

According to the TRIP report, the most needed projects for the state’s economic growth are as follows

1.     US 491 expansion to four lanes from Twin Lakes to Naschitti

2.     Reconstruction of US 64 from Farmington to McGee Park.

3.     Reconstruction of I-25 Gibson, Cesar Chavez and Lead/Coal Interchanges.

4.     Adding two lanes to US 82 from Artesia to Lovington.

5.     Reconstruction of the Comanche, Montgomery, Jefferson, San Mateo and San Antonio I-25 Interchanges.

6.     Reconstruction and rehabilitation of NM 68 in Espanola.

7.     Construction of Central Corridor Bus Rapid Transit in Albuquerque.

8.     Addition of a third lane on I-25 between the Rio Bravo and Broadway Interchanges.

9.     Construction of a new four-lane roadway with bike and pedestrian amenities over the Animas River in Farmington.

10.  Construction of a new river crossing from I-25 to NM 47 in Valencia County.

A full list of needed projects, descriptions and their impact on economic development can be found in the appendix of the report. TRIP ranked each transportation project based on a rating system that considered the following: short-term economic benefits, including job creation; the level of improvement in the condition of the transportation facility, including safety improvements; the degree of improvement in access and mobility; and the long-term improvement provided in regional or state economic performance and competitiveness.

“New Mexico’s highways and bridges form a vital statewide transportation network, which is essential not only in supporting a healthy economy for our state, but also in providing safe, reliable access to homes, schools, healthcare, shopping and recreation,” said Mike Beck, executive director of the Associated Contractors of New Mexico.  “In order to protect the investment already made in our surface transportation system, we must not fall behind in our efforts to enhance and expand that system.”

Enhancing critical segments of New Mexico’s surface transportation system will boost the state’s economy in the short-term by creating jobs in construction and related fields. In the long term these improvements will enhance economic competitiveness by reducing travel delays and transportation costs, improving access and mobility, improving safety, and stimulating sustained job growth, improving the quality of life for the state’s residents and visitors.

Sustaining New Mexico’s long-term economic growth and maintaining the state’s high quality of life will require increased investment in expanding the capacity of the state’s surface transportation system, which will enhance business productivity and support short- and long-term job creation in the state.

“Increasing investment in New Mexico’s transportation network of roads, bridges and transit is vital to boosting the state’s economy and the quality of life of its residents,” said Will Wilkins, executive director of TRIP. “In the short term, transportation investment creates good jobs, but the long-term benefits of an efficient transportation system connecting New Mexico’s residents, communities and businesses can span generations. If state and federal lawmakers fail to provide adequate transportation funding, New Mexico and the nation will lose their competitive edge and the state’s transportation system will become increasingly deteriorated and gridlocked.”

Executive Summary

New Mexico’s transportation system has played a significant role in the state’s development, providing mobility and access for residents, visitors, businesses and industry.  The state’s roads, highways, rails and public transit systems remain the backbone of the Land of Enchantment’s economy.  New Mexico’s transportation system also provides for a high quality of life and makes the state a desirable place to live and visit.  The condition and quality of its transportation system will play a critical role in New Mexico’s ability to capitalize on its economic advantages and meet the demands of the 21st Century

To achieve sustainable economic growth, New Mexico must proceed with numerous projects to improve key roads, bridges, highways and transit systems.  Enhancing critical segments of New Mexico’s transportation system will boost the state’s economy in the short-term by creating jobs in construction and related fields. In the long-term these improvements will enhance economic competitiveness and improve the quality of life for the state’s residents and visitors by reducing travel delays and transportation costs, improving access and mobility, improving safety, and stimulating sustained job growth.

In this report, TRIP examines recent transportation and economic trends in New Mexico and provides information on the transportation projects in the state that are most needed to support economic growth.  Sources of data include the New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT), the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the U.S. Census Bureau.  All data used in the report is the latest available.

TRIP has identified the 50 transportation projects that are most needed to support New Mexico’s economic growth. These projects are located throughout the state.

  • The most needed transportation improvements in New Mexico include projects to build, expand or modernize roads, highways, bridges and public transit systems throughout the state.  These improvements would enhance economic development opportunities throughout the state by increasing mobility and freight movement, easing congestion, and making New Mexico an attractive place to live, visit and do business.
  • TRIP evaluated each transportation project based on the following criteria: short-term economic benefits, including job creation; the level of improvement in the condition of the transportation facility, including safety improvements; the degree of improvement in access and mobility; and the long-term improvement provided in regional or state economic performance and competitiveness.
  • New Mexico’s 10 most needed transportation projects to support economic development in the state as determined by TRIP follow. A list of the top 50 needed projects and descriptions can be found in the appendix.
  • 11.  US 491 expansion to four lanes from Twin Lakes to Naschitti. This $89 million project would widen the remaining 26.8 miles of two-lane roadway to four- lanes. US 491 is the only feasible north-south corridor in the region that will support heavy truck traffic. Completion of this project would allow for more efficient transport of coal, oil and other goods, while enhancing safety and boosting tourism.
  • 12.  Reconstruction of US 64 from Farmington to McGee Park. This $40 million project would reconstruct a four-mile portion of US 64 to provide additional capacity and access management. This project will provide additional capacity and increased safety resulting in improved transportation and economic opportunities in the region.
  • 13.  Reconstruction of the I-25 Gibson, Cesar Chavez and Lead/Coal Interchanges. This $200 million project would eliminate the S-curve on I-25 and reconstruct the I-25 Gibson, Cesar Chavez and Lead/Coal Interchanges. Completion of this project will improve mobility in the area and enhance access to and from the area to the Interstate system.
  • 14.  Adding two lanes to US 82 from Artesia to Lovington. This $95 million project would construct two additional lanes to make a four-lane facility from Artesia to Lovington. Completion of this project will accommodate the increased traffic due to the oil and gas industry in southeastern New Mexico.
  • 15.  Reconstruction of the Comanche, Montgomery, Jefferson, San Mateo and San Antonio I-25 Interchanges. This $125 million project would reconstruct the Comanche, Montgomery, Jefferson, San Mateo and San Antonio Interchanges on I-25 to alleviate congestion and improve mobility on I-25.
  • 16.  Reconstruction and rehabilitation of NM 68 in Espanola. This $70 million project would reconstruct 35 miles of NM 68 to four lanes, with auxiliary lanes along two-lane sections. This corridor serves commuter and recreational traffic in the region. Completion of the project would address operation and safety concerns.
  • 17.  Construction of a Bus Rapid Transit system in the Central Corridor in Albuquerque. This project would construct a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system along the Central Corridor in Albuquerque, from I-40 and Tramway Boulevard to I-40 and Atrisco Vista. This would include a combination of dedicated busway and mixed flow lanes within the current right-of-way. Central Avenue is a key connector of transit destinations and serves a large part of the transit-dependent population of the city. The institution of a BRT system would create more timely and dependable transit options and would assist in redevelopment of the vacant or underused land along the Corridor.
  • 18.  Addition of a third lane on I-25 between the Rio Bravo and Broadway Interchanges. This $50 million project would add a third lane to five miles of I-25 between the Rio Bravo and Broadway Interchanges to address congestion and improve mobility on I-25.
  • 19.  Construction of a new four-lane roadway with bike and pedestrian amenities over the Animas River in Farmington. This $22 million extension of Pinon Hills Boulevard would create a new river crossing and connect the retail district along East Main St to the developing area of unincorporated San Juan County east of the river.  This connection would reduce out-of-direction travel that motorists currently experience.  This road extension would help alleviate traffic volumes on the two nearest river crossings at Browning Pkwy and CR 350.
  • 20.  Construction of a new river crossing in Los Lunas from I-25 to NM 47. This $60 million project would construct a new river crossing from I-25 to NM 47 to improve mobility in Valencia County, provide for economic development and ease congestion in the area.

Transportation projects that improve the efficiency, condition or safety of a roadway provide significant economic benefits by reducing transportation delays and costs associated with a deficient transportation system.  Some benefits of transportation improvements include the following.

  • Improved business competitiveness due to reduced production and distribution costs as a result of increased travel speeds and fewer mobility barriers
  • Improvements in household welfare resulting from better access to higher-paying jobs, a wider selection of competitively priced consumer goods, additional housing and healthcare options, and improved mobility for residents without access to private vehicles
  • Gains in local, regional and state economies due to improved regional economic competitiveness, which stimulates population and job growth.
  • Increased leisure/tourism and business travel resulting from the enhanced condition and reliability of a region’s transportation system.
  • A reduction in economic losses from vehicle crashes, traffic congestion and vehicle maintenance costs associated with driving on deficient roads.
  • Transportation projects that expand roadway capacity produce significant economic benefits by reducing congestion and improving access, thus speeding the flow of people and goods while reducing fuel consumption.
  • Site Selection magazine’s 2010 survey of corporate real estate executives found that transportation infrastructure was the third most important selection factor in site location decisions, behind only work force skills and state and local taxes
  • A 2007 analysis by the Federal Highway Administration found that every $1 billion invested in highway construction would support approximately 27,800 jobs, including approximately 9,400 in the construction sector, approximately 4,300 jobs in industries supporting the construction sector, and approximately 14,000 other jobs induced in non-construction related sectors of the economy.
  • 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.

While New Mexico’s diverse economy has been impacted by the recession, the state’s transportation system will need to accommodate projected future growth.

  • From 1990 to 2012, New Mexico’s population increased by 38 percent, from approximately 1.5 million to approximately 2.1 million.
  • From 1990 to 2011, annual vehicle-miles-of-travel (VMT) in the state increased by 58 percent, from approximately 16.1 billion VMT to 25.5 billion VMT. Based on travel and population trends, TRIP estimates that vehicle travel in New Mexico will increase another 30 percent by 2030.
  • New Mexico’s unemployment rate nearly doubled from 3.5 percent in July 2007 to 6.9 percent in July 2013. New Mexico’s current unemployment rate is lower than the national average of 7.4 percent in July 2013.
  • New Mexico has benefited from a diverse economy, which includes significant employment in the following sectors: oil and gas production, tourism, agriculture, and film and television production.

New Mexico’s economy is served by an extensive surface transportation system that has some deficiencies and experiences severe congestion in key areas.  Roads carry the majority of freight shipped in the state.

  • New Mexico’s system of 68,384 miles of roads and 3,924 bridges, maintained by local, state and federal governments, carry 25.5 billion vehicle miles of travel annually.
  • Twenty-four percent of New Mexico’s major roads are deficient, with nine percent rated in poor condition and an additional 15 percent rated mediocre in 2011.  An additional 11 percent of the state’s major roads were rated in fair condition and 65 percent were rated in good condition.
  • Eight percent of New Mexico’s bridges were rated structurally deficient in 2012.  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, school buses and emergency services vehicles.
  • Every year, approximately $31.4 billion in goods are shipped annually from sites in New Mexico and another $46.6 billion in goods are shipped annually to sites in New Mexico, mostly by truck.
  • In 2012, nine percent of New Mexico’s bridges were rated as functionally obsolete. Bridges that are functionally obsolete no longer meet current highway design standards, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment.
  • Sixty-five percent of the goods shipped annually from sites in New Mexico are carried by trucks and another 18 percent are carried by parcel, U.S. Postal Service, courier services or by multiple modes, which use trucks for part of the deliveries.

Sources of data for this report include the , the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the U.S. Census Bureau.  All data used in the report is the latest available.

Founded in 1971, TRIP ® of Washington, DC, is a nonprofit organization that researches, evaluates and distributes economic and technical data on surface transportation issues.  TRIP is sponsored by insurance companies, equipment manufacturers, distributors and suppliers; businesses involved in highway and transit engineering and construction; labor unions; and organizations concerned with efficient and safe surface transportation.

TRIP Reports:Deficient Roadways Cost Each Pennsylvania Driver As Much As $1,800 Annually, A Total Of $9.4 Billion Statewide. Costs Will Rise And Transportation Woes Will Worsen Without Significant Funding Boost

TRIPRoads and bridges that are deficient, congested or lack desirable safety features cost Pennsylvania motorists a total of $9.4 billion statewide – as much as $1,800 annually per driver in some urban areas due to higher vehicle operating costs (VOC), traffic crashes and congestion-related delays.   Increased investment in transportation improvements at the local, state and federal levels could relieve traffic congestion, improve road and bridge conditions, boost safety, and support long-term economic growth in Pennsylvania, according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation organization.

The TRIP report, Future Mobility in Pennsylvania: The Cost of Meeting the State’s Need for Safe and Efficient Mobility,” finds that throughout Pennsylvania, 37 percent of major roads and highways provide motorists with a rough ride. A total of 42 percent of Pennsylvania bridges show significant deterioration or do not meet current design standards. The state’s major urban roads are becoming increasingly congested, with drivers wasting increasing amounts of time and fuel. And Pennsylvania’s rural non-interstate traffic fatality rate is significantly higher than the fatality rate on all other roads in the state.

Driving on deficient roads costs Pennsylvania drivers a total of $9.4 billion per year in the form of extra vehicle operating costs as a result of driving on roads in need of repair, lost time and fuel due to congestion-related delays, and the cost of traffic crashes in which roadway features likely were a contributing factor. The TRIP report calculated the cost to motorists of insufficient roads in Pennsylvania’s largest urban areas: Harrisburg-York-Lancaster, Lehigh Valley-Reading, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. A breakdown of the costs per motorist in each area along with a statewide total is below.

The TRIP report finds that 41 percent of major urban roads in the Harrisburg/York/Lancaster metro area are in poor or mediocre condition. In the Reading/Lehigh Valley urban area, 52 percent of major urban roads are in poor or mediocre condition. A total of 73 percent of major urban roads in the Philadelphia urban area are in either poor or mediocre condition.  Forty-eight percent of major urban roads in the Pittsburgh urban area are in poor or mediocre condition. In the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre urban area, 66 percent of major urban roads are in poor or mediocre condition.

“As the General Assembly looks at a transportation funding measure, there’s a lot of discussion about the cost,” said Jason Wagner, managing director of the Pennsylvania Highway Information Association (PHIA). “The TRIP report quantifies the cost of not addressing this problem, and that cost is almost three times greater than the $3.5 billion annual transportation funding gap. Of even greater concern is the safety threat that a deficient transportation system represents, especially in Pennsylvania’s rural areas.”

According to the TRIP report, 25 percent of Pennsylvania’s bridges are structurally deficient, meaning there is significant deterioration to the bridge deck, supports, or other major components. Pennsylvania has the highest share of structurally deficient bridges in the nation. These bridges are often posted for lower weight or are closed to traffic, restricting or redirecting large vehicles, including commercial trucks, school buses and emergency service vehicles. An additional 17 percent of the state’s bridges are functionally obsolete. These bridges no longer meet current highway design standards, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment with the approaching road. Bridges that are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete are safe for travel and are monitored regularly by the organizations responsible for maintaining them.

Significant levels of traffic congestion are causing increasing delays in Pennsylvania, particularly in the state’s larger urban areas, choking commuting and commerce. In some urban areas, drivers lose as many as 48 hours per year stuck in traffic congestion – the equivalent of two days.

Traffic crashes in Pennsylvania claimed the lives of 1,286 people in 2011. The traffic fatality rate in 2011 on Pennsylvania’s non-Interstate rural roads was 2.33 traffic fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel, nearly two-and-a-half times higher than the 0.95 traffic fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel on all other roads and highways in the state. A disproportionate share of highway fatalities occur on Pennsylvania’s rural, non-Interstate roads.  In 2011, 45 percent of traffic fatalities in Pennsylvania occurred on rural, non-Interstate routes, while only 25 percent of vehicle travel in the state occurred on these roads.

“Addressing Pennsylvania’s needs for a safe, efficient and well-maintained transportation system will require a significant investment boost at the federal and state level.  But not addressing the state’s need for an improved transportation system will result in even greater costs to the public,” said Will Wilkins, executive director of TRIP.

PENNSYLVANIA TRANSPORTATION BY THE NUMBERS:

Meeting the State’s Need for Safe and Efficient Mobility

Key Transportation Numbers in Pennsylvania

$9.4 billion

TRIP estimates that Pennsylvania roadways that lack some desirable safety features, have inadequate capacity to meet travel demands or have poor pavement conditions cost the state’s residents approximately $9.4 billion annually in the form of additional vehicle operating costs, the cost of lost time and wasted fuel due to traffic congestion and traffic crashes.

$1,646$1,355

$1,798

$1,418

$1,320

The costs to motorists of driving on roads that are congested, deteriorated and that lack some desirable safety features in Pennsylvania’s largest urban areas are:  Harrisburg/York/Lancaster – $1,646; Reading/Lehigh Valley – $1,355; Philadelphia – $1,798; Pittsburgh – $1,418; Scranton/Wilkes-Barre – $1,320.

37% 

Thirty-seven percent of Pennsylvania’s major locally and state- maintained roads and highways are either in poor or mediocre condition.

41%52%

73%

48%

66%

 

Forty-one percent of major urban roads in the Harrisburg/York/Lancaster metro area are in poor or mediocre condition. In the Reading/Lehigh Valley urban area, 52 percent of major urban roads are in poor or mediocre condition. A total of 73 percent of major urban roads in the Philadelphia urban area are in either poor or mediocre condition. Forty-eight percent of major urban roads in the Pittsburgh urban area are in poor or mediocre condition. In the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre urban area, 66 percent or major urban roads are in poor or mediocre condition.

1,3656,825

An average of 1,365 people were killed annually in Pennsylvania traffic crashes From 2007 to 2011, a total of 6,825 fatalities over the five year period.

2.5X

The fatality rate on Pennsylvania’s non-interstate rural roads is nearly two-and-a-half times higher than on all other roads in the state (2.33 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs. 0.95).

42 %

#1

A total of 42 percent of Pennsylvania bridges are in need of repair, improvement or replacement. Twenty-five percent of the state’s bridges are structurally deficient and 17 percent are functionally obsolete. Pennsylvania has the highest share of structurally deficient bridges in the nation.

16 %15 %

Vehicle miles of travel in Pennsylvania increased 16 percent from 1990 to 2011 and are expected to increase another 15 percent by 2030.

8,796,774

There are 8,796,774 licensed drivers in Pennsylvania.

$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

Pennsylvania’s extensive system of roads, highways and bridges provides the state’s residents, visitors and businesses with a high level of mobility. This transportation system forms the backbone that supports the state’s economy. Pennsylvania’s surface transportation system enables the state’s residents and visitors to travel to work and school, visit family and friends, and frequent tourist and recreation attractions while providing its businesses with reliable access to customers, materials, suppliers and employees

As Pennsylvania looks to retain its businesses, maintain its level of economic competitiveness and achieve further economic growth, the state will need to maintain and modernize its roads, highways and bridges by improving the physical condition of its transportation network and enhancing the system’s ability to provide efficient and reliable mobility for motorists and businesses.  Making needed improvements to Pennsylvania’s roads, highways and bridges could also provide a significant boost to the state’s economy by creating jobs in the short term and stimulating long term economic growth as a result of enhanced mobility and access.

With a current unemployment rate of 7.9 percent and with the state’s population continuing to grow, Pennsylvania must improve its system of roads, highways and bridges to foster economic growth and keep businesses in the state. In addition to economic growth, transportation improvements are needed to ensure safe, reliable mobility and quality of life for all Pennsylvanians.  Meeting Pennsylvania’s need to modernize and maintain its system of roads, highways and bridges will require a significant boost in local, state and federal funding.

An inadequate transportation system costs Pennsylvania residents a total of $9.4 billion every year in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC), congestion-related delays and traffic crashes.

  • TRIP estimates that Pennsylvania roadways that lack some desirable safety features, have inadequate capacity to meet travel demands or have poor pavement conditions cost the state’s residents approximately $9.4 billion annually in the form of additional vehicle operating costs, the cost of lost time and wasted fuel due to traffic congestion and traffic crashes.
  • TRIP has calculated the annual cost to Pennsylvania residents of driving on roads that are deteriorated, congested and lack some desirable safety features both statewide and in the state’s major urban area.  The following chart shows the cost breakdown for these areas.

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

  • Pennsylvania’s population reached 12.8 million in 2012, a seven percent increase since 1990. Pennsylvania had 8,796,774 licensed drivers in 2011.
  • Vehicle miles traveled in Pennsylvania increased by 16 percent from 1990 to 2011 – jumping from 85.7 billion vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in 1990 to 99.2 billion VMT in 2011.
  • By 2030, vehicle travel in Pennsylvania is projected to increase by another 15 percent.
  • From 1990 to 2011, Pennsylvania’s gross domestic product, a measure of the state’s economic output, increased by 35 percent, when adjusted for inflation.

Thirty-seven percent of major locally and state-maintained roads and highways in Pennsylvania have pavement surfaces in poor or mediocre condition, providing a rough ride and costing motorist in the form of additional vehicle operating costs. 

  • Fifteen percent of Pennsylvania’s major roads and highways have pavements in poor condition, while an additional 22 percent of the state’s major roads are rated in mediocre condition.  Twenty-one percent are rated in fair condition and the remaining 43 percent are rated in good condition.
  • The pavement data in this report for all arterial roads and highways is provided by the Federal Highway Administration, based on data submitted annually by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) on the condition of major state and locally maintained roads and highways in the state.
  • Forty-one percent of major urban roads in the Harrisburg/York/Lancaster metro area are in poor or mediocre condition. In the Reading/Lehigh Valley urban area, 52 percent of major urban roads are in poor or mediocre condition. A total of 73 percent of major urban roads in the Philadelphia urban area are in either poor or mediocre condition.  Forty-eight percent of major urban roads in the Pittsburgh urban area are in poor or mediocre condition. In the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre urban area, 66 percent of major urban roads are in poor or mediocre 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. Roads rated in mediocre condition may show signs of significant wear and may also have some visible pavement distress. Most pavements in mediocre condition can be repaired by resurfacing, but some may need more extensive reconstruction to return them to good condition.
  • Driving on rough roads costs Pennsylvania motorists a total of $3 billion annually in extra vehicle operating costs. Costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.
  • The costs to motorists of driving on roads that are congested, deteriorated and that lack some desirable safety features in Pennsylvania’s largest urban areas are: Harrisburg/York/Lancaster – $358; Reading/Lehigh Valley – $420; Philadelphia – $572; Pittsburgh – $432; Scranton/Wilkes-Barre – $539.

Forty-two percent of locally and state-maintained bridges in Pennsylvania show significant deterioration or do not meet current design standards often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment. This includes all bridges that are 20 feet or more in length. 

  • Twenty-five percent of Pennsylvania’s bridges are structurally deficient – the highest share in the nation. 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. 
  • Seventeen percent of Pennsylvania’s bridges are functionally obsolete.  Bridges that are functionally obsolete no longer meet current highway design standards, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment.
  • Significant levels of traffic congestion cause increasing delays in Pennsylvania, particularly in the state’s larger urban areas, choking commuting and commerce.
  • The chart below includes congestion-related data for the average commuter in Pennsylvania’s major urban areas, including the cost of lost time and wasted fuel as a result of traffic congestion.

Pennsylvania’s traffic fatality rate on rural, non-Interstate routes is nearly two-and-a-half times higher than that on all other roads and highways in the state.  Improving safety features on Pennsylvania’s roads and highways would likely result in a decrease in the state’s traffic fatalities and serious crashes. Roadway features are likely a contributing factor in approximately one-third of all fatal and serious traffic crashes.  

  • Between 2007 and 2011 a total of 6,825 people were killed in traffic crashes in Pennsylvania, an average of 1,365 fatalities per year.
  • Pennsylvania’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.30 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2011 is higher than the national average of 1.10.
  • The fatality rate on Pennsylvania’s rural non-Interstate roads was 2.33 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2011, nearly two-and-a-half times higher than the 0.95 fatality rate in 2011 on all other roads and highways in the state.
  • The cost of serious traffic crashes in Pennsylvania in 2011, in which roadway features were likely a contributing factor, was approximately $2.7 billion. The cost of serious crashes includes lost productivity, lost earnings, medical costs and emergency services.
  • The cost to motorists of traffic crashes in each of the state’s major urban areas are:  Harrisburg/York/Lancaster – $330; Reading/Lehigh Valley – $279; Philadelphia – $208; Pittsburgh – $160; Scranton/Wilkes-Barre – $344.
  • 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 the next 20 years.

The efficiency of Pennsylvania’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy.  Businesses are increasingly reliant on an efficient and reliable 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 from sites in Pennsylvania and another $458 billion in goods are shipped to sites in Pennsylvania, mostly by truck.
  • Seventy-seven percent of the goods shipped annually from sites in Pennsylvania are carried by trucks and another 14 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.
  • 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.
  • Site Selection magazine’s 2010 survey of corporate real estate executives found that transportation infrastructure was the third most important selection factor in site location decisions, behind only work force skills and state and local taxes.
  • A 2007 analysis by the Federal Highway Administration found that every $1 billion invested in highway construction would support approximately 27,800 jobs, including approximately 9,500 in the construction sector, approximately 4,300 jobs in industries supporting the construction sector, and approximately 14,000 other jobs induced in non-construction related sectors of the economy.
  • 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 Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the U.S. Census Bureau, the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).