Tag Archive for 'Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)'

ABC Says Construction Unemployment Rates Improve in 10 States Year-Over-Year

Construction unemployment rates were down in 10 states and unchanged in three in January on a year-over-year basis, according to analysis released today by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). For the nation and 37 states, rates were higher than in January 2016, ending 75 consecutive months of year-over-year declines. The national not seasonally adjusted (NSA) construction unemployment rate of 9.4 percent was up 0.9 percent from January 2016, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Since these industry-specific rates are NSA, it is most accurate to evaluate the national and state-level unemployment rates on a year-over-year basis.

“It was inevitable that the remarkable ongoing streak of year-over-year declines in the national unemployment rate would come to an end at some point,” said Bernard M. Markstein, Ph.D., president and chief economist of Markstein Advisors, who conducted the analysis for ABC. “The halt to this record may be largely due to the mounting shortage of skilled construction workers acting as a drag on the ability of the sector to grow. Despite this challenge, construction activity will continue to advance this year.”

In spite of the year-over-year rise, this was the second lowest national January NSA construction unemployment rate since January 2007 when the rate was 8.9 percent. Meanwhile, BLS data showed that the industry employed 162,000 more workers than in January 2016.

The usual pattern in the movement in the national NSA construction unemployment rate from December to January is an increase. Starting in 2000, when the BLS data for this series begins, the January rate has risen every year. This year’s 2 percent rate increase was no exception.

View states ranked by their construction unemployment rate, their year-over-year improvement in construction unemployment, their monthly improvement in construction unemployment, a regional breakdown of states’ construction unemployment rates and their January unemployment rates for all industries.

The Top Five States
The states with the lowest estimated NSA construction unemployment rates in order from lowest rate to highest were:

1. Hawaii
2. Utah and Virginia (tie)
4. South Carolina
5. Texas

Only one state, Hawaii, was also among the top five in December. Hawaii had the lowest rate among the states, with a 6 percent estimated construction unemployment rate unchanged from January 2016 and the state’s lowest January rate since the 5.1 percent rate in January 2006.

Utah and Virginia, with a 6.3 percent construction unemployment rate, tied for the second lowest rate in January. This was a big jump for Utah, which was also one of the 10 states that experienced a year-over-year drop in its rate, and marked the seventh year in a row that its January rate was down from the year before. For Virginia, the January 2017 rate was the state’s second lowest estimated January rate since the 6.2 percent rate in 2007, behind January 2016’s industry unemployment rate of 5.8 percent.

South Carolina, with the fourth construction unemployment rate lowest rate (6.4 percent), recorded its second lowest January rate, after last January’s 6.2 percent, going back to the beginning of the January estimates in 2000. Texas recorded the fifth lowest rate at 6.6 percent, despite having the seventh largest year-over-year increase in its rate among the states, up 1.5 percent.

The Bottom Five States

The states with the highest NSA construction unemployment rates in order from lowest to highest rates were:

46. Montana
47. Illinois
48. Rhode Island
49. West Virginia
50. Alaska

Four of these states—Alaska, Illinois, Montana and West Virginia—were also among the five states with the highest construction unemployment rates in December. Alaska recorded the highest estimated NSA construction unemployment rate for the fourth month in a row at 22.5 percent. This is to be expected since these are NSA construction unemployment rates; however, the state also had the largest year-over-year increase in its rate at 4.7 percent.

West Virginia had the second highest construction unemployment rate in January (16.4 percent) and its 5.5 percent increase from December was the second largest among the states behind Rhode Island’s 6.5 percent increase.

Rhode Island had the third highest estimated NSA construction unemployment rate in January (16.3 percent); however, it was among the 10 states with a drop in its year-over-year rate (down 0.3 percent) and the state’s lowest estimated January rate since the 11.3 percent rate in January 2007.

Illinois had the fourth highest rate in January, 15.8 percent after recording the third highest rate in December, and Montana had the fifth highest construction unemployment rate in January (15.3 percent), but was among the 10 states with a drop in its year-over-year rate (down 0.3 percent).

Note on Data Revision
On March 13, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its benchmark revision of state employment data covering the period from April 2015 through December 2016 (some data prior to April 2015 were also revised). The models used to estimate state construction unemployment rates were updated incorporating the new data. The revised data and the updated models resulted in some changes to the previously estimated state unemployment rates. Read more on the impact of the revisions on previous construction industry unemployment rate estimates on ABC’s website.

To better understand the basis for calculating unemployment rates and what they measure, see the article Background on State Construction Unemployment Rates.

ARTBA Reports: Major Economic & Job Creation Boost Expected from Kansas Highway & Bridge Infrastructure Increase, New Analysis Finds

A new report finds that an annual $264 million increase in state highway and bridge infrastructure investment would support nearly $600 million in economic activity throughout all sectors of the Kansas economy. The additional demand, in turn, would also support or create 5,000 jobs—with over half being in sectors outside of the construction industry.

The analysis, conducted by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association’s (ARTBA) Chief Economist Dr. Alison Premo Black shows how the impacts of transportation capital investments trigger immediate economic activity, including cost savings for drivers, and new and sustained jobs, while yielding long-lived capital assets that facilitate economic activity for decades to come.

Black testified March 23 before a Kansas state legislature hearing about the report’s findings. The study was commissioned by the Kansas Contractors Association.

An annual investment level of $264 million is consistent with an increase in the state motor fuel tax of about 15 cents per gallon, which would cost the average driver about $5 to $10 a month, or less than 20 to 40 cents per day, but would help businesses increase output, grow the tax base and support jobs across all major sectors of the state economy, Black said.

The improvement in the state’s transportation network would include enhanced safety, lower operating costs, reduced congestion and an increase in both mobility and efficiency, ARTBA said.

In addition, Black’s analysis reveals that increased investment would:
Generate $594.3 million in additional economic output;
Increase gross state product (GSP) by nearly $304 million;
Grow state and local tax revenues by $29.4 million; and
Support or create an additional 5,308 jobs, with 52 percent of the employment outside of the construction industry, including an estimated 549 jobs in retail trade, 330 jobs in manufacturing and 321 jobs in health care and social assistance

Research shows that the economic return for every $1 invested in transportation infrastructure improvements can range up to $5.20. For drivers in Kansas, this could add up to as much as $1.3 billion in savings, not including the additional benefits of improving access to critical facilities like schools and hospitals or increases in business productivity, Black says.

More than 660,000 Kansas jobs in tourism, manufacturing, transportation and warehousing, agriculture and forestry, mining, retailing and wholesaling alone are fully dependent on the work done by the state’s transportation construction industry. These dependent industries provide a total payroll of $25.2 billion and their employees contribute $4.6 billion annually in state and federal payroll taxes, the ARTBA report found.

The annual $264 million investment would help restore some of the recent cuts to the Kansas highway program. The Kansas state legislature will have diverted about $3.5 billion from the state Highway Fund to the General Fund and other state agencies between FY 2011 and FY 2019 for non-transportation purposes. These diversions have had a significant market impact, Black said, delaying over $600 million in road projects because of a lack of funds and resulting in the loss of 3,000 construction jobs.

If the diverted funds were instead invested in highway and bridge projects, the construction work would generate $7.8 billion in economic activity throughout all sectors of the economy and provide an additional $4 billion in state GSP, the association said.

Read the full report: www.artba.org/economics/research/.

TRIP Reports: Driving on deficient roads costs Colorado motorists a total of $6.8 billion annually

COLORADO TRANSPORTATION BY THE NUMBERS:

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

Ten Key Transportation Numbers in Colorado

 

$6.8 billion

Driving on deficient roads costs Colorado motorists a total of $6.8 billion annually in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC), congestion-related delays and traffic crashes.
$1,954 – Co. Springs

$2,162–Denver

$1,396 –Northern Colorado

$1,264-Grand Junction

$1,553 – Pueblo

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: Colorado Springs, $1,954; Denver, $2,162; Northern Colorado, $1,396; Grand Junction, $1,264; and Pueblo, $1,553.
2,434

487

A total of 2,434 people were killed in Colorado traffic crashes from 2011 to 2015, an average of 487 fatalities annually.
 

22%

10th

20%

Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in Colorado increased by 22 percent from 2000 to 2015 –from 41.8 billion VMT in 2000 to 51.1 billion VMT in 2015 – the tenth largest increase in the nation during that time. By 2030, vehicle travel in Colorado is projected to increase by another 20 percent.
2 1/2 X The fatality rate on Colorado’s rural roads is two-and-a-half times greater than the fatality rate on all other roads in the state (2.09 fatalities per 100 million VMT vs. 0.83).
 

41%

Forty-one percent of Colorado’s major urban roads are in poor condition. Forty-three percent are in mediocre or fair condition and the remaining 15 percent are in good condition.
$323 Billion Annually, $323 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in Colorado, mostly by truck.
 

6%

Six percent of Colorado’s bridges are structurally deficient, meaning they have significant deterioration to the major components of the bridge.
Co. Springs: 35 hrs.

Denver: 49 hrs.

Northern Colorado:

17 hrs.

Grand Junction: 11 hrs.

Pueblo: 10 hrs.

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: Colorado Springs, 35 hours; Denver, 49 hours; Northern Colorado, 17 hours; Grand Junction, 11 hours; Pueblo, 10 hours.
 

$1.00 = $5.20

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

Executive Summary

Nine years after the nation suffered a significant economic downturn, Colorado’s economy continues to rebound. The rate of economic growth in Colorado, 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 Centennial 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 manufacturing, agriculture, natural resource extraction and tourism, the quality of Colorado’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 Colorado as the state addresses modernizing and maintaining its system of roads, highways, bridges and transit.

COST TO COLORADO MOTORISTS OF DEFICIENT ROADS

An inadequate transportation system costs Colorado motorists a total of $6.8 billion every year in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC), congestion-related delays and traffic crashes.

  • Driving on rough roads costs Colorado motorists a total of $2.3 billion annually in extra vehicle operating costs. Costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.
  • Traffic crashes in which roadway design was likely a contributing factor costs Colorado motorists a total of $1.6 billion each year in the form of lost household and workplace productivity, insurance and other financial costs.
  • Traffic congestion costs Colorado motorists a total of $2.9 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 COLORADO

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

  • Colorado’s population reached approximately 5.5 million residents in 2015, a 27 increase since 2000 and the sixth largest increase in the nation during that time. Colorado had approximately 4 million licensed drivers in 2015.
  • Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in Colorado increased by 22 percent from 2000 to 2015 –from 41.8 billion VMT in 2000 to 51.1 billion VMT in 2015 – the tenth largest increase in the nation during that time.
  • From 2000 to 2015, Colorado’s gross domestic product, a measure of the state’s economic output, increased by 32 percent, when adjusted for inflation. U.S. GDP increased 27 percent during this time.
  • During the first nine months of 2016, VMT in Colorado was up 3.2 percent from the first nine months of 2015, ahead of the national rate of VMT growth of three percent during that time.
  • By 2030, vehicle travel in Colorado is projected to increase by another 20 percent.

COLORADO ROAD CONDITIONS

A lack of adequate state and local funding has resulted in 41 percent of major urban roads and highways in Colorado having pavement surfaces in poor 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 Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) 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.
  • Forty-one percent of Colorado’s major locally and state-maintained urban roads and highways have pavements in poor condition, 43 percent are rated in mediocre or fair condition, and the remaining 15 percent are rated in good condition.
  • Twelve percent of Colorado’s major locally and state-maintained rural roads and highways have pavements in poor condition, 48 percent are rated in mediocre or fair condition, and the remaining 40 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 Colorado motorists a total of $2.3 billion annually in extra vehicle operating costs. Costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.

COLORADO BRIDGE CONDITIONS

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

  • Six percent of Colorado’s bridges are structurally deficient. A bridge is structurally deficient if there is significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components. Structurally deficient bridges are often posted for lower weight or closed to traffic, restricting or redirecting large vehicles, including commercial trucks and emergency services vehicles.
  • The chart below details the share of structurally deficient bridges in Colorado Springs, Denver, Northern Colorado and statewide.

HIGHWAY SAFETY AND FATALITY RATES IN COLORADO

Improving safety features on Colorado’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 2,434 people were killed in Colorado traffic crashes from 2011 to 2015, an average of 487 fatalities per year.
  • Colorado’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.08 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2015 was lower than the national average of 1.13.
  • The fatality rate on Colorado’s non-interstate rural roads in 2015 was two-and-a-half times greater than on all other roads in the state (2.09 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs. 0.83).
  • 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 Colorado imposed a total of $4.9 billion in economic costs in 2015. TRIP estimates that traffic crashes in which roadway features were likely a contributing factor imposed $1.6 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.

COLORADO TRAFFIC CONGESTION

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

  • 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 COLORADO

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

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

TRANSPORTATION AND ECONOMIC GROWTH IN COLORADO

The efficiency of Colorado’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, $323 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in Colorado, mostly by truck.
  • Seventy-five percent of the goods shipped annually to and from sites in Colorado are carried by trucks and another 21 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).

TRIP Reports: Driving on Kentucky’s Roads Costs Kentucky Motorists a Total of $4 Billion Annually…

KENTUCKY TRANSPORTATION BY THE NUMBERS:

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

Ten Key Transportation Numbers in Kentucky

 

$4 billion

Driving on roads that are in poor or mediocre condition, congested or lack adequate safety features costs Kentucky motorists a total of $4 billion annually in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC), congestion-related delays and traffic crashes.
 

$805 – Bowling Green

$1,285 – Lexington

$1,899 – Louisville

$1,694 – N. Kentucky

$1,065- Owensboro

TRIP has calculated the cost to the average motorist in Kentucky’s largest urban areas in the form of additional VOC, congestion-related delays and traffic crashes. Driving on roads that are in poor or mediocre condition, congested or lack adequate safety features costs the average Bowling Green driver $805 annually: $1,285 in the Lexington area; $1,899 in the Louisville area; $1,694 in the Northern Kentucky area and $1,065 in the Owensboro area.
3,538

708

A total of 3,538 people were killed in Kentucky traffic crashes from 2011 to 2015, an average of 708 fatalities annually. After decreasing steadily from 2010 to 2013, the number of fatalities rose each year from 2013 to 2015.
 

1.56

4th

Kentucky’s roads and highways have a fatality rate of 1.56 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel, the fourth highest in the U.S. and significantly higher than the national average of 1.13.
7 % – Bowling Green

23 % – Lexington

48 % – Louisville

45 % – N. Kentucky

32 % – Owensboro

Seven percent of major state and locally maintained roads and highways in the Bowling Green urban area have pavements in poor or mediocre condition and 23, 48, 45 and 32 percent, respectively in the Lexington, Louisville, Northern Kentucky and Owensboro urban areas.
16% Statewide, 16 percent of Kentucky’s major urban roads are in poor condition.
$502 Billion Annually, $502 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in Kentucky, mostly by truck.
 

1/12

Approximately one-in-twelve (8 percent) of Kentucky’s locally or state-maintained bridges are rated structurally deficient because they have significant deterioration.
14 hours-Bowling Green

27 hours-Lexington

43 hours-Louisville

41 hours-N. Kentucky

13 hours – Owensboro

Congestion is robbing Kentucky drivers of time and money. The average driver in Bowling Green loses 14 hours annually to congestion, while drivers in Lexington lose 27 hours each year. Louisville drivers spend an average of 43 hours each year stuck in traffic, while Northern Kentucky drivers lose 41 hours annually. Owensboro drivers lose an average of 13 hours annually.
 

$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 and reduced emissions.

Executive Summary

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

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

With an economy based largely on agriculture, manufacturing, tourism and natural resource extraction, the quality of Kentucky’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 Kentucky as the state addresses its need to modernize and maintain its system of roads, highways, bridges and transit.

In December 2015 the president signed into law a long-term federal surface transportation program that includes modest funding increases and allows state and local governments to plan and finance projects with greater certainty through 2020. The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act) provides approximately $305 billion for surface transportation with highway and transit funding slated to increase by approximately 15 and 18 percent, respectively, over the five-year duration of the program. While the modest funding increase and certainty provided by the FAST Act are a step in the right direction, the funding falls far short of the level needed to improve conditions and meet the nation’s mobility needs and fails to deliver a sustainable, long-term source of revenue for the federal Highway Trust Fund.

 

COST OF KENTUCKY ROADS THAT ARE DETERIORATED, CONGESTED AND LACK SOME SAFETY FEATURES

Driving on Kentucky’s transportation system costs motorists a total of $4 billion every year in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC), congestion-related delays and traffic crashes.

  • Driving on rough roads costs Kentucky motorists a total of $1 billion annually in extra vehicle operating costs. Costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.
  • Based on a national estimate that roadway design is likely a contributing factor in approximately one-third of serious and fatal traffic crashes, TRIP estimates that the economic costs of serious and fatal traffic crashes in Kentucky in which roadway design was likely a contributing factor is $1.4 billion each year in the form of lost household and workplace productivity, insurance and other financial costs.
  • Traffic congestion costs Kentucky residents a total of $1.6 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 as well as statewide.

POPULATION AND ECONOMIC GROWTH IN KENTUCKY

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

  • Kentucky’s population reached approximately 4.4 million residents in 2015, a nine percent increase since 2000.
  • Kentucky had 3 million licensed drivers in 2015.
  • Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in Kentucky increased from 46.8 billion VMT in 2000 to 48.3 billion VMT in 2015.

KENTUCKY ROAD CONDITIONS

A lack of adequate state and local funding has resulted in 16 percent of major state and locally maintained urban roads and highways in Kentucky having pavement surfaces in poor 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 Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) 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.
  • Sixteen percent of Kentucky’s major urban locally and state-maintained roads are in poor condition, while 44 percent are in mediocre or fair condition. The remaining 40 percent are in good condition.
  • The chart below details the share of major roads 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 Kentucky motorists a total of $1 billion annually in extra vehicle operating costs. Costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.

KENTUCKY BRIDGE CONDITIONS

Approximately one-out-of-twelve locally and state-maintained bridges in Kentucky show significant deterioration. This includes all bridges that are 20 feet or more in length.

  • Eight percent of Kentucky’s bridges are structurally deficient. A bridge is structurally deficient if there is significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components. Structurally deficient bridges are often posted for lower weight or closed to traffic, restricting or redirecting large vehicles, including commercial trucks and emergency services vehicles. 
  • The chart below indicates the share of bridges which are structurally deficient statewide and in Kentucky’s largest urban areas.

HIGHWAY SAFETY AND FATALITY RATES IN KENTUCKY

The traffic fatality rate on Kentucky’s roads is the fourth highest in the nation. Improving safety features on Kentucky’s roads and highways would likely result in a decrease in the state’s traffic fatalities and serious crashes. Nationally, 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 3,538 people were killed in Kentucky traffic crashes from 2011 to 2015, an average of 708 fatalities per year. After decreasing steadily from 2010 to 2013, the number of fatalities rose each year from 2013 to 2015.
  • Kentucky’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.56 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2015 was the fourth highest in the U.S. and significantly higher than the national average of 1.13.
  • In the Bowling Green urban area, an average of 16 people were killed in traffic crashes over the last three years, while an average of 58 people were killed in traffic crashes in the Lexington urban area during that time. An average of 84 people were killed in crashes in the Louisville area over the last three years, while in Northern Kentucky, there was an average of 27 annual traffic fatalities over the last three years, while an average of 14 people were killed in traffic crashes in the Owensboro urban area during that time.
  • Traffic crashes in Kentucky imposed a total of $4.2 billion in economic costs in 2014. Based on a national estimate that roadway design is likely a contributing factor in approximately one-third of serious and fatal traffic crashes, TRIP estimates that the economic costs of serious and fatal traffic crashes in Kentucky in which roadway design was likely a contributing factor is $1.4 billion each year in the form of lost household and workplace productivity, insurance and other financial costs.
  • 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.

KENTUCKY TRAFFIC CONGESTION

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

  • The chart below details what congestion costs the average driver in the state’s largest urban areas in the form of lost time and wasted fuel and the number of hours lost annually to congestion.

 

  • 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 KENTUCKY

Investment in Kentucky’s roads, highways and bridges is funded by local, state and federal governments. The 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.

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

TRANSPORTATION AND ECONOMIC GROWTH IN KENTUCKY

The efficiency of Kentucky’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, $502 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in Kentucky, mostly by truck.
  • Seventy-six percent of the goods shipped annually to and from sites in Kentucky are carried by trucks and another 13 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).

 

TRIP Reports: Driving on deficient roads costs West Virginia motorists a total of $1.4 billion annually

WEST VIRGINIA TRANSPORTATION BY THE NUMBERS:  

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

Ten Key Transportation Numbers in West Virginia

 

$1.4 billion

Driving on deficient roads costs West Virginia motorists a total of $1.4 billion annually in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC), congestion-related delays and traffic crashes.
 

$647

TRIP estimates that driving on rough roads costs the average West Virginia motorists an average of $647 annually in extra vehicle operating costs. Costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.
1,548

310

A total of 1,548 people were killed in West Virginia traffic crashes from 2011 to 2015, an average of 310 fatalities annually.
 

1.35

West Virginia’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.35 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2015 was significantly higher than the national average of 1.13.
3X The fatality rate on West Virginia’s rural roads is nearly three times higher than the fatality rate on all other roads in the state (2.24 fatalities per 100 million VMT vs. 0.81).
 

29%

Statewide, 29 percent of West Virginia’s major roads are in poor condition. Fifty-five percent are in mediocre or fair condition and the remaining 17 percent are in good condition.
$119 Billion Annually, $119 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in West Virginia, mostly by truck.
17%

5th

A total of 17 percent of West Virginia bridges show significant deterioration and are rated as structurally deficient. West Virginia ranks 5th nationally in its share of bridges rated structurally deficient. This is up from 2015 when 15% percent were structurally deficient – the 8th highest share in the U.S. at the time.
 

16%

From 2000 to 2015, West Virginia’s gross domestic product, a measure of the state’s economic output, increased by 16 percent, when adjusted for inflation. U.S. GDP increased 27 percent during this time.
 

$1.00 = $5.20

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

 

Executive Summary

Nine years after the nation suffered a significant economic downturn, West Virginia’s economy continues to struggle. The rate of economic growth in West Virginia, which will be greatly impacted by the reliability and condition of the state’s transportation system, continues to have a significant impact on quality of life in the Mountain State.

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

With an economy based largely on natural resource extraction, manufacturing, agriculture, biotechnology and tourism, the quality of West Virginia’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 West Virginia as the state addresses modernizing and maintaining its system of roads, highways, bridges and transit.

In December 2015 the president signed into law a long-term federal surface transportation program that includes modest funding increases and allows state and local governments to plan and finance projects with greater certainty through 2020. The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act) provides approximately $305 billion for surface transportation with highway and transit funding slated to increase by approximately 15 and 18 percent, respectively, over the five-year duration of the program. While the modest funding increase and certainty provided by the FAST Act are a step in the right direction, the funding falls far short of the level needed to improve conditions and meet the nation’s mobility needs and fails to deliver a sustainable, long-term source of revenue for the federal Highway Trust Fund.

COST TO WEST VIRGINIA MOTORISTS OF DEFICIENT ROADS

An inadequate transportation system costs West Virginia motorists a total of $1.4 billion every year in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC), congestion-related delays and traffic crashes.

  • Driving on rough roads costs West Virginia motorists a total of $758 million annually in extra vehicle operating costs. Costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.
  • Traffic crashes in which roadway design was likely a contributing factor costs West Virginia motorists a total of $461 million each year in the form of lost household and workplace productivity, insurance and other financial costs.
  • Traffic congestion costs West Virginia motorists a total of $225 million 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 AND ECONOMIC TRENDS IN WEST VIRGINIA

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

  • West Virginia’s population in 2015 was approximately 1.84 million residents.
  • West Virginia had 1.2 million licensed drivers in 2015.
  • In 2015, West Virginia’s roads carried 19.5 billion vehicle miles of travel.
  • From 2000 to 2015, West Virginia’s gross domestic product, a measure of the state’s economic output, increased by 16 percent, when adjusted for inflation. U.S. GDP increased 27 percent during this time.

WEST VIRGINIA ROAD CONDITIONS

A lack of adequate state and local funding has resulted in 29 percent of major roads and highways in West Virginia having pavement surfaces in poor 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 West Virginia Department of Transportation (WVDOT) 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.
  • Twenty-nine percent of West Virginia’s major locally and state-maintained roads are in poor condition, while 55 percent are in mediocre or fair condition. The remaining 17 percent are in good condition.
  • The chart below details the share of major roads in poor, mediocre, fair and good condition in West Virginia’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 West Virginia motorists a total of $758 million annually — $647 per driver — in extra vehicle operating costs. Costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.

WEST VIRGINIA BRIDGE CONDITIONS

Approximately one in six of locally and state-maintained bridges in West Virginia show significant deterioration. This includes all bridges that are 20 feet or more in length.

  • Seventeen percent of West Virginia’s bridges were structurally deficient in 2016, the 5th highest share nationally. This is up from 2015 when 15 percent of the state’s bridges were structurally deficient, the 8th highest share in the nation at that time. In 2014, 13 percent of the state’s bridges were structurally deficient, the 12th highest share at the time. 
  • 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 bridges in the state’s largest urban areas that are structurally deficient.

 

HIGHWAY SAFETY AND FATALITY RATES IN WEST VIRGINIA

Improving safety features on West Virginia’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 1,548 people were killed in West Virginia traffic crashes from 2011 to 2015, an average of 310 fatalities per year.
  • West Virginia’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.35 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2015 was significantly higher than the national average of 1.13.
  • The fatality rate on West Virginia’s non-interstate rural roads in 2015 was nearly three times higher than on all other roads in the state (2.24 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs. 0.81).
  • The chart below details the average number of people killed in traffic fatalities in the state’s largest urban areas over the last three years.

  • Traffic crashes in West Virginia imposed a total of $1.4 billion in economic costs in 2014. TRIP estimates that traffic crashes in which roadway features were likely a contributing factor imposed $461 million in economic costs in 2014.
  • 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.

WEST VIRGINIA TRAFFIC CONGESTION

Increasing levels of traffic congestion cause significant delays in West Virginia, 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 West Virginia is approximately $225 million per year.
  • The chart below details the annual number of hours lost to congestion and the cost of lost time and wasted fuel as a result of congestion for the average driver in each of the state’s largest urban areas.

  • 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 WEST VIRGINIA

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

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

TRANSPORTATION AND ECONOMIC GROWTH IN WEST VIRGINIA

The efficiency of West Virginia’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, $119 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in West Virginia, mostly by truck.
  • Seventy-two percent of the goods shipped annually to and from sites in West Virginia are carried by trucks and another 10 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).