Tag Archive for 'Montana Department of Transportation (MDT)'

TRIP Reports: Deficient Roadways Cost Montana Drivers $794 Million Annually.

 

Mdt Forecasts Annual Funding Shortfall Of Nearly $900 Million, Halting Or Delaying Projects Needed To Improve Conditions, Enhance Economic Development Or Improve Safety

Roads and bridges that are deteriorated, congested or lack desirable safety features cost Montana motorists a total of $794 million statewide annually – as much as $1,417 per driver in some urban areas – due to higher vehicle operating costs, traffic crashes and congestion-related delays, according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national nonprofit transportation research organization. These high costs come at a time when the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) estimates it will face an annual funding shortfall of $874 million through 2021, causing many needed projects to be halted or delayed. Increased investment in transportation improvements at the local, state and federal levels could improve road, bridge and transit conditions, boost safety, relieve traffic congestion and support long-term economic growth in Montana.

The TRIP report, Montana Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe, Smooth and Efficient Mobility,” finds that throughout Montana, 34 percent of major urban roads are in poor condition and nearly one-fifth of Montana’s bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. The state’s traffic fatality rate is the third highest in the nation. Montana’s major urban roads are becoming increasingly congested, with drivers wasting significant amounts of time and fuel each year.

The MDT estimates it will face an $874 million average annual shortfall through 2021 in the investment level needed to make further progress in improving road, highway and bridge conditions; improving traffic safety; and, completing needed modernization improvements to enhance economic development opportunities. As a result of a lack of transportation funding, MDT has delayed $144.5 million in road projects that had been scheduled to begin in 2017.

Driving on deficient roads costs Montana drivers $794 million per year in the form of extra vehicle operating costs (VOC) as a result of driving on roads in need of repair, lost time and fuel due to congestion-related delays, and the costs of traffic crashes in which roadway features likely were a contributing factor. The TRIP report calculates the cost to motorists of insufficient roads in the Billings, Great Falls and Missoula urban areas. A breakdown of the costs per motorist in each area along with a statewide total is below.

The TRIP report finds that 34 percent of major urban roads in Montana are in poor condition, while 40 percent are rated in mediocre or fair condition and the remaining 26 percent are in good condition. Driving on deteriorated roads costs Montana drivers an additional $296 million each year in extra vehicle operating costs, including accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.

We’ve been talking about our failing infrastructure and lack of funding for a long time now and have very little to show for all that hand-wringing,” said Darryl James, executive director of the Montana Infrastructure Coalition. “It’s time for a little less talk and a lot more action.”

A total of 18 percent of Montana’s bridges show significant deterioration or do not meet modern design standards. Eight percent of Montana’s bridges are structurally deficient, with significant deterioration to the bridge deck, supports or other major components. An additional ten percent of the state’s bridges are functionally obsolete, which means they no longer meet modern design standards, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment.

“The Montana Infrastructure Coalition is bringing a balanced package of bills supported by a broad spectrum of Montanans,” said Webb Brown, president and CEO of the Montana Chamber of Commerce.  “We expect some tough discussions but believe Montana’s lawmakers are ready to step to the plate and work on real solutions to these very real problems. We’re anxious to share our research and data to play a central role in that discussion.”

Traffic crashes in Montana claimed the lives of 1,024 people between 2010 and 2014. Montana’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.58 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel is significantly higher than the national average of 1.08 and is the third highest in the nation. The fatality rate on Montana’s rural non-Interstate roads was 2.41 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2014, approximately three times higher than the 0.79 fatality rate on all other roads and highways in the state.

“Our transportation system is truly the network that binds our communities together in Montana,” said Steve Arveschoug, executive director of the Big Sky Economic Development Authority. “Our economic security depends on smart investment in infrastructure and it begins with clean water and roads and bridges that are safe and efficient.”

Traffic congestion in Montana is worsening, costing the state’s drivers $170 million annually in lost time and wasted fuel.

The efficiency and condition of Montana’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy. Annually, $101 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in Montana, mostly by truck. Sixty-seven percent of the goods shipped annually to and from sites in Montana are carried by trucks and another 12 percent are carried by courier services or multiple mode deliveries, which include trucking.

“Conditions will worsen and additional projects will be delayed if greater funding is not made available at the state and local levels,” said Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director. “Without adequate investment, Montana’s roads and bridges will become increasingly deteriorated, inefficient and unsafe, hampering economic growth and quality of life.”

Executive Summary

Ten Key Transportation Numbers in Montana

 

 

 

$874 million

The Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) estimates it will face an $874 million average annual shortfall through 2021 in the investment level needed to make further progress in improving road, highway and bridge conditions; improving traffic safety; and, completing needed modernization improvements to enhance economic development opportunities.
 

50

This report includes information on 50 road, highway and bridge projects that currently cannot proceed due to lack of funding. These projects are needed to improve safety, support economic development opportunities and improve conditions in Montana.
$144.5 million The MDT has delayed $144.5 million in road projects that had been scheduled to begin in 2017 because of a lack of adequate funding.
 

32 percent

5th

25 percent

Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in Montana increased by 32 percent from 2000 to 2015 –from 9.9 billion VMT in 2000 to 13 billion VMT in 2015. This was the fifth largest increase in VMT in the nation during that time. VMT in Montana is anticipated to increase by another 25 percent by 2030.
 

$794 million

Driving on deficient roads costs Montana motorists a total of $794 million annually in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC), congestion-related delays and traffic crashes.
$1,113 – Billings

$1,417– Great Falls

$1,152 – Missoula

 

TRIP has calculated the cost to the average motorist in the form of additional VOC, congestion-related delays and traffic crashes. Driving on deficient roads costs the average Billings urban area driver $1,113 annually, while the average driver in the Great Falls area loses $1,417 and the average driver in the Missoula area loses $1,152.
1.58

3rd

Montana’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.58 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2014 was the third highest in the U.S. and much higher than the national average of 1.08.
34% – Montana

30% – Billings

52% – Great Falls

26% – Missoula

Thirty-four percent of Montana’s major urban roads are in poor condition. In the Billings, Great Falls and Missoula urban areas, 30 percent, 52 percent and 26 percent of major roads are in poor condition, respectively.
$101 Billion Annually, $101 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in Montana, mostly by truck.
 

18%

A total of 18 percent of Montana bridges show significant deterioration or do not meet current design standards. Eight percent of the state’s bridges are structurally deficient and ten percent are functionally obsolete.

Nine years after the nation suffered a significant economic downturn, Montana’s economy continues to rebound. The rate of economic growth in Montana, 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 Treasure 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 natural resource extraction, agriculture, manufacturing and tourism, the quality of Montana’s transportation system plays a vital role in the state’s economic growth and quality of life.

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


Sources of information for this report include the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT), 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).

To review the complete report visit:  www.tripnet.org

TRIP Report Identifies Montana’s Top 20 Transportation Challenges And Needed Fixes, Including Deteriorated Roads And Bridges, Congested Roadways And Needed Safety Improvements

TRIPDeficient roads, highways and bridges, and crowded or congested routes are posing mounting challenges to Montana residents, visitors and businesses. A new report released today by TRIP identifies the state’s top 20 transportation challenges, including road and bridge deterioration, inadequate capacity and needed safety improvements.

According to the report, Montana’s Top 20 Transportation Challenges and the Improvements Needed to Address them,” the improvements needed to address these transportation challenges will cost approximately $7.4 billion. However, at this time, funding is only available for $1.2 billion in needed improvements on these corridors, leaving a backlog of nearly $6.2 billion in needed improvements and upgrades.

The following, ranked in order, are Montana’s top transportation challenges. Further details about each challenge can be found in the TRIP report and appendix.

MT 1

“The Montana Chamber knows how important a good infrastructure system is to a strong economy and long-term prosperity,” said Webb Brown, president and CEO of the Montana Chamber of Commerce.  “To have that good system, we must have stable, dependable funding to ensure it.”

According to the TRIP report, in 2012, 29 percent of Montana’s major state and locally maintained urban roads were in poor condition, 37 percent were in mediocre or fair condition, and 33 percent were in good condition. Six percent of Montana’s state and locally maintained rural roads were rated in poor condition in 2012, while 35 percent were rated in mediocre or fair condition and 59 percent were rated in good condition.

“With Montana’s public infrastructure so vital to our health, safety, quality of life, and economic vitality, it is critical that all residents be informed regarding its current conditions so appropriate stewardship can be administered,” said Bill Wiegand, president of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) – Montana Section. The TRIP report echoes the findings of a report released by ASCE in 2014 examining the condition of Montana’s infrastructure.

Seven percent of Montana’s bridges were rated structurally deficient in 2013. A bridge is structurally deficient if there is significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components. An additional 10 percent of Montana’s bridges were rated as functionally obsolete. Bridges that are functionally obsolete no longer meet current highway design standards or are inadequate to accommodate current traffic levels, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment.

“The trucking industry needs reliable infrastructure for the safe and efficient transportation of goods produces in Montana,” said Barry “Spook” Stang, executive director of the Motor Carriers of Montana.

The state’s traffic fatality rate is among the highest in the nation, and Montana’s rural roads have a particularly high fatality rate. Montana’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.72 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2012 is significantly higher than the national average of 1.13 and the third highest in the nation. Reducing this fatality rate was identified as the eighth most critical transportation challenge in the state. The fatality rate on Montana’s rural non-Interstate roads was 2.4 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2012, more than two and a half times the 0.95 fatality rate on all other roads and highways in the state.

Enhancing critical segments of Montana’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 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. Sustaining Montana’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 transportation system, which will enhance business productivity and support short- and long-term job creation in the state.

“Investing in Montana’s transportation system and addressing these challenges by improving the condition and efficiency of the state’s roads, highways and bridges will be an effective step in boosting the state’s economy, enhancing quality of life and making Montana an attractive place to live, work and visit,” said Will Wilkins, executive director of TRIP.

Montana’s Top 20 Transportation Challenges and

Improvements Needed to Address Them

Executive Summary

            Montana’s extensive system of roads, highways and bridges provides the state’s residents, visitors and businesses with a high level of mobility. As the backbone of the Treasure State’s economy, Montana’s surface transportation system plays a vital role in the state’s economic well-being, and is an integral part of what makes Montana an attractive place to live, work and do business.

However, roadway and bridge deterioration, traffic safety concerns, and a lack of adequate capacity on some corridors to support economic development opportunities threaten to stifle economic growth and negatively impact the quality of life of the state’s residents. Due to insufficient transportation funding at the federal, state and local level, Montana faces numerous challenges in providing a road, highway and bridge network that is smooth, well-maintained, as safe as possible, and that affords a level of mobility capable of supporting the state’s economic goals.

Many segments of Montana’s transportation system have significant deterioration, lack some desirable safety features, and do not have adequate capacity to provide reliable mobility needed to support economic development particularly on routes that support the state’s growing energy extraction industry, creating challenges for Montana’s residents, visitors, businesses and state and local governments. This report looks at the condition and use of Montana’s system of roads, highways and bridges and provides information on the state’s top 20 transportation challenges and the improvements needed to address these challenges.

The transportation challenges outlined in this report represent approximately $7.4 billion in needed improvements. However, at this time, only $1.2 billion in funding for improvements for these corridors is available, leaving a backlog of nearly $6.2 billion in needed improvements and upgrades.

As Montana works to build and support a thriving and diverse economy, it will need to modernize its transportation system by improving the physical condition of its roads, highways and bridges, and enhancing the system’s ability to provide efficient, safe and reliable mobility to the state’s residents, visitors and businesses. Making needed improvements to Montana’s roads, highways and bridges would provide a significant boost to the state’s economy by stimulating short and long-term economic growth.

Montana faces significant challenges on many of the state’s most critical transportation routes, including the need to add capacity to support economic development, to improve roadway safety and to address pavement and bridge deterioration.

  • This report identifies the top 20 transportation challenges in the state, including critical sections of the state’s transportation system that have significant pavement deterioration, inadequate capacity, deficient bridges, or that need safety improvements.
  • A lack of adequate transportation funding is the constraining factor in developing and delivering these needed improvements.
  • Addressing the transportation challenges outlined in this report will cost approximately $7.4 billion in needed improvements. However, at this time, funding for only $1.2 billion in needed improvements on these corridors is available, leaving a backlog of nearly $6.2 billion in needed improvements and upgrades.
  • The following, ranked in order, are Montana’s top transportation challenges. Further details about each challenge can be found in the body of the report, as well as the Appendix.

MT 1

Growth in population and vehicle travel has far outstripped the current capacity of Montana’s transportation system. The state’s population and economy will continue to grow, bringing mounting challenges for the existing network of roads and bridges.

  • From 1990 to 2012, Montana’s population increased by 26 percent, from approximately 800,000 residents to approximately one million.
  • From 1990 to 2012, annual vehicle-miles-of-travel (VMT) in the state increased by 43 percent, from approximately 8.3 billion VMT to 11.9 billion VMT. Based on travel and population trends, TRIP estimates that vehicle travel in Montana will increase another 30 percent by 2030.
  • Every year, $22 billion in goods are shipped from sites in Montana and another $38 billion in goods are shipped to sites in Montana, mostly by trucks. Fifty-nine percent of the goods shipped annually from sites in Montana are carried by trucks and another nine percent are carried by parcel, U.S. Postal Service or courier services, which use trucks for part of their deliveries.

Montana’s extensive transportation system has some road and bridge deficiencies, lacks some desirable safety features and experiences severe congestion in key areas. Improvements to the condition and efficiency of the state’s transportation system would enhance quality of life, roadway safety and economic development.

  • The state will need to expand and modernize key roads, highways and bridges to increase mobility and ease traffic congestion, make needed road and bridge repairs, and improve roadway safety.
  • In 2012, 29 percent of Montana’s major state and locally maintained urban roads were in poor condition, 37 percent were in mediocre or fair condition, and 33 percent were in good condition. Six percent of Montana’s state and locally maintained rural roads were rated in poor condition in 2012, while 35 percent were rated in mediocre or fair condition and 59 percent were rated in good condition.
  • Seven percent of Montana’s bridges were rated structurally deficient in 2013. 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.
  • In 2013, 10 percent of Montana’s bridges were rated as functionally obsolete. Bridges that are functionally obsolete no longer meet current highway design standards or are inadequate to accommodate current traffic levels, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment.
  • 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. A total of 1,053 people died on Montana’s highways from 2008 through 2012, an average of 211 annually.
  • Montana’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.72 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2012 is significantly higher than the national average of 1.13 and the third highest in the nation.
  • The fatality rate on Montana’s rural non-Interstate roads was 2.4 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2012, more than two and a half times the 0.95 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.
  • 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.

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

  • In the eastern portion of the state, Bakken oil extraction and support activities have resulted in increased overall traffic volumes and considerably higher than usual truck traffic as a percentage of the overall traffic stream. This additional traffic places a high level of stress on roadways, many of which were not originally built to accommodate such heavy traffic volumes and large vehicles.
  • 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 or bridge capacity produce significant economic benefits by reducing congestion and improving access, thus speeding the flow of people and goods while reducing fuel consumption.
  • Transportation projects that maintain and preserve existing transportation infrastructure also provide significant economic benefits by improving travel speeds, capacity, load-carry abilities and safety, and reducing operating costs for people and businesses. Such projects also extend the service life of a road, bridge or transit vehicle or facility, which saves money by either postponing or eliminating the need for more expensive future repairs.
  • 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.

According to a recent national report, improved access as a result of capacity expansions provides numerous regional economic benefits. Those benefits include higher employment rates, higher land value, additional tax revenue, increased intensity of economic activity, increased land prices and additional construction as a result of the intensified use.

The 2012 report, “Interactions Between Transportation Capacity, Economic Systems and Land Use,” prepared by the Strategic Highway Research Program for the Transportation Research Board, reviewed 100 projects, costing a minimum of $10 million, which expanded transportation capacity either to relieve congestion or enhance access.

  • The projects analyzed in the report were completed no later than 2005 and included a wide variety of urban and rural projects, including the expansion or addition of major highways, beltways, connectors, bypasses, bridges, interchanges, industrial access roads, intermodal freight terminals and intermodal passenger terminals.
  •  The expanded capacity provided by the projects resulted in improved access, which resulted in reduced travel-related costs, faster and more reliable travel, greater travel speeds, improved reliability and increased travel volume.
  • The expanded capacity provided by the projects resulted in improved access, which resulted in reduced travel-related costs, faster and more reliable travel, greater travel speeds, improved reliability and increased travel volume.
  • The report found that improved transportation access benefits a region by: enhancing the desirability of an area for living, working or recreating, thus increasing its land value; increasing building construction in a region due to increased desirability for homes and businesses; increasing employment as a result of increased private and commercial land use; and increasing tax revenue as a result of increased property taxes, increased employment and increased consumption, which increases sales tax collection.
  • The report found that benefits of a transportation capacity expansion unfolded over several years and that the extent of the benefits were impacted by other factors including: the presence of complimentary infrastructure such as water, sewer and telecommunications; local land use policy; the local economic and business climate; and whether the expanded capacity was integrated with other public investment and development efforts.
  • For every $1 million spent on urban highway or intermodal expansion, the report estimated that an average of 7.2 local, long-term jobs were created at nearby locations as a result of improved access. An additional 4.4 jobs were created outside the local area, including businesses that supplied local businesses or otherwise benefited from the increased regional economic activity.
  • For every $1 million spent on rural highway or intermodal expansion, the report estimated that an average of 2.9 local, long-term jobs were created at nearby locations as a result of improved access. An additional 1.6 jobs were created outside the local area, including businesses that supplied local businesses or otherwise benefited from the increased regional economic activity.
  • The report found that highway and intermodal capacity projects in urban areas created a greater number of long-term jobs than in rural areas, largely due to the more robust economic environment and greater density in urban communities.

In addition to state and local governments, the federal government is a critical source of funding for Montana’s roads, highways and bridges and provides a significant return in road and bridge funding based on the revenue generated in the state by the federal motor fuel tax. 

  • A significant boost in investment on the nation’s roads, highways, bridges and public transit systems is needed to improve their condition and to meet the nation’s transportation needs, concluded a new report from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.
  • The 2015 AASHTO Transportation Bottom Line Report found that annual investment in the nation’s roads, highways and bridges needs to increase from $88 billion to $120 billion and from $17 billion to $43 billion in the nation’s public transit systems, to improve conditions and meet the nation’s mobility needs.

Sources of data for this report include the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT), the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the American Association of State Highway & Transportation officials (AASHTO, the Strategic Highway Research Program and the U.S. Census Bureau. All data used in the report is the latest available.