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INCREASED NORTH DAKOTA TRANSPORTATION INVESTMENT DUE LARGELY TO BOOST IN ENERGY-RELATED REVENUES HAS ALLOWED NUMEROUS PROJECTS TO PROCEED

INCREASED NORTH DAKOTA TRANSPORTATION INVESTMENT DUE LARGELY TO BOOST IN ENERGY-RELATED REVENUES HAS ALLOWED NUMEROUS PROJECTS TO PROCEED, BUT STATE STILL FACES $2.5 BILLION SHORTFALL IN PROJECTS NEEDED TO IMPROVE CONDITION OF AGING ROADS & BRIDGES, INCREASE SAFETY AND PROMOTE ECONOMIC GROWTH AS ENERGY-RELATED FUNDS DECREASE

 While increased transportation investment in North Dakota, largely as a result of the state’s energy boom, has allowed numerous projects to proceed, additional investment is still needed to improve road and bridge conditions, enhance safety and accommodate projected growth,according to a new report from TRIP, a national nonprofit transportation research group based in Washington, DC.

The TRIP report, Modernizing North Dakota’s Transportation System: Progress & Challenges in Providing Safe, Efficient and Well-Maintained Roads, Highways & Bridges,” finds that with the amount of energy-related revenues available for transportation decreasing, North Dakota faces a significant shortfall in funding for needed transportation projects. Energy-related revenue in North Dakota used for transportation increased from $216 million in 2012 to $619 million in 2017 before dropping to $194 million in 2018. The state faces a $2.5 billion shortfall from 2018 to 2023 in transportation funding needed to improve road, highway and bridge conditions, support economic development opportunities and improve roadway safety. The chart below details needed transportation projects throughout the state that lack funding to proceed.

Largely as a result of the state’s energy boom and subsequent decline, North Dakota experienced the nation’s greatest rate of economic and vehicle travel growth from 2000 to 2014, and the nation’s greatest rate of reduction in economic output and vehicle travel from 2014 to 2016. The state’s population increased by 18 percent from 2000 to 2017 and is expected to increase another 38 percent by 2040. North Dakota’s gross domestic product (GDP) increased 133 percent from 2000 to 2014, the highest rate in the nation during that time. However, the state’s GDP decreased seven percent from 2014 to 2016, the largest decline in the nation during that time. And while North Dakota experienced the largest increase in vehicle miles of travel (VMT) in the nation from 2000 to 2014 (46 percent), the state also experienced the largest decrease in VMT from 2014 to 2016 (seven percent). Energy extraction levels in North Dakota have begun rising again in 2018 following a modest downturn in 2016 and 2017, resulting in additional economic activity and vehicle travel in North Dakota, which will increase wear and tear on the state’s roads, highways, and bridges.

“North Dakota has made investments in recent years out of necessity because of the energy boom and paid for those investments with energy revenue,” said Arik Spencer, president & CEO of the Greater North Dakota Chamber (GNDC). “This report makes clear more needs to be done. These findings are consistent with the wishes of GNDC’s members, who consistently cite infrastructure as one of their greatest concerns and name it as a top priority for the next legislative session.”

Nearly two-thirds of North Dakota’s major urban roads are in poor or mediocre condition, with pavement conditions projected to decline in the future without additional funding. According to the TRIP report, 36 percent of North Dakota’s major locally and state-maintained urban roads and highways have pavements in poor condition and 28 percent are rated in mediocre condition. The average annual miles of roads resurfaced or reconstructed by the North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) will decrease by 24 percent from 2015-2018 to 2019-2022, largely due to reduced energy-related revenue. NDDOT estimates that the miles of state-maintained roads in poor condition will nearly double between 2018 and 2021, from 443 miles to 872 miles.

According to the TRIP report, 14 percent of North Dakota’s bridges are structurally deficient, meaning there is significant deterioration to the major components of the bridge.  The Federal Highway Administration estimates that it would cost $164 million to replace or rehabilitate all structurally deficient bridges in North Dakota.  The average number of bridges NDDOT is able to reconstruct or replace annually will decrease by 46 percent from 2015-2018 to 2019-2022, largely due to reduced energy-related revenue.

Traffic crashes in North Dakota claimed the lives of 643 people between 2013 and 2017. The state’s rural, non-Interstate roads are particularly deadly, with a traffic fatality rate that is more than four times higher than on all other roads in the state (1.79 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs. 0.42).

The efficiency and condition of North Dakota’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy.  Annually, $106 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in North Dakota, relying heavily on the state’s network of roads and bridges.

“While the increase of energy-related revenues allowed North Dakota to make strides in improving its transportation system, declining energy-related transportation revenues will result in reduced road and bridge repairs, leading to worsening road, highway and bridge conditions in the state,” said Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director. “Ensuring that North Dakota’s transportation system contributes to a high quality of life in the state and supports North Dakota’s economic development goals will require increased transportation investment.”

Executive Summary

North Dakota’s roads, highways and bridges form vital transportation links for the state’s residents, visitors and businesses, providing daily access to homes, jobs, shopping, natural resources and recreation.  The condition, efficiency and funding of North Dakota’s transportation system are critical to quality of life and economic competitiveness in the Peace Garden State.

North Dakota has experienced a significant boom in energy extraction in its western counties that, since 2005, has resulted in a ten-fold increase in crude oil production, spurred by advancements in extraction technology and increases in fuel prices.  While the state’s energy boom has resulted in a tremendous increase in wear and tear on the state’s roadways, it has also provided a significant boost in transportation funding. The modest decrease in energy extraction in North Dakota in 2016 and 2017, as a result of reduced energy prices, has significantly reduced the amount of additional energy-related revenue in North Dakota available for transportation investment. And despite the surge and subsequent drop in energy-related transportation revenues, North Dakota continues to face a significant backlog in needed funding for transportation, largely as a result of a lack of an adequate, dedicated state funding source for road, highway and bridge repairs and improvements.

This report examines the condition, use, safety and funding of North Dakota’s roads, highways and bridges and the state’s future mobility needs.  Sources of information for this report include the North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT), 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), the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

TRANSPORTATION FUNDING AND NEEDED TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS

An increase in transportation investment in North Dakota, largely as a result of increased energy-related revenues, has allowed many needed road, highway and bridge projects to proceed.  With the amount of energy-related revenues available for transportation decreasing, North Dakota faces a significant shortfall in funding for needed transportation improvements. 

  • From 2012 to 2018, $3 billion in state energy-related revenues were spent on transportation improvements in North Dakota. Energy-related revenue in North Dakota used for transportation increased from $216 million in 2012 to $619 million in 2017 before dropping to $194 million in 2018.
  • The $3 billion in energy-related revenue used for transportation in North Dakota represents 63 percent of the $4.8 billion in state revenue provided to the North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT), from 2012 to 2018.
  • North Dakota faces a $2.5 billion shortfall from 2018 to 2023 in transportation funding needed to improve road, highway and bridge conditions, support economic development opportunities, and improve roadway safety.
  • Largely as a result of increased energy-related revenues, NDDOT has been able to proceed with numerous projects to improve the condition, safety and reliability of its roads, highways and bridges.
  • The chart below details North Dakota transportation projects that have been completed, are underway or will be completed by 2021 because of increased state transportation funding, largely due to increased energy-related state revenue.
  • The chart below details needed transportation projects in the state that lack adequate funding to proceed.

POPULATION, ECONOMIC AND TRAVEL TRENDS

Largely as a result of the state’s energy boom and subsequent decline, North Dakota experienced the nation’s greatest rate of economic and vehicle travel growth from 2000 to 2014 and the nation’s greatest rate of reduction in economic output and vehicle travel from 2014 to 2016. 

  • North Dakota’s population reached approximately 755,000 residents in 2017, an 18 percent increase since 2000. North Dakota had 555,935 licensed drivers in 2016.
  • North Dakota’s population is expected to increase by 38 percent by 2040 to 1,045,000, an increase of 290,000 people.
  • From 2000 to 2014, North Dakota’s gross domestic product (GDP), a measure of the state’s economic output, increased by 133 percent, when adjusted for inflation, the highest rate in the nation during that time. From 2014 to 2016, North Dakota’s GDP decreased by seven percent, when adjusted for inflation, the greatest rate of decline in the nation during that time.
  • Crude oil production in North Dakota increased from 98 thousand barrels a day in 2005 to 1.17 million barrels per day in 2015 before declining to 1.03 and 1.06 million barrels per day in 2016 and 2017, respectively.
  • Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in North Dakota increased by 46 percent from 2000 to 2014, the greatest rate of increase in the nation during that time. VMT in North Dakota decreased by seven percent between 2014 and 2016, the greatest decrease in the nation during that time.

NORTH DAKOTA ROAD CONDITIONS

A lack of adequate state and local funding has resulted in approximately one-third of major urban roads and highways in North Dakota having pavement surfaces in poor or mediocre condition, providing a rough ride and costing motorists in the form of additional vehicle operating costs. 

  • The pavement data in this report, which is for all arterial and collector roads and highways, is provided by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), based on data submitted annually by the North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) on the condition of major state and locally maintained roads and highways.
  • Thirty-six percent of North Dakota’s major locally and state-maintained urban roads and highways have pavements in poor condition and 28 percent are rated in mediocre condition.  Eleven percent of major urban roads are in fair condition and the remaining 25 percent are rated in good condition.
  • Eight percent of North Dakota’s major locally and state-maintained rural roads and highways have pavements in poor condition and 15 percent are rated in mediocre condition.  Thirteen percent of major rural roads are in fair condition and the remaining 64 percent are rated in good condition.
  • The average annual miles of roads resurfaced or reconstructed by the North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) will decrease by 24 percent from 2015-2018 to 2019-2022, largely due to reduced energy-related revenue.
  • NDDOT estimates that the miles of state-maintained roads in poor condition will nearly double between 2018 and 2021, from 443 miles to 872 miles.
  • TRIP estimates that additional vehicle operating costs borne by North Dakota motorists as a result of driving on deteriorated roads is $250 million annually, or $449 per driver

BRIDGE CONDITIONS IN NORTH DAKOTA

Approximately one-in-seven locally and state-maintained bridges in North Dakota show significant deterioration and are rated structurally deficient. This includes all bridges that are 20 feet or more in length. 

  • Fourteen percent of North Dakota’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 average number of bridges that NDDOT is able to reconstruct or replace annually will decrease by 46 percent from 2015-2018 to 2019-2022, largely due to reduced energy-related revenue.
  • The Federal Highway Administration estimates that it would cost $164 million to replace or rehabilitate all structurally deficient bridges in North Dakota
  • Most bridges are designed to last 50 years before major overhaul or replacement, although many newer bridges are being designed to last 75 years or longer.In North Dakota, 46 percent of the state’s bridges (2,030 of 4,377) were built in 1969 or earlier.
  • A recent survey of states by the U.S. General Accountability Office(GAO) found that more than half of states surveyed (14 out of 24) reported that inadequate funding was a challenge to their ability to maintain bridges in a state of good repair.

TRAFFIC SAFETY AND FATALITY RATES IN NORTH DAKOTA

Improving safety features on North Dakota’s roads and highways would likely result in a decrease in the number of traffic fatalities and serious crashes.

  • A total of 643 people were killed in North Dakota traffic crashes from 2013 to 2017, an average of 128 fatalities per year.
  • North Dakota’s overall traffic fatality rate in 2016 of 1.16 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel is below the national average of 1.18.
  • The fatality rate on North Dakota’s non-interstate rural roads in 2016 is more than four times higher than on all other roads in the state (1.79 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs. 0.42).
  • 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; the use of high-friction surfacing treatment to improve skid resistance; improved lighting; adding rumble strips, wider lanes, wider and paved shoulders; upgrading roads from two lanes to four lanes; improved road markings; improved signage and delineation at curves; and, improved intersection design.

FEDERAL TRANSPORTATION FUNDING IN NORTH DAKOTA

The current federal surface transportation program, which expires in 2020, falls far short of providing the level of funding needed to meet the nation’s highway and transit needs. Boosting federal surface transportation spending will require that Congress provide a long-term and sustainable source of funding to support the federal Highway Trust Fund. 

  • Signed into law in December 2015, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act), provides modest increases in federal highway and transit spending, allows states greater long-term funding certainty and streamlines the federal project approval process.  But, the FAST Act, which expires in 2020, does not provide adequate funding to meet the nation’s need for highway and transit improvements and does not include a long-term and sustainable funding source.
  • Crafting a long-term federal highway and transit program to replace the expiring FAST Act in 2020 would likely require Congress to identify a long-term, sustainable source of funding to support increased funding for the federal Highway Trust Fund, which currently has a balance of $44 billion, but which is expected to reach a negative balance by 2021.

TRANSPORTATION AND ECONOMIC GROWTH IN NORTH DAKOTA

The efficiency of North Dakota’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the state’s economy.  A key component in business efficiency and success is the level and ease of access to customers, markets, materials and workers.  The design, construction and maintenance of infrastructure in North Dakota are significant sources of employment in the state.  

  • Annually, $106 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in North Dakota, mostly by truck.
  • Seventy-four percent of the goods shipped annually to and from sites in North Dakota are carried by trucks and another 11 percent are carried by courier services or multiple mode deliveries, which include trucking.
  • The design, construction and maintenance of transportation infrastructure in North Dakota support 13,258 full-time jobs across all sectors of the state economy. These workers earn $667 million annually.
  • Approximately 215,200 full-time jobs in North Dakota in key industries like energy, tourism, retail sales, agriculture and manufacturing are completely dependent on the state’s transportation infrastructure network.
  • 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 one site selection factor in a 2017 survey of corporate executives by Area Development Magazine.  Labor costs and the availability of skilled labor, which are both impacted by a site’s level of accessibility, were rated second and third, respectively.

Sources of information for this report include the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT), the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Official (AASHTO), the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the U. S. Census Bureau, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the General Accounting Office (GAO), the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI), the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).  All data used in the report are the most recent available.  

TRIP Reports: OHIO MOTORISTS LOSE A TOTAL OF $12 BILLION PER YEAR ON ROADS THAT ARE ROUGH, CONGESTED & LACK SOME SAFETY FEATURES

OHIO MOTORISTS LOSE A TOTAL OF $12 BILLION PER YEAR ON ROADS THAT ARE ROUGH, CONGESTED & LACK SOME SAFETY FEATURES– AS MUCH AS $2,180 PER DRIVER. INCREASED INVESTMENT HAS ALLOWED SOME COLUMBUS TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS TO MOVE FORWARD, BUT MANY REMAIN STALLED DUE TO LACK OF FUNDING

Roads and bridges that are deteriorated, congested or lack some desirable safety features cost Ohio motorists a total of $12 billion statewide annually – as much a $2,180 per driver in some urban areas – due to higher vehicle operating costs, traffic crashes and congestion-related delays. Increased investment in transportation improvements at the local, state and federal levels could relieve traffic congestion, improve road, bridge and transit conditions, boost safety, and support long-term economic growth in Ohio, according to a new report released todayby TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation research organization.

The TRIP report, Modernizing Ohio’s Transportation System: Progress and Challenges in Providing Safe, Efficient and Well-Maintained Roads, Highways and Bridges,”finds that throughout Ohio, approximately one-third of major locally and state-maintained urban roads are in poor or mediocre condition, seven percent of locally and state-maintained bridges are structurally deficient, and increasing congestion is causing significant delays for commuters and businesses. TRIP’s report examines the impact of additional funds provided largely by the use of Ohio Turnpike bond proceeds, and documents the state’s significant short-term and long-term transportation funding shortfalls. It includes lists of needed transportation projects in the state’s largest urban areas that have adequate funding to proceed by 2023, and needed projects in each area that lack funding to proceed.

The TRIP report calculates the cost to motorists of insufficient roads in the Cincinnati, Cleveland-Akron, Columbus, Dayton and Toledo urban areas. These costs come 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. A breakdown of the costs per motorist in the state’s largest urban areas along with a statewide total is below.

While the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) was able to invest $2 billion in the state’s transportation system in 2017 and $2.35 billion in 2018, investment is set to drop to $1.85 billion in 2019 and to $1.7 billion in 2021. ODOT estimates it will face a transportation funding shortfall of $14 billion through 2040. Additional investment has allowed the state to move forward with needed transportation projects, but many projects remain stalled due to a lack of available funding. The chart below details projects outside the state’s largest urban areas that have adequate funding to proceed by 2023, and projects that lack funding to proceed prior to 2023.

The TRIP report finds that 23 percent of Ohio’s major urban roads are in poor condition and 12 percent are in mediocre condition, costing the state’s drivers a total of $3.5 billion each year in extra vehicle operating costs, including accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.

“The serious and in some cases horrendous condition of transportation infrastructure warrants immediate discussion and attention at the local, state and federal levels of government,” said Hamilton County Engineer Ted Hubbard. “Our economy and future are directly tied to a transportation system of safe, dependable and efficient roads and bridges. The TRIP report clearly documents the existing condition of transportation infrastructure in Ohio and concisely illustrates the direct impact an efficient transportation system has on a healthy economy.”

Traffic congestion throughout Ohio is worsening, costing drivers in the state’s largest urban areas as much as $1,057 annually in lost time and wasted fuel. Drivers in the most congested areas lose 44 hours each year – more than five working days – stuck in traffic congestion.

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

“The TRIP report succinctly outlines current transportation infrastructure conditions and how transportation impacts economic development in Ohio,” said Brian O. Martin, AICP, executive director of the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission. “Businesses look to relocate and grow in a region with a robust transportation system and our region continues to lag. Insufficient local and state resources require an immediate increase in federal funding to shore up the region’s deficient infrastructure so that we can compete. Our elected representatives in Washington, D.C. must address this issue sooner than later.”

Traffic crashes in Ohio claimed the lives of 5,360 people between 2012 and 2016- an average of 1,072 fatalities per year. The fatality rate on Ohio’s non-interstate rural roads in 2016 was approximately two-and-a-half times higher than on all other roads in the state (1.84 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs. 0.71).

The efficiency and condition of Ohio’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy.  Annually, $1.1 trillion in goods are shipped to and from sites in Ohio, relying heavily on the state’s network of roads and bridges. 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.

“These conditions are only going to get worse, increasing the additional costs to motorists, if greater investment is not made available at the state and local levels of government,” said Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director. “Without adequate funding, Ohio’s transportation system will become increasingly deteriorated and congested, hampering economic growth, safety and quality of life.”

Modernizing Ohio’s Transportation System

 

Executive Summary

Ohio’s roads, highways and bridges form vital transportation links for the state’s residents, visitors and businesses, providing daily access to homes, jobs, shopping, natural resources and recreation.  The condition, efficiency and funding of Ohio’s transportation system are critical to quality of life and economic competitiveness in the Buckeye State. Inadequate transportation investment, which will result in deteriorated transportation facilities and diminished access, will negatively affect economic competitiveness and quality of life.

Located within a day’s drive of 60 percent of the population of the United States and Canada, Ohio can capitalize on its central location by maintaining and modernizing its roads, highways and bridges by improving the physical condition of its transportation network; and, by enhancing the system’s ability to provide efficient, reliable and safe mobility for residents, visitors and businesses.  Ohio maintains one of the most extensive and heavily traveled transportation systems in the nation.  Ohio ranks second nationally among states in the number of bridges, third in the volume of freight carried on its transportation system, and sixth in both miles of Interstate highways and total vehicle miles traveled (VMT).  Making needed improvements to Ohio roads, highways, bridges and transit systems could also provide a significant boost to the state’s economy by creating jobs in the short term and stimulating long-term economic growth as a result of enhanced mobility and access.

This report examines the condition, use and safety of Ohio’s roads, highways and bridges and future mobility needs.  Sources of information for this report include the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), 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), the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA)and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

DRIVING COSTS IN OHIO

Driving on Ohio’s transportation system costs the state’s motorists a total of $12 billion every year in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC), congestion-related delays and traffic crashes.

  • Driving on rough roads costs Ohio motorists a total of $3.5 billion annually in extra vehicle operating costs (VOC). These costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.
  • Based on research indicating 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 Ohio, in which roadway design was likely a contributing factor, is $3.9 billion each year. These costs come in the form of lost household and workplace productivity, insurance and other financial costs.
  • Traffic congestion costs Ohio motorists a total of $4.6 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.

TRANSPORTATION FUNDING AND NEEDED TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS

Ohio has been able to boost its highway investments through the use of Ohio Turnpike bond proceeds, but state highway funding is slated to decrease significantly in 2019.  Ohio faces both a short-term shortfall in funding for projects to expand highway capacity and a long-term shortfall in funding to maintain the condition and level of service of its roads, highways, bridges and public transit systems. 

  • The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) in its Access Ohio 2040report estimates that the cost of maintaining conditions and level of service on its system of roads, highways, bridges and public transit systems is approximately $55 billion through 2040. However, only $41 billion is anticipated to be available, leaving a shortfall of $14 billion (the highway only shortfall is estimated at $10.6 billion).
  • The Ohio Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) construction investment in roads, highways and bridges increased from approximately $2 billion in 2017 to $2.35 billion in 2018, largely due to Ohio Turnpike bond proceeds, but investment is set to decrease to $1.85 billion in 2019, dropping to $1.7 billion in 2021.
  • Starting in 2014, $1.38 billion in Ohio Turnpike bond proceeds have been made available to ODOT, which to date has committed $928 million to transportation projects.The remaining $452 million in Ohio Turnpike bond proceeds are available to ODOT to commit to transportation projects in fiscal years 2018 and 2019
  • In addition to the required $120 million that is provided annually to Metropolitan Planning Organizations and regional transit organizations, ODOT annually provides more than $300 million in discretionary funding to local governments for road, highway and bridge repairs.
  • The Transportation Review Advisory Council (TRAC) oversees the selection of major projects to be constructed by ODOT. TRAC’s draft 2018-2021 major new construction listincludes 45 highway and bridge projects in Ohio at a total cost of $8.3 billion, of which $2.5 billion in federal, state and local funding is anticipated to be available through 2023, leaving approximately $5.8 billion unfunded.
  • The charts below detail needed transportation projects in the state’s largest urban areas and statewide that have adequate state and local funding identified to proceed by 2023.

  • The charts below detail needed transportation projects in the state’s largest urban areas and statewide that lack adequate state and local funding to proceed to construction through 2023.

IMPACT OF INFLATION ON FEDERAL AND STATE MOTOR FUEL USER FEES

Inflation has reduced significantly the buying power of the federal and Ohio motor fuel user fees, which are critical funding sources for Ohio road, highway and bridge repairs and improvements.

  • The buying power of the federal 18.4 cents-per-gallon gasoline and 24.4 cents-per-gallon diesel motor fuel user fee, which was last increased in 1993, has had its buying power reduced to 10.7 and 14.2 cents-per-gallon, respectively, due to inflation.
  • The buying power of the Ohio 28 cents-per-gallon user fee, which was last increased in 2005, has had its buying power reduced to 18 cents-per-gallon due to the impact of inflation.

POPULATION, ECONOMIC AND TRAVEL TRENDS

Population and economic growth results in increased demands on major roads and highways, leading to increased wear and tear on a state’s transportation system. 

  • Ohio’s population reached approximately 11.6 million residents in 2016, a two percent increase since 2000. Ohio had eight million licensed drivers in 2016.
  • From 2000 to 2016, Ohio’s gross domestic product, a measure of the state’s economic output, increased by 14 percent, when adjusted for inflation, compared to the national average of 30 percent.
  • Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in Ohio increased by 12 percent from 2000 to 2016 –from 105.9 billion VMT in 2000 to 118.6 billion VMT in 2016. The rate of vehicle travel growth in Ohio has accelerated since 2013, increasing five percent between 2013 and 2016. By 2040, vehicle travel in Ohio is projected to increase another 20 percent.

OHIO ROAD CONDITIONS

A lack of adequate state and local funding has resulted in approximately one-third of major urban roads and highways in Ohio having pavement surfaces in poor or mediocre condition, providing a rough ride and costing motorists in the form of additional vehicle operating costs. 

  • The pavement data in this report, which is for all arterial and collector roads and highways, is provided by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), based on data submitted annually by the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) on the condition of major state and locally maintained roads and highways.
  • Twenty-three percent of Ohio’s major locally and state-maintained urban roads and highways have pavements in poor condition and 12 percent are rated in mediocre condition.  Thirteen percent of major urban roads are in fair condition and the remaining 52 percent are rated in good condition.
  • The chart below details pavement conditions on major urban roads inthe state’s largest urban areas:

BRIDGE CONDITIONS IN OHIO

One-in-fourteen locally and state-maintained bridges in Ohio show significant deterioration and are rated structurally deficient. This includes all bridges that are 20 feet or more in length. 

  • Statewide, seven percent of Ohio’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. 
  • Since 2013, ODOT has invested $140 million to repair and replace hundreds of deteriorating bridges owned by local governments through the Ohio Bridge Partnership Program.

OHIO TRAFFIC CONGESTION

Increasing levels of traffic congestion cause significant delays in Ohio, particularly in 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 annually for the average driver in Ohio’s largest urban areas. It also includes the cost of congestion per motorist, in the form of lost time and wasted fuel.

TRAFFIC SAFETY AND FATALITY RATES IN OHIO

Improving safety features on Ohio’s roads and highways would likely result in a decrease in the number of traffic fatalities and serious crashes.

  • A total of 5,360 people were killed in Ohio traffic crashes from 2012 to 2016, an average of 1,072 fatalities per year.
  • Ohio’s overall traffic fatality rate of 0.95 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2016 was below the national average of 1.18.
  • The fatality rate on Ohio’s non-interstate rural roads in 2016 was approximately two-and-a-half times higher than on all other roads in the state (1.84 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs. 0.71).
  • 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.

FEDERAL TRANSPORTATION FUNDING IN OHIO

The current federal surface transportation program, which expires in 2020, falls far short of providing the level of funding needed to meet the nation’s highway and transit needs. The Trump Administration has released a plan to increase investment in infrastructure, which includes surface transportation, by $1.5 trillion.  Boosting federal surface transportation spending will require that Congress provide a long-term and sustainable source of funding to support the federal Highway Trust Fund.

  • Signed into law in December 2015, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act), provides modest increases in federal highway and transit spending, allows states greater long-term funding certainty and streamlines the federal project approval process.  But, the FAST Act does not provide adequate funding to meet the nation’s need for highway and transit improvements and does not include a long-term and sustainable funding source.
  • President Trump released an infrastructure investment plan in February 2018 that would provide $200 billion in new federal grants and loans over 10 years to leverage $1.5 trillion in total project spending nationwide, relying on state and local governments to raise the additional $1.3 trillion.

TRANSPORTATION AND ECONOMIC GROWTH IN OHIO

The efficiency of Ohio’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the state’s economy.  A key component in business efficiency and success is the level and ease of access to customers, markets, materials and workers.  The design, construction and maintenance of infrastructure in Ohio is a significant source of employment in the state.  

  • Annually, $1.1 trillion in goods are shipped to and from sites in Ohio, mostly by truck.
  • Seventy-eight percent of the goods shipped annually to and from sites in Ohio are carried by trucks and another 12 percent are carried by courier services or multiple mode deliveries, which include trucking.
  • The design, construction and maintenance of transportation infrastructure in Ohio supports 132,374 full-time jobs across all sectors of the state economy. These workers earn $5.5 billion annually.
  • Approximately 2.4 million full-time jobs in Ohio in key industries like tourism, retail sales, agriculture and manufacturing are dependent on the state’s transportation infrastructure network.
  • 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.
  • Highwayaccessibility was ranked the number one site selection factor in a 2017 survey of corporate executives by Area Development Magazine. Labor costs and the availability of skilled labor, which are both impacted by a site’s level of accessibility, were rated second and third, respectively.
  • The Federal Highway Administrationestimates 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 Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Official (AASHTO), the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the U. S. Census Bureau, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI), the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).  All data used in the report are the most recent available.  

 

 

Tom Ewing’s Environmental Update

*  Tuesday, January 16, was the end of the public comment period for EPA’s proposed “Repeal of Carbon Dioxide Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units,” aka the Clean Power Plan.  The proposed repeal was published last spring – April 4.  Regulations.gov shows receipt of 321,115 comments by the deadline; very likely that number will go up as this docket is updated.  Right now, if you have the time, you can read the 8,352 comments that are available!  So far 41 comments are filed in response to EPA’s proposal to replace the Clean Power Plan.  That comment period ends Feb. 26.

*  ISO New England released a scary report about regional power demand and supply.  NE power system reliability is heavily dependent on LNG and electricity imports.  More renewable resources can help lessen the region’s fuel-security risk but are likely to drive coal- and oil-fired generation retirements, requiring high LNG imports to counteract the loss of stored fuels.  The problem, though, is that power officials can’t get the approvals necessary to build natural gas and LNG pipeline and storage infrastructure.   In effect, NE is being strangled.  With no fuel, but high demand, utilities will have no choice but to implement, uh, “load shedding,” i.e., rolling blackouts; how pleasant.  The ISO evaluated 23 scenarios, by the year 2023, about how it might work through winter demands vs. winter capacity.  19 scenarios result in load shedding.  ISO New England says it will “discuss this study with stakeholders, regulators, and policymakers throughout 2018.”  Seems like they need to do more than talk.

*  Here’s a chance to get in the future.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is looking for comments regarding barriers to testing vehicles with Automated Driving Systems (ADSs) and “certain unconventional interior designs.”  And no, that does not include a design like your friend’s old Chrysler Imperial with a cutting-edge dashboard, slide-out record player (…uh, sorry ’bout y’all who don’t know what a record player is…).  The NHTSA comments are for vehicles without a “steering wheel, brake pedal or accelerator pedal.”  Sometimes important. (But what about the clutch?)  If you do help with this testing keep in mind how you work with a horse you don’t know too well: from the side, don’t stand in front or back. *:D big grin

Tom Ewing
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513-379-5526 voice/text

Tom Ewing’s Environmental Update

*  Last week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a new voluntary guidance on automated driving systems—”Automated Driving Systems: A Vision for Safety.” This guidance is based on public comments received on the Federal Automated Vehicles Policy (FAVP) released a year ago, September 2016. The updated guidance is “to support industry innovators, States, and other key stakeholders as they consider and design best practices relative to the testing and deployment of automated vehicle technologies while informing and educating the public and improving roadway safety.” NHTSA is looking for public comments on the guidance and “additional ways to improve its usefulness.”  The document is part of DOT’s efforts to support the introduction of automation technologies that “hold the promise of fulfilling NHTSA’s mission of reducing the number of injuries and fatalities on our roads.”  Comments are due by November 14.
*  In Oregon, an interim joint House-Senate committee on energy and environment meets today for two hearings focused on transportation electrification.  One hearing is titled  “Public Utility Commission’s Resource Value of Solar and Transportation Electrification Dockets.”  Staff from OR’s Public Utility Commission will update legislators.  The second hearing topic is titled “Electrification Transportation Programs and Electric Vehicle Charging Stations.”  Testimony will be from utility experts and officials from vehicle trade groups.
*  Who knew, right, that we have a National Advisory Committee on Windstorm Impact Reduction (NACWIR or the Committee)?  Well, we do and the Committee holds an open video conference meeting next week, on Monday, from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time. The purpose of the meeting: to finalize the Committee’s report on wind reduction assessments and recommendations. You can participate remotely. The NACWIR was established in accordance with the requirements of the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Act Reauthorization of 2015. The Committee is charged with offering assessments and recommendations on trends and developments in the natural, engineering, and social sciences and practices of windstorm impact mitigation, program priorities and coordination and, importantly, the effectiveness of the Program in meeting its purposes.
Tom Ewing
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513-379-5526 voice/text

TRIP Reports: Mississippi Motorists Lose $2.9 Billion Per Year On Roads That Are Rough, Congested & Lack Some Desirable Safety Features

Mississippi Motorists Lose $2.9 Billion Per Year On Roads That Are Rough, Congested & Lack Some Desirable Safety Features – As Much As $2,000 Per Driver. Costs Will Rise And Conditions Will Worsen Without Increased Funding

Roads and bridges that are deteriorated, congested or lack some desirable safety features cost Mississippi motorists a total of $2.9 billion statewide annually – as much as $2,046 per driver in some urban areas – due to higher vehicle operating costs, traffic crashes and congestion-related delays. Increased investment in transportation improvements at the local and state levels could relieve traffic congestion, improve road, bridge and transit conditions, boost safety, and support long-term economic growth in Mississippi, according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation organization.

The TRIP report, Mississippi Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe Smooth and Efficient Mobility,” finds that throughout Mississippi, nearly two-thirds of major locally and state-maintained urban roads are in poor or mediocre condition and 12 percent of Mississippi’s locally and state-maintained bridges are structurally deficient. The state’s major urban roads are becoming increasingly congested, with drivers wasting significant amounts of time and fuel each year. And, more than 3,100 people were killed on the state’s roads from 2011 to 2015. Mississippi had the third highest traffic fatality rate in the nation in 2015.

Driving on Jackson area roads costs Mississippi drivers a total of $2.9 billion per year in the form of extra vehicle operating costs (VOC) as a result of driving on roads in need of repair, lost time and fuel due to congestion-related delays, and the costs of traffic crashes in which the lack of adequate roadway safety features likely were a contributing factor. The TRIP report calculates the cost to motorists of insufficient roads in the Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula, Hattiesburg, Jackson and Southaven-DeSoto County urban areas. A breakdown of the costs per motorist in each area along with a statewide total is below.

The TRIP report finds that 43 percent of Mississippi’s major locally and state-maintained urban roads and highways have pavements in poor condition and 21 percent are rated in mediocre condition. Twelve percent of major urban roads are in fair condition and the remaining 24 percent are rated in good condition. Driving on deficient roads costs Mississippi motorists an additional $1.4 billion each year in extra vehicle operating costs, including accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.

“Municipalities in Mississippi are responsible for more than 23,000 street miles,” said Jimmy Clyde, mayor of Magee and president of the Mississippi Municipal League.  “As a mayor, I can confirm that one of most requested services from my citizens is better and safer streets. More than half of Mississippi citizens live in municipalities, and they expect and deserve safe, well-maintained streets. The cost of providing and maintaining streets and bridges continues to outpace current municipal revenue streams.  Raising property taxes should not be the only recoursefor generating new revenue. If cities and towns can improve their street infrastructure, the climate for economic development will continue to improve and more jobs can be created for all Mississippians.”

Increasing levels of traffic congestion cause significant delays in Mississippi, particularly in its larger urban areas, choking commuting and commerce. Traffic congestion costs Mississippi drivers $530 annually in the form of lost time and wasted fuel.

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

Traffic crashes in Mississippi claimed the lives of 3,109 people between 2011 and 2015, an average of 622 fatalities per year. Mississippi’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.70 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel is significantly higher than the national average of 1.13 and the third highest rate in the nation. The state’s rural roads have a traffic fatality rate that is more than four times the fatality rate on all other roads in the state.

The efficiency and condition of Mississippi’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy. Annually, $277 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in Mississippi, mostly by truck. Seventy-seven percent of the goods shipped annually to and from sites in Mississippi are carried by trucks and another eight percent are carried by courier services or multiple mode deliveries, which include trucking.

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

Ten Key Transportation Numbers in Mississippi

 

$2.9 billion

Driving on deficient roads costs Mississippi motorists a total of $2.9 billion annually in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC), congestion-related delays and traffic crashes.
Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula – $1,267

Hattiesburg – $1,293

Jackson – $2,046

Southaven-DeSoto County- $1,870

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: Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula – $1,267; Hattiesburg- $1,293; Jackson – $2,046, Southaven-DeSoto County- $1,870.
 

2 of 3 miles

Nearly two of every three miles of Mississippi’s major urban roads are in either poor or mediocre condition, with 43 percent rated in poor condition and 21 percent rated in mediocre condition.
Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula – 41%

Hattiesburg – 51%

Jackson – 63%

Southaven-DeSoto County-44%

The share of major urban roads in poor or mediocre condition in the state’s largest urban areas is as follows: Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula, 41 percent; Hattiesburg, 51 percent; Jackson, 63 percent; and Southaven-DeSoto County 44 percent.
 

4X

The fatality rate on Mississippi’s rural roads is more than four times the fatality rate on all other roads in the state (2.93 fatalities per 100 million VMT vs. 0.70).
12%

2,098 bridges

Twelve percent of Mississippi’s bridges (2,098 out of 17,068) are structurally deficient, the 12th highest rate in the nation. A bridge is structurally deficient if there is significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components.
3rd Mississippi’s traffic fatality rate of 1.70 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel is the third highest in the nation.
Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula – 19 hours

Hattiesburg – 13 hours

Jackson – 38 hours

Southaven-DeSoto County-43 hours

Increasing congestion, particularly in the state’s urban areas, is causing significant delays for residents and businesses. The average Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula driver loses 19 hours annually to congestion, Hattiesburg drivers lose 13 hours each year, Jackson drivers lose 38 hours, and Southaven-DeSoto County drivers lose 43 hours.
$1 = $4 to $5 Every $1 of deferred maintenance on roads and bridges has been found to cost an additional $4 to $5 in needed future repairs.
 

$1.00 = $5.20

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

MISSISSIPPI TRANSPORTATION BY THE NUMBERS:

Meeting the State’s Need for Safe and Efficient Mobility
Executive Summary

Quality of life and economic progress are riding on Mississippi’s transportation system. The rate of economic growth in Mississippi, 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 Magnolia 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 agriculture, tourism and manufacturing, the quality of Mississippi’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 Mississippi as the state addresses modernizing and maintaining its system of roads, highways, bridges and transit.

COST TO MISSISSIPPI MOTORISTS OF DEFICIENT ROADS

An inadequate transportation system costs Mississippi motorists a total of $2.9 billion every year in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC), congestion-related delays and traffic crashes.

  • Driving on rough roads costs Mississippi motorists a total of $1.4 billion annually in extra vehicle operating costs. Costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.
  • Traffic crashes in which roadway design was likely a contributing factor cost Mississippi motorists a total of $1 billion each year in the form of lost household and workplace productivity, insurance and other financial costs.
  • Traffic congestion costs Mississippi motorists a total of $530 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, TRAVEL AND ECONOMIC TRENDS IN MISSISSIPPI

Population and economic growth result in increased demands on major roads and highways, leading to increased wear and tear on the transportation system.

  • Mississippi’s population reached approximately 3 million residents in 2016, a five percent increase since 2000. Mississippi had approximately 2 million licensed drivers in 2015.
  • Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in Mississippi increased by 19 percent from 2000 to 2016 –from 35.5 billion VMT in 2000 to 42.3 billion VMT in 2016. VMT in the state increased nine percent just in the last three years (2013-2016).
  • From 2000 to 2015, Mississippi’s gross domestic product, a measure of the state’s economic output, increased by 14 percent, when adjusted for inflation. U.S. GDP increased 27 percent during this time.

MISSISSIPPI ROAD CONDITIONS

A lack of adequate state and local funding has resulted in nearly two of every three miles of major urban roads and highways in Mississippi having pavement surfaces in poor or mediocre condition, providing a rough ride and costing motorists in the form of additional vehicle operating costs.

  • The pavement data in this report, which is for all arterial and collector roads and highways, is provided by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), based on data submitted annually by the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) on the condition of major state and locally maintained roads and highways.
  • Pavement data for Interstate highways and other principal arterials is collected for all system mileage, whereas pavement data for minor arterial and all collector roads and highways is based on sampling portions of roadways as prescribed by FHWA to insure that the data collected is adequate to provide an accurate assessment of pavement conditions on these roads and highways.
  • Overall, 28 percent of Mississippi’s major locally and state-maintained roads and highways have pavements in poor condition and 27 percent are in mediocre condition. Fifteen percent of the state’s major roads are rated in fair condition and the remaining 30 percent are rated in good condition.
  • Forty-three percent of Mississippi’s major locally and state-maintained urban roads and highways have pavements in poor condition and 21 percent are rated in mediocre condition. Twelve percent of major urban roads are in fair condition and the remaining 24 percent are rated in good condition.
  • Twenty-five percent of Mississippi’s major locally and state-maintained rural roads and highways have pavements in poor condition and 28 percent are rated in mediocre condition. Fifteen percent of major rural roads are in fair condition and the remaining 32 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 Mississippi motorists a total of $1.4 billion annually in extra vehicle operating costs. Costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.
  • Long-term repair costs increase significantly when road and bridge maintenance is deferred, as road and bridge deterioration accelerates later in the service life of a transportation facility and requires more costly repairs. A report on maintaining pavements found that every $1 of deferred maintenance on roads and bridges costs an additional $4 to $5 in needed future repairs.

MISSISSIPPI BRIDGE CONDITIONS

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

  • Twelve percent of Mississippi’s bridges (2,098 out of 17,068) are structurally deficient, the twelfth highest share in the nation. A bridge is structurally deficient if there is significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components. Structurally deficient bridges are often posted for lower weight or closed to traffic, restricting or redirecting large vehicles, including commercial trucks and emergency services vehicles. 
  • The chart below details the share of structurally deficient bridges in the state’s largest urban areas.

HIGHWAY SAFETY AND FATALITY RATES IN MISSISSIPPI

Improving safety features on Mississippi’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 3,109 people were killed in Mississippi traffic crashes from 2011 to 2015, an average of 622 fatalities per year.
  • Mississippi’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.70 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2015 was significantly higher than the national average of 1.13 and the third highest rate in the nation.
  • The fatality rate on Mississippi’s non-interstate rural roads in 2015 was more than four times that on all other roads in the state (2.93 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs. 0.70).
  • 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 Mississippi imposed a total of $3.1 billion in economic costs in 2015. TRIP estimates that traffic crashes in which roadway features were likely a contributing factor imposed $1 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.

MISSISSIPPI TRAFFIC CONGESTION

Increasing levels of traffic congestion cause significant delays in Mississippi, 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 Mississippi is approximately $530 million per year.
  • The chart below details the number of hours lost to congestion by the average driver in the state’s largest urban areas, as well as the annual cost of traffic congestion per driver in the form of lost time and wasted fuel.

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

TRANSPORTATION FUNDING IN MISSISSIPPI

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

  • According to the 2015 Status of the Nation’s Highways, Bridges and Transit: Conditions and Performance report submitted by the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) to Congress, the nation faces an $836 billion backlog in needed repairs and improvements to the nation’s roads, highways and bridges.
  • The USDOT report found that the nation’s current $105 billion investment in roads, highways and bridges by all levels of government should be increased by 35 percent to $142.5 billion annually to improve the conditions of roads, highways and bridges, relieve traffic congestion and improve traffic safety.

TRANSPORTATION AND ECONOMIC GROWTH IN MISSISSIPPI

The efficiency of Mississippi’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, $277 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in Mississippi, mostly by truck.
  • Seventy-seven percent of the goods shipped annually to and from sites in Mississippi are carried by trucks and another eight 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).