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TRIP Report: Deficient, Congested Roadways Cost Average New Jersey Driver $2,626 Annually, A Total Of $13.1 Billion Statewide. Costs Will Rise And Transportation Woes Will Worsen Without Increased Funding

Roads and bridges that are deficient, congested or lack desirable safety features cost New Jersey motorists a total of $13.1 billion statewide annually – more than $2,600 per driver – 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 New Jersey, according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation organization.

The TRIP report, New Jersey Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe, Smooth and Efficient Mobility,” finds that more than one-third of the state’s major roads are in poor condition and more than one-third of New Jersey’s bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. The state’s major urban roads are becoming increasingly congested, with drivers facing some of the longest commutes in the nation. And an average of 574 people were killed annually in crashes on New Jersey’s roads from 2010 to 2014.

Driving on deficient roads costs each New Jersey driver $2,626 per year – a total of $13.1 billion statewide- 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 along with a statewide total is below.

NJ 1

The TRIP report finds that 37 percent of major locally and state-maintained roads in New Jersey are in poor condition and another 41 percent are in mediocre and fair condition. The remaining 22 percent are in good condition. Driving on deteriorated roads costs the average New Jersey motorist an additional $632 each year in extra vehicle operating costs, including accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear. Statewide vehicle operating costs as a result of rough roads total $3.9 billion annually.

A total of 35 percent of New Jersey’s bridges show significant deterioration or do not meet modern design standards. Nine percent of New Jersey’s bridges are structurally deficient, with significant deterioration to the bridge deck, supports or other major components. An additional 26 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.

Traffic congestion in New Jersey is worsening, costing the average motorist $1,501 annually in lost time and wasted fuel – a total of $6.2 billion each year. The average daily commute for New Jersey residents is 31 minutes, the third longest nationally, behind only New York and Maryland. The national average is 26 minutes.

“The TRIP report underscores how important renewing the New Jersey Transportation Trust Fund program is to motorists in our state. In the long run, driving on well-maintained roads is far less expensive than paying for needless car repairs, congestion and crashes that result from an underfunded transportation system,” stated Philip Beachem, president of the New Jersey Alliance for Action.

New Jersey’s overall traffic fatality rate of 0.74 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel is lower than the national average of 1.08. The state’s rural roads have a traffic fatality rate that is more than three times higher than the rate on all other roads in the state (2.10 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel versus 0.67). TRIP estimates that roadway features may be a contributing factor in approximately one-third of fatal traffic crashes.

The efficiency and condition of New Jersey’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy. Annually, $816 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in New Jersey, mostly by truck. Seventy-three percent of the goods shipped annually to and from sites in New Jersey are carried by trucks and another 18 percent are carried by courier services or multiple mode deliveries, which include trucking.

“These conditions are only going to get worse if greater funding is not made available at the local, state and federal levels,” said Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director. “Without additional transportation funding New Jersey’s transportation system will become increasingly deteriorated and congested, the state will miss out on opportunities for economic growth and quality of life will suffer.”

Executive Summary

Ten Key Transportation Numbers in New Jersey

 

 

$13.1 billion

Driving on deficient roads costs New Jersey motorists a total of $13.1 billion annually in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC), congestion-related delays and traffic crashes.
$2,626 TRIP has calculated the cost to the average motorist in New Jersey in the form of additional VOC, congestion-related delays and traffic crashes. The average New Jersey driver loses $2,626 annually as a result of driving on roads that are deteriorated, congested and that lack some desirable safety features.
2,870

574

A total of 2,870 people were killed in New Jersey traffic crashes from 2010 to 2014. An average of 574 fatalities occurred annually on New Jersey’s roads in the last five years.
3X The fatality rate on New Jersey’s non-interstate rural roads is more than three times higher than all other roads in the state (2.10 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs. 0.67).
37% Statewide, 37 percent of New Jersey’s major roads are in poor condition. Forty-one percent are in mediocre or fair condition and the remaining 22 percent are in good condition.
$816 Billion

 

Annually, $816 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in New Jersey, mostly by truck.
 

35%

A total of 35 percent of New Jersey bridges show significant deterioration or do not meet current design standards. Nine percent of the state’s bridges are structurally deficient and 26 percent are functionally obsolete.
$6.2 Billion

64 Hours

$1,501 Per Driver

The average New Jersey driver loses 64 hours each year stuck in congestion. Congestion related delays cost the state’s drivers a total of $6.2 billion annually, an average of $1,501 per driver.
 

$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.
31 Minutes

3rd Longest

The average daily commute to work for New Jersey residents is 31 minutes, the third longest nationally, behind only New York and Maryland.

 

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

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

With an economy based largely on manufacturing, chemical production, agriculture and tourism, the quality of New Jersey’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 New Jersey as the state addresses its need to modernize and maintain its system of roads, highways, bridges and transit.

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

COST TO NEW JERSEY MOTORISTS OF DEFICIENT ROADS

An inadequate transportation system costs New Jersey motorists a total of $13.1 billion every year in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC), congestion-related delays and traffic crashes.

  • Driving on rough roads costs all New Jersey motorists a total of $3.9 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 New Jersey residents a total of $3 billion each year in the form of lost household and workplace productivity, insurance costs and other financial costs.

 

  • Traffic congestion costs New Jersey residents a total of $6.2 billion each year in the form of lost time and wasted fuel.

 

NJ 2 

POPULATION AND ECONOMIC GROWTH IN NEW JERSEY

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

  • New Jersey’s population reached approximately nine million residents in 2015, a six percent increase since 2000.

 

  • New Jersey had 6.2 million licensed drivers in 2014.

 

  • Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in New Jersey increased by 11 percent from 2000 to 2014 –from 67.4 billion VMT in 2000 to 74.9 billion VMT in 2014.
  • By 2030, vehicle travel in New Jersey is projected to increase by another 10 percent.

 

NEW JERSEY ROAD CONDITIONS

A lack of adequate state and local funding has resulted in 37 percent of major locally and state-maintained roads and highways in New Jersey having pavement surfaces in poor condition, providing a rough ride and costing motorists in the form of additional vehicle operating costs.

  • The pavement data in this report, which is for all arterial and collector roads and highways, is provided by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), based on data submitted annually by the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) on the condition of major state and locally maintained roads and highways in the state.

 

  • 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.

 

  • Statewide, 37 percent of New Jersey’s major locally and state-maintained roads and highways are in poor condition, while 41 percent are in mediocre or fair condition. The remaining 22 percent are in good condition.

 

  • 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 New Jersey motorists a total of $3.9 billion annually in extra vehicle operating costs – approximately $632 per driver each year. Costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.

 

NEW JERSEY BRIDGE CONDITIONS

More than one-third of locally and state-maintained bridges in New Jersey show significant deterioration or do not meet current design standards often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment. This includes all bridges that are 20 feet or more in length.

  • Nine percent of New Jersey’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.

 

  • Twenty-six percent of New Jersey’s bridges are functionally obsolete. Bridges that are functionally obsolete no longer meet current highway design standards, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment.

 

  • The chart below details bridge conditions statewide.

NJ 3HIGHWAY SAFETY AND FATALITY RATES IN NEW JERSEY

Improving safety features on New Jersey’s roads and highways would likely result in a decrease in the state’s traffic fatalities and serious crashes. It is estimated that roadway features are likely a contributing factor in approximately one-third of all fatal and serious traffic crashes.

  • A total of 2,870 people were killed in New Jersey traffic crashes from 2010 to 2014.

 

  • New Jersey’s overall traffic fatality rate of 0.74 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2014 was lower than the national average of 1.08.

 

  • The fatality rate on New Jersey’s non-interstate rural roads in 2014 was more than three times higher than on all other roads in the state (2.10 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs. 0.67).

 

  • Roadway features that impact safety include the number of lanes, lane widths, lighting, lane markings, rumble strips, shoulders, guard rails, other shielding devices, median barriers and intersection design. The cost of serious crashes includes lost productivity, lost earnings, medical costs and emergency services.
  • Several factors are associated with vehicle crashes that result in fatalities, including driver behavior, vehicle characteristics and roadway features. TRIP estimates that roadway features are likely a contributing factor in approximately one-third of fatal traffic crashes.
  • Where appropriate, highway improvements can reduce traffic fatalities and crashes while improving traffic flow to help relieve congestion. Such improvements include removing or shielding obstacles; adding or improving medians; improved lighting; adding rumble strips, wider lanes, wider and paved shoulders; upgrading roads from two lanes to four lanes; and better road markings and traffic signals.

 

  • Investments in rural traffic safety have been found to result in significant reductions in serious traffic crashes. A 2012 report by the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) found that improvements completed recently by the Texas Department of Transportation that widened lanes, improved shoulders and made other safety improvements on 1,159 miles of rural state roadways resulted in 133 fewer fatalities on these roads in the first three years after the improvements were completed (as compared to the three years prior).   TTI estimates that the improvements on these roads are likely to save 880 lives over the next 20 years.

 

NEW JERSEY TRAFFIC CONGESTION

Increasing levels of traffic congestion cause significant delays in New Jersey, 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 New Jersey is approximately $6.2 billion per year – $1,501 annually per driver.

 

  • 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.

 

  • The average daily commute for New Jersey residents is 31 minutes, the third longest nationally, behind only New York and Maryland. The national average is 26 minutes.

 

TRANSPORTATION FUNDING IN NEW JERSEY

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

 

  • According to the 2015 AASHTO Transportation Bottom Line Report, a significant boost in investment in the nation’s roads, highways, bridges and public transit systems is needed to improve their condition and to meet the nation’s transportation needs.

 

  • AASHTO’s report found that based on an annual one percent increase in VMT annual investment in the nation’s roads, highways and bridges needs to increase 36 percent, from $88 billion to $120 billion, to improve conditions and meet the nation’s mobility needs, based on an annual one percent rate of vehicle travel growth. Investment in the nation’s public transit system needs to increase from $17 billion to $43 billion.

 

  • The Bottom Line Report found that if the national rate of vehicle travel increased by 1.4 percent per year, the needed annual investment in the nation’s roads, highways and bridges would need to increase by 64 percent to $144 billion. If vehicle travel grows by 1.6 percent annually the needed annual investment in the nation’s roads, highways and bridges would need to increase by 77 percent to $156 billion.

 

TRANSPORTATION AND ECONOMIC GROWTH IN NEW JERSEY

The efficiency of New Jersey’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, $816 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in New Jersey, mostly by truck.

 

  • Seventy-three percent of the goods shipped annually to and from sites in New Jersey are carried by trucks and another 18 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 New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the U.S. Census Bureau, the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

 

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TRIP: New Report Examines Progress And Challenges In Improving Maryland’s Transportation System

TRIP: New Report Examines Progress And Challenges In Improving Maryland’s Transportation System, Identifies States Largest Bottlenecks, Evaluates Current Road And Bridge Conditions And Safety, And Notes Recent Mobility Improvements

A new report recently released by TRIP assesses recent improvements undertaken to enhance mobility in Maryland, identifies the state’s top 30 traffic bottlenecks, and evaluates road and bridge conditions and highway safety. While a 2013 state transportation funding boost and the 2015 approval of a long-term federal surface transportation program have resulted in a significant increase in state transportation investment, Maryland still faces a significant challenge in improving mobility, conditions and safety, and supporting long-term economic growth. TRIP is a Washington, DC-based national transportation organization.

The TRIP report, Keeping Maryland Mobile: Progress and Challenges in Providing an Efficient, Safe and Well-Maintained Transportation System,” finds that throughout Maryland, state-maintained road conditions have improved since 2012 and the number of structurally deficient state-maintained bridges has decreased during that time. While traffic congestion continues to increase, the state has made progress in completing needed projects to improve the efficiency of its transportation system.

Largely due to increased revenue as a result of the Transportation Infrastructure Investment Act of 2013, the average annual highway investment in Maryland by the State Highway Administration increased by 85 percent from an average of $810 million annually from 2010 to 2012 to an average of $1.5 billion annually from 2016 to 2018. As a result, the share of state-maintained roads and highways in Maryland in poor or mediocre condition decreased from 30 percent in 2012 (13 percent rated poor and 17 percent rated in mediocre condition) to 24 percent in 2014 (10 percent rated poor and 14 percent rated in mediocre condition). Similarly, the number of state-maintained bridges in Maryland rated structurally deficient was reduced from 97 in 2012 to 69 in 2015.

Maryland has completed a number of congestion relief projects since 2013, including construction of the final section of the Intercounty Connector (ICC), construction of two toll-lanes on eight miles of I-95 from I-895 to MD 43, widening I-70 to six lanes at South Street/Monocacy Boulevard, widening several sections of US 40, and widening and reconstruction of I-695/Wilkens Avenue. Additional mobility improvements completed in Maryland since 2013 include expanded service patrols on major highways, enhanced driver information, improved traffic signal timing, and construction of 11 miles of new sidewalks and 13 miles of marked bicycle lanes.

“From Governor Hogan’s $2 billion investment in highways and bridges to innovative projects and practical design, Maryland is committed to improving safety and reducing hours lost every day to congestion,” said Maryland Secretary of Transportation Pete K. Rahn.

Despite efforts to improve the efficiency of Maryland’s transportation system, congestion on Maryland’s roads results in 195 million hours of delays annually and the consumption of 85 million additional gallons of fuel, resulting in an annual cost of $4.1 billion in lost time and wasted fuel. Two of the nation’s 25 most congested urban areas are located in or include parts of Maryland. The Washington, DC metro area, which includes suburbs in Maryland and Virginia, is ranked first nationally in the cost of traffic congestion per commuter, with congestion costing $1,834 per commuter and causing 82 hours of delay annually. The Baltimore urban area ranked 25th in the cost of traffic congestion per commuter at $1,115, with the average Baltimore motorist losing 47 hours annually.

The TRIP report identifies Maryland’s top 30 bottleneck locations, with the top ten bottlenecks detailed below. A full list of the top 30 bottlenecks throughout the state can be found in the report.

MD 1Nearly a quarter of Maryland’s locally and state-maintained bridges show significant deterioration or do not meet modern design standards. Six percent of Maryland’s locally and state-maintained bridges are structurally deficient, meaning there is significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components. Seventeen percent of locally and state-maintained bridges are functionally obsolete, meaning they no longer meet modern design standards, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment.

“Despite overwhelming support for choices in meeting our transportation needs, some groups would deny us this choice by aggressively opposing even the most reasonable roadway projects as part of a multi-modal transportation system,” said Tom Calcagni, director of public and government affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “That is why the success stories we have heard today, as well the successes of the Wilson Bridge, Mixing Bowl, ICC and other impactful projects, are so important.  They show that investments in roadways and bridges can and do make a difference.”

Traffic crashes in Maryland claimed the lives of 2,404 people between 2010 and 2014. Maryland’s overall traffic fatality rate of 0.78 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel is lower than the national average of 1.08. Maryland’s non-Interstate rural roads have a traffic fatality rate of 1.84 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel, approximately three times higher than the fatality rate of 0.61 on all other roads.

The efficiency and condition of Maryland’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy. Annually, $445 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in Maryland with 75 percent of the freight tonnage being shipped by trucks.

“While Maryland has been able to use increased state transportation funds to improve road and bridge conditions in recent years, congestion continues to mount and a significant amount of additional local, state and federal funding is still needed,” said Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director. “Without additional transportation funding, Maryland’s transportation system will become increasingly deteriorated and congested, the state will miss out on opportunities for economic growth, and quality of life will suffer.”

KEEPING MARYLAND MOBILE:

Progress and Challenges in Providing an Efficient, Safe and

Well-Maintained Transportation System

Executive Summary

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

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

With the state’s population and employment continuing to grow, Maryland must continue to improve its transportation system to foster economic growth and keep and attract business. In addition to economic growth, transportation improvements are needed to ensure safe, reliable mobility. Meeting Maryland’s need to further modernize its transportation system will require significant local, state and federal funding.

Maryland has undertaken a sustained commitment to upgrade the condition and efficiency of its roads, highways, bridges, transit systems and pedestrian and bicycling facilities. The Maryland General Assembly’s approval of the Transportation Infrastructure Investment Act of 2013 has allowed the state to significantly boost its investment in Maryland’s transportation system.

In December 2015 the president signed into law a long-term federal surface transportation program that includes modest funding increases and allows state and local governments to plan and finance projects with greater certainty through 2020.

This significant boost in state transportation funding, as well as the modest increase in federal surface transportation funding, is supporting increased investment in road, highway and bridge repairs in Maryland and allowing the state to move forward with numerous projects to expand the capacity and/or efficient operations of its transportation system. This increase in transportation capacity and efficient operations will further economic development opportunities and improve quality of life.

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

  • From 2000 to 2015, Maryland’s population increased by 13 percent, from approximately 5.3 million residents to approximately 6 million.
  • Maryland’s population is projected to increase to approximately 6.9 million in 2040, with the state expected to add an additional 800,000 jobs between 2010 and 2040.
  • Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in Maryland increased 12 percent from 2000 to 2014 – from 50.1 billion VMT in 2000 to 56.4 billion VMT in 2014.
  • Vehicle miles of travel in Maryland in 2015 were 2 percent higher than in 2014.
  • From 2000 to 2014, Maryland’s gross state product (GSP), a measure of the state’s economic output, increased by 31 percent, when adjusted for inflation.
  • Based on population and other lifestyle trends, TRIP estimates that travel on Maryland’s roads and highways will increase by another 20 percent by 2030.

Traffic congestion places a significant burden on Marylanders, including lost time, reduced economic productivity and wasted fuel. Maryland’s roadways are among the most congested in the nation.

  • Congestion on Maryland’s roads and highways results in 195 million hours of delay annually and the consumption of an extra 85 million gallons of fuel, resulting in an annual cost in lost time and wasted fuel of $4.1 billion.
  • The share of Maryland’s freeways and expressways that experience heavy to severe congestion is increasing. In 2014, 16 percent of the state’s freeways and expressways experienced heavy to severe congestion during the morning peak commuting hours while 24 percent experienced heavy to severe congestion during the afternoon peak commuting hours. This is up from 16 and 22 percent, respectively, in 2013.
  • Two of the nation’s 25 most congested urban areas are located in or include parts of Maryland. The Washington, DC metro area, which includes suburbs in Maryland and Virginia, is ranked first nationally in the cost of traffic congestion per commuter, with congestion costing $1,834 per commuter and causing 82 hours of delay annually. The Baltimore urban area ranked 25th in the cost of traffic congestion per commuter at $1,115, with the average Baltimore motorist losing 47 hours annually.
  • The Maryland State Highway Administration identified the top 30 traffic bottleneck locations in Maryland in 2014 by ranking segments of roadway based on the duration, intensity, frequency and average queue length of congestion. The following chart details the top 30 roadway bottlenecks in Maryland in 2014.

MD 2Since the Maryland General Assembly’s passage of the Transportation Infrastructure Investment Act of 2013 the state has been able to increase investment in repairing roads, highways and bridges and move forward with numerous transportation projects to improve mobility in Maryland.  

  • Since passage of the Transportation Infrastructure Investment Act of 2013, the average annual highway investment in Maryland by the State Highway Administration increased by 85 percent from an average of $810 million annually from 2010 to 2012 to an average of $1.5 billion annually from 2016 to 2018.
  • The share of state-maintained roads and highways in Maryland in poor or mediocre condition decreased from 30 percent in 2012 (13 percent rated poor and 17 percent rated in mediocre condition) to 24 percent in 2014 (10 percent rated poor and 14 percent rated in mediocre condition).
  • The number of state-maintained bridges in Maryland rated structurally deficient has been reduced from 97 in 2012 to 69 in 2015.
  • Since 2013, Maryland has been able to complete a number of highway projects to increase the capacity of many of the state’s most heavily traveled routes. The following table provides information on some of the key congestion relief projects completed in Maryland since 2013.
  • MD 3Maryland has also made significant progress since 2013 in improving the efficiency of its transportation system and expanding facilities for non-motorized transportation. These mobility improvements include:
  • Expanding the state’s highway service patrols serving the Baltimore, Washington, Frederick and Annapolis areas to 24 hours a day seven days a week in 2014, which resulted in the patrols responding to 23,000 incidents and assisting nearly 37,000 stranded motorists in 2014.
  • Improving driver information services, including upgrading the state’s 511 traveler information service and expanding the state’s travel time information, with nearly 100 message signs in operation throughout the state.
  • Improving signal timing on 225 traffic signals.
  • Installing 11 miles of new sidewalks and 13 miles of marked bicycle lanes.

Nearly a quarter – 23 percent — of locally and state-maintained bridges in Maryland show significant deterioration or do not meet current design standards, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment with the adjoining roadway.

  • Six percent of Maryland’s locally and state-maintained 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.
  • A bridge is considered structurally deficient if: 1) any of its significant load carrying elements are found to be in a poor condition due to deterioration and/or damage; 2) it has a low weight restriction; or 3) the adequacy of the waterway opening provided by the bridge is determined to be extremely insufficient to the point that roadway flooding causes intolerable traffic interruptions.
  • Seventeen percent of Maryland’s locally and state-maintained bridges are functionally obsolete. Bridges that are functionally obsolete no longer meet current highway design standards, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment.

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

  • Between 2010 and 2014, 2,404 people were killed in traffic crashes in Maryland, an average of 481 fatalities per year.
  • Maryland’s overall traffic fatality rate of 0.78 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2014 is lower than the national average of 1.08.
  • The traffic fatality rate on Maryland’s non-Interstate rural roads in 2014 was approximately three times higher than on all other roads and highways in the state – 1.84 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel compared to 0.61, compared to a national average of 2.14 and 0.77, respectively.
  • Several factors are associated with vehicle crashes that result in fatalities, including driver behavior, vehicle characteristics and roadway features.
  • Where appropriate, highway improvements can reduce traffic fatalities and crashes while improving traffic flow to help relieve congestion. Such improvements include removing or shielding obstacles; adding or improving medians; improved lighting; adding rumble strips, wider lanes, wider and paved shoulders; upgrading roads from two lanes to four lanes; and better road markings and traffic signals.
  • Investments in rural traffic safety have been found to result in significant reductions in serious traffic crashes. A 2012 report by the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) found that improvements completed recently by the Texas Department of Transportation that widened lanes, improved shoulders and made other safety improvements on 1,159 miles of rural state roadways resulted in 133 fewer fatalities on these roads in the first three years after the improvements were completed (as compared to the three years prior).   TTI estimates that the improvements on these roads are likely to save 880 lives over the next 20 years.

The efficiency of Maryland’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the state’s economy. Businesses are increasingly reliant on an efficient and reliable transportation system to move products and services. A key component in business efficiency and success is the level and ease of access to customers, markets, materials and workers.

  • Annually, $445 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in Maryland, with 75 percent of the freight tonnage being shipped by trucks.
  • Businesses have responded to improved communications and greater competition by moving from a push-style distribution system, which relies on low-cost movement of bulk commodities and large-scale warehousing, to a pull-style distribution system, which relies on smaller, more strategic and time-sensitive movement of goods.
  • 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 2013 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.

According to a 2012 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 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 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 complementary 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.

The recently approved five-year federal surface transportation program includes modest funding increases and provides states with greater funding certainty, but falls far short of providing the level of funding needed to meet the nation’s highway and transit needs. The bill does not include a long-term and sustainable revenue source.

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

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

Access Roads: the Key to Protecting Assets

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