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TRIP Reports: South Dakota’s Transportation System Faces Numerous Challenges Including Deteriorated Roads And Bridges, High Rates Of Rural Fatalities, Increasingly Crowded Roads, And A Lack Of Adequate Funding, Which Could Stifle Economic Development Opportunities And Lead To Increasing Deterioration

South Dakota’s transportation system faces mounting challenges in the form of deteriorated roads and bridges, high rates of rural traffic fatalities, increasingly crowded roads, stifled economic development, and TRIPinsufficient funding.  Increased investment in transportation improvements at the local, state and federal levels could improve road and bridge conditions, boost safety, increase roadway efficiency and support long-term economic growth in South Dakota, according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation organization.

The TRIP report, South Dakota’s Top Transportation Challenges: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe and Efficient Mobility,” finds that pavement conditions on state-maintained roads are projected to deteriorate significantly over the next decade. The report also finds that approximately one quarter of South Dakota’s locally and state-maintained bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, the state’s major urban roads are becoming increasingly congested and the fatality rate on South Dakota’s roads is significantly higher than the national average.

Currently, two percent of state-maintained roads and highways in South Dakota are in poor condition, while nine percent are in fair condition and 89 percent are in good or excellent condition. However, by 2024, under current funding levels, the share of state-maintained roads in poor condition is projected to rise to 25 percent. Thirty-nine percent of county-maintained roads in South Dakota are in failing or in poor condition, while 28 percent of township-maintained roads are either closed or in poor condition. To maintain pavement conditions at their current level, South Dakota municipal and township governments would have to increase their annual road and highway investment by 46 percent. Making significant improvements in road and bridge conditions would require a doubling of current investment. Driving on rough roads costs all South Dakota motorists a total of $206 million each year in the form of extra vehicle operating costs. These costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.

“Roads, bridges and highways are essential for business to operate and are a basic function of government,” said Evan Nolte, president and CEO of the Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce. “This report brings a sharp focus on the needs and will be invaluable in helping seek policies that will keep South Dakota’s infrastructure strong.”

South Dakota’s bridges are also increasingly deteriorated. Twenty percent of South Dakota’s bridges are structurally deficient, the fourth highest share in the nation. Structurally deficient bridges have significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components. These bridges are often posted for lower weights or closed to traffic restricting or redirecting large vehicles, including commercial trucks and emergency response vehicles. An additional four percent of South Dakota’s locally and state-maintained bridges are functionally obsolete. Bridges that are functionally obsolete no longer meet current design standards, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment. At the current rate of transportation funding, it will take 40 years to replace the state’s county bridges that are currently in need of replacement.

Traffic crashes in South Dakota claimed the lives of 650 people between 2009 and 2013, an average of 130 fatalities each year. The state’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.48 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel is significantly higher than the national average of 1.09. South Dakota’s rural non-Interstate roads have significantly higher rates of fatal crashes, with a traffic fatality rate of 2.19 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel, more than two-and-a-half times the 0.80 fatality rate on all other roads and highways in the state.  Each year, South Dakota motorists lose $164 million in the form of financial costs due to traffic crashes, including insurance costs and lost household productivity.

The efficiency and condition of South Dakota’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy. Annually, $27 billion in goods are shipped from sites in South Dakota and another $28 billion in goods are shipped to sites in South Dakota, mostly by truck.

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.

 “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. “Congress can help by approving a long-term federal surface transportation program that provides adequate funding levels, based on a reliable funding source. If not, South Dakota is going to see its future federal funding threatened, resulting in fewer road and bridge improvements, loss of jobs, and a burden on the state’s economy.”

SOUTH DAKOTA’S TOP TRANSPORTATION CHALLENGES:

Meeting the State’s Need for Safe and Efficient Mobility

Executive Summary

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

                  However, the state faces numerous challenges in providing a transportation system that is safe, well-maintained, efficient and adequately funded. As South Dakota works to retain its quality of life, maintain its level of economic competitiveness and achieve further economic growth, the state will need to preserve, maintain and modernize its roads, highways and bridges by improving the physical condition of its transportation network and enhancing the system’s ability to provide efficient and reliable mobility for motorists and businesses.  Making needed improvements to South Dakota’s roads, highways and bridges could also provide a significant boost to the state’s economy by creating jobs in the short term and stimulating long term economic growth as a result of enhanced mobility and access.

South Dakota must improve its system of roads, highways and bridges to foster economic growth and keep businesses in the state. In addition to economic growth, transportation improvements are needed to ensure safe, reliable mobility and quality of life for all residents.  Meeting South Dakota’s need to modernize and maintain its system of roads, highways and bridges will require significant local, state and federal funding.               

The federal government is a critical source of funding for South Dakota’s surface transportation system.  In July, Congress approved an eight-month extension of the federal surface transportation program, MAP-21 (Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act), which provides states with road, highway, bridge and transit funding through May 31, 2015.

TRANSPORTATION CHALLENGE: Deteriorated Pavement Conditions

While state-maintained roads and highways are currently in good condition, at current funding levels they will deteriorate significantly over the next decade, falling into a state of disrepair similar to locally maintained roads and highways in the state.

·      State-maintained roads and highways in South Dakota account for 9.5 percent of total mileage, but carry 67 percent of vehicle miles of travel and 81 percent of travel by large trucks.

·      Two percent of state-maintained roads and highways have pavements in poor condition, nine percent are in fair condition and 89 percent are in good or excellent condition.

·      In 2024, under current funding levels, 25 percent of state-maintained roads and highways will have pavements in poor condition, 27 percent will be in fair condition and 48 percent will be in good or excellent condition.

·      Thirty-nine percent of county-maintained roads in South Dakota are in failing or poor condition, 32 percent are in fair condition and 30 percent are in good and excellent condition.

·      Twenty-eight percent of township-maintained roads in South Dakota are either closed or in poor condition, 25 percent are in fair condition and 47 percent are in good or excellent condition.   

  • Roads rated in poor condition may show signs of deterioration, including rutting, cracks and potholes.  In some cases, poor roads can be resurfaced, but often are too deteriorated and must be reconstructed.
  •  Driving on rough roads costs all South Dakota motorists a total of $206 million annually in extra vehicle operating costs (VOC). Costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.

TRANSPORTATION CHALLENGE: Large Share of Deficient Bridges

Approximately a quarter of locally and state-maintained bridges (20 feet or longer) in South Dakota show significant deterioration or do not meet current design standards often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment.

·      Twenty percent of South Dakota’s bridges are structurally deficient, the fourth 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.

·      Twenty-eight percent of bridges in South Dakota (20 feet or longer) are state-maintained and 72 percent are maintained by local governments.

     A significantly greater share of locally-maintained bridges — 28 percent — are structurally deficient than are state-maintained bridges – five percent.

     The current backlog to replace the 1,045 county-maintained bridges in need of replacement is $240 million.

  •      Four percent of South Dakota’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.

TRANSPORTATION CHALLENGE: High Traffic Fatality Rates

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

  • Between 2009 and 2013 a total of 650 people were killed in traffic crashes in South Dakota, an average of 130 fatalities per year.
  • South Dakota’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.48 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2013 is significantly higher than the national traffic fatality rate of 1.09. 
  •  The fatality rate on South Dakota’s rural non-Interstate roads was 2.19 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2013, more than two-and-a-half times higher than the 0.80 fatality rate on all other roads and highways in the state. 

·      The annual cost of serious traffic crashes in South Dakota, in which roadway features were likely a contributing factor is approximately $164 million.  These costs include medical costs, lost economic and household productivity, property damage and travel delays.

·      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.

TRANSPORTATION CHALLENGE: State’s Economic Growth Threatened by Deteriorated Roads, Lack of Adequate Highways

The efficiency of South Dakota’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy.  Increased deterioration of South Dakota’s roads and bridges and the lack of needed transportation improvements to serve economic development threaten the state’s economic vitality.  New research indicates that the cost of making needed road, highway, and bridge improvements is far less than the potential loss in state economic activity caused by a lack of adequate road, highway and bridge preservation.

·      South Dakota’s key economic sectors — agriculture, manufacturing, tourism, mining, finances and health care — are highly reliant on an efficient and well-maintained transportation system.

·      South Dakota’s population reached approximately 845,000 in 2013, a 21 percent increase since 1990. South Dakota had 606,779 licensed drivers in 2012.

·      Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in South Dakota increased by 31 percent from 1990 to 2013 – from 7 billion VMT in 1990 to 9.1 billion VMT in 2013. By 2030, vehicle travel in South Dakota is projected to increase by another 20 percent.

·      From 1990 to 2013, South Dakota’s gross domestic product, a measure of the state’s economic output, increased by 104 percent, when adjusted for inflation, far above the national average of 65 percent.

·      Annually, $27 billion in goods are shipped from sites in South Dakota and another $28 billion in goods are shipped to sites in South Dakota, mostly by truck. Seventy-seven percent of the goods shipped annually from sites in South Dakota are carried by trucks and another fifteen 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 2013 survey of corporate executives by Area Development Magazine.

TRANSPORTATION CHALLENGE: Deteriorated roads and bridges hamper economic growth

A 2014 report by the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) concluded that allowing its state’s major roads, highways and bridges to deteriorate would result in significant reduction in job growth and reduced state gross domestic product (GDP) as a result of reduced economic efficiency.

·      The ODOT report used a sophisticated model that integrates transportation, land use and economic activity to compare how an economy operates when a transportation system is well-maintained versus when it is allowed to deteriorate.  The report found that deteriorated pavements, which result in a rougher and slower ride for vehicles, and deteriorated bridges, which need to be closed to heavy trucks, reduce economic productivity by increasing transportation costs.

·      The report found that allowing roads and bridges to deteriorate reduces business productivity by increasing vehicle operating costs as a result of driving on rough roads, reducing travel speeds and increasing travel times because of route detours necessitated by weight-restricted bridges. 

·      As road and bridge conditions deteriorate, transportation agencies are likely to shift resources from preservation projects, which extend the service life of roads and bridges, to more reactive maintenance projects, which results in higher lifecycle costs, the report found.  Transportation agencies are also likely to respond to increased road and bridge deterioration by shifting funds from modernization projects, which relieve congestion and increase business productivity, to maintenance projects.

·      The ODOT report estimated that the road, highway and bridge deterioration anticipated over the next 20 years will result in Oregon creating 100,000 fewer jobs and generating $9.4 billion less in state GDP.

·      Oregon could avoid losing 100,000 jobs and $9.4 billion in GDP through 2035 by spending an additional $810 million more on road, highway and bridge repairs – nearly a 12-to-1 return on investment, according to the ODOT report.

TRANSPORTATION CHALLENGE: Inadequate Transportation Funding

Without a significant boost in transportation funding at the local, state and federal level, the condition and efficiency of South Dakota’s surface transportation system will decline.

·      Forty-one percent of revenue used for road, highway and bridge repairs in South Dakota comes from the federal government, 45 percent from state government and 14 percent from local governments.   

·      To maintain pavement conditions at their current level, South Dakota municipal and township governments would have to increase their annual road and highways investment by 46 percent, from $27 million to $39.5 million.  Making significant improvements in road and bridge conditions would require that the state’s municipal and township governments more than double their annual investment to $57.5 million for a 10-year period. 

·      Fifty-seven out of 57 counties who responded to a 2014 survey by the South Dakota Association of County Commissioners (SDACC) said that they faced a lack of adequate funding to maintain their roads, highways and bridges.

·      County governments responded in a 2014 SDACC poll that their primary concerns were that their road system is deteriorating faster than their budgets can cover rehabilitation and that most asphalt surfaces on their roads were at the end of their life-cycles.

·      The South Dakota Department of Transportation (SDDOT) local bridge program provides approximately $6 million annually to local governments, which is enough to replace approximately 26 bridges annually.  At this rate, it will take 40 years to replace the county bridges in South Dakota that are currently in need of replacement.

·      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.

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

·      In July 2014, Congress approved the Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2014, an eight-month extension of the federal surface transportation program, on which states rely for road, highway, bridge and transit funding. The program, initially set to expire on September 30, 2014, will now run through May 31, 2015. In addition to extending the current authorization of the highway and public transportation programs, the legislation will transfer nearly $11 billion into the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) to preserve existing levels of highway and public transportation investment through the end of May 2015. 

·      If Congress decides to provide additional revenues into the federal Highway Trust Fund in tandem with authorizing a new federal surface transportation program, a number of technically feasible revenue options have been identified by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO).

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

·      The 2015 AASHTO Transportation Bottom Line Report also found that the current backlog in needed road, highway and bridge improvements is $740 billion.

Sources of information for this report include the South Dakota 2014 Highway Needs and Financing Interim Committee, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the U.S. Census Bureau, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI), the South Dakota Department of Transportation (SDDOT), the South Dakota Association of County Commissioners, the South Dakota Association of Towns and Townships and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). All data used in the report is the latest available.  

TRIP Report: Iowa’s Transportation System Faces Numerous Challenges Including Deteriorated Roads And Bridges, High Rates Of Rural Fatalities, Increasingly Crowded Roads, And A Lack Of Adequate Funding, Which Could Stifle Economic Development Opportunities. Driving On Deficient Roads Costs Iowa’s Drivers Approximately $2 Billion Each Year.

TRIP Report: Iowa’s Transportation System Faces Numerous Challenges Including Deteriorated Roads And Bridges, High Rates Of Rural Fatalities, Increasingly Crowded Roads, And A Lack Of Adequate Funding, Which Could Stifle Economic Development Opportunities. Driving On Deficient Roads Costs Iowa’s Drivers Approximately $2 Billion Each Year.

 Iowa’s system of roads and bridges faces mounting challenges in the form of deteriorated roads and bridges, high rates of rural traffic fatalities, increasingly crowded roads, stifled economic development, and insufficient funding. Increased investment in transportation improvements at the local, state and federal levels could improve road and bridge conditions, boost safety, increase roadway efficiency and support long-term economic growth in Iowa, according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation organization.

The TRIP report, Iowa’s Top Transportation Challenges: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe and Efficient Mobility,” finds that throughout Iowa, more than a quarter of major locally and state-maintained urban roads and highways are in poor condition. More than a quarter of Iowa’s bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. The state’s major urban roads are becoming increasingly congested, with drivers wasting significant amounts of time and fuel each year. And, the fatality rate on Iowa’s rural non-Interstate roads is more than three times the fatality rate on all other roads in the state.

According to TRIP calculations, driving on deficient roads cost Iowa’s drivers approximately $2 billion annually in the form of additional vehicle operating costs including accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear ($935 million); the cost of lost time and wasted fuel due to traffic congestion ($380 million); and the financial cost of traffic crashes ($654 million).

Without a significant boost in transportation funding at the local, state and federal levels, the condition, efficiency and safety of Iowa’s surface transportation system will decline. The Iowa Department of Transportation estimates the state faces an annual transportation funding shortfall of $215 million in order to meet the state’s most critical public roadway needs.

Twenty-seven percent of Iowa’s major urban roads and highways have pavements in poor condition, while an additional 50 percent of the state’s major urban roads are rated in mediocre or fair condition and the remaining 23 percent are rated in in good condition. Thirteen percent of Iowa’s rural roads are in poor condition, while 45 percent of rural roads are in mediocre or fair condition and 42 percent are in good condition. Driving on rough roads costs all Iowa motorists a total of $935 million each year in the form of extra vehicle operating costs. These costs include accelerate vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.

“A sound road system is arguably the most significant economic development initiative the state can provide its citizens,” said Sharon Presnall, senior vice president of the Iowa Bankers Association. “It is the backbone of a sound economy, connecting Iowa with regional, national and international markets.”

Iowa’s bridges are also increasingly deteriorated. Twenty-one percent of Iowa’s bridges are structurally deficient, meaning they have significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components. These bridges are often posted for lower weights or closed to traffic restricting or redirecting large vehicles, including commercial trucks and emergency response vehicles. An additional five percent of Iowa’s bridges are functionally obsolete. Bridges that are functionally obsolete no longer meet current design standards, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment.

“It’s time to fix our roads, because this has been put off far too long,” said Iowa Farm Bureau President Craig Hill. “A safe and efficient transportation system is vital for Iowans, whether it’s rural buses taking our kids to school or moving commerce.”

Traffic crashes in Iowa claimed the lives of 1,803 people between 2009 and 2013, an average of 361 fatalities each year. Iowa’s rural non-Interstate roads are particularly deadly, with a traffic fatality rate of 1.66 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel, more than three times the 0.50 fatality rate on all other roads and highways in the state. Each year, Iowa motorists lose $654 million in the form of financial costs due to traffic crashes, including insurance costs and lost household productivity.

Increasing levels of traffic congestion are causing significant delays in Iowa, particularly in its larger urban areas, choking commuting and commerce. Traffic congestion costs Iowa’s motorist $380 million annually in the form of lost time and wasted fuel as a result of traffic congestion.

The efficiency and condition of Iowa’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy. According to a survey of industry executives in the state, Iowa’s growing need for highway improvements was rated as one of the state’s most serious economic development weaknesses, just behind the availability of a skilled workforce. Annually, $157 billion in goods are shipped from sites in Iowa and another $142 billion in goods are shipped to sites in Iowa, mostly by truck.

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.

“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. “Congress can help by approving a long-term federal surface transportation program that provides adequate funding levels, based on a reliable funding source. If not, Iowa is going to see its future federal funding threatened, resulting in fewer road and bridge improvements, loss of jobs, and a burden on the state’s economy.”

IOWA’S TOP TRANSPORTATION CHALLENGES:

Meeting the State’s Need for Safe and Efficient Mobility

Executive Summary

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

However, the state faces numerous challenges in providing a transportation system that is safe, well-maintained, efficient and adequately funded. As Iowa works to retain its businesses, maintain its level of economic competitiveness and achieve further economic growth, the state will need to maintain and modernize its roads, highways and bridges by improving the physical condition of its transportation network and enhancing the system’s ability to provide efficient and reliable mobility for motorists and businesses. Making needed improvements to Iowa’s roads, highways and bridges could also provide a significant boost to the state’s economy by creating jobs in the short term and stimulating long term economic growth as a result of enhanced mobility and access.

Iowa must improve its system of roads, highways and bridges to foster economic growth and keep businesses in the state. In addition to economic growth, transportation improvements are needed to ensure safe, reliable mobility and quality of life for all residents. Meeting Iowa’s need to modernize and maintain its system of roads, highways and bridges will require a significant boost in local, state and federal funding.

TRANSPORTATION CHALLENGE: Deteriorated Pavement Conditions

A lack of adequate state and local funding has resulted in increasingly deteriorated pavement conditions, providing a rough ride and costing motorist in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC).

  • Twenty-seven percent of Iowa’s major urban roads and highways have pavements in poor condition, while an additional 50 percent of the state’s major urban roads are rated in mediocre or fair condition and the remaining 23 percent are rated in in good condition.
  • Thirteen percent of Iowa’s rural roads and highways have pavements in poor condition, while an additional 45 percent of the state’s rural roads are rated in mediocre or fair condition and the remaining 42 percent are rated in in good condition.
  • Roads rated in poor condition may show signs of deterioration, including rutting, cracks and potholes. In some cases, poor roads can be resurfaced, but often are too deteriorated and must be reconstructed.
  • Driving on rough roads costs all Iowa motorists a total of $935 million annually in extra VOC. Costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.

TRANSPORTATION CHALLENGE: Large Share of Deficient Bridges

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

  • Twenty-one percent of Iowa’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.
  • There are a total of 5,022 structurally deficient bridges in Iowa, the second highest number of structurally deficient bridges in the nation, behind only Pennsylvania.
  • Five percent of Iowa’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.
  • In the Des Moines area, 11 percent of bridges are structurally deficient and 13 percent are functionally obsolete.

TRANSPORTATION CHALLENGE: High Rural Traffic Fatality Rates

Improving safety features on Iowa’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.

  • Between 2009 and 2013 a total of 1,803 people were killed in traffic crashes in Iowa, an average of 361 fatalities per year
  • The fatality rate on Iowa’s rural non-Interstate roads was 1.66 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2013, more than three times the 0.50 fatality rate on all other roads and highways in the state.
  • Each year, Iowa motorists lose $654 million in the form of the financial cost of traffic crashes, including insurance costs and lost household productivity.
  • 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.

TRANSPORTATION CHALLENGE: Economic Growth Threatened by Increasingly Crowded Roads

The efficiency of Iowa’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy. Increasing levels of traffic congestion cause significant delays in Iowa, particularly in its larger urban areas, choking commuting and commerce.

  • According to a recently completed study conducted by the Battelle Technology Partnership Practice on behalf of the Iowa Economic Development Authority, “Despite Iowa’s well‐developed freight transportation system, the Synchronist survey of industry executives reveals frequent concern about need for highway improvements. It was rated as one of the most serious economic development weaknesses found in Iowa, just behind the availability of skilled workforce.”
  • Iowa’s population reached approximately 3.1 million residents in 2013, an 11 percent increase since 1990. Iowa has approximately 2.2 million licensed drivers.
  • Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in Iowa increased by 38 percent from 1990 to 2013 – from 23 billion VMT in 1990 to 31.6 billion VMT in 2013. By 2030, vehicle travel in Iowa is projected to increase by another 20 percent.
  • From 1990 to 2013, Iowa’s gross domestic product, a measure of the state’s economic output, increased by 65 percent, when adjusted for inflation.
  • Increasing levels of congestion add significant costs to consumers, transportation companies, manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers and can reduce the attractiveness of a location to a company to consider expansion or even to locate a new facility. Congestion costs can also increase overall operating costs for trucking and shipping companies, leading to revenue losses, lower pay for drivers and employees, and higher consumer costs. 
  • Traffic congestion costs Iowa’s motorist $380 million annually in the form of lost time and wasted fuel as a result of traffic congestion.
  • Annually, $157 billion in goods are shipped from sites in Iowa and another $142 billion in goods are shipped to sites in Iowa, mostly by truck. Eighty-one percent of the goods shipped annually from sites in Iowa are carried by trucks and another nine percent are carried by courier services or multiple mode deliveries, which include trucking.
  • 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.

 

TRANSPORTATION CHALLENGE: Inadequate Transportation Funding

Without a significant boost in transportation funding at the local, state and federal level, the condition, efficiency and safety of Iowa’s surface transportation system will decline.

  • The Iowa Department of Transportation estimates the state faces an annual transportation funding shortfall of $215 million in order to meet the state’s most critical public roadway needs.
  • The declining condition of Iowa’s highways and reduced availability of highway improvement funding through the existing gas tax is now among the top concerns of industry executives across the state.
  • Driving on deficient roads cost Iowa’s drivers approximately $2 billion annually in the form of additional vehicle operating costs including accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear ($935 million); the cost of lost time and wasted fuel due to traffic congestion ($380 million); and the financial cost of traffic crashes ($654 million).
  • 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
  • A significant boost in investment on the nation’s roads, highways, bridges and public transit systems is needed to improve their condition and to meet the nation’s transportation needs, concluded a new report from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.
  • The 2015 AASHTO Transportation Bottom Line Report found that annual investment in the nation’s roads, highways and bridges needs to increase from $88 billion to $120 billion and from $17 billion to $43 billion in the nation’s public transit systems, to improve conditions and meet the nation’s mobility needs.

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

TRIP Reports: Deficient, Congested Roadways Cost Each Georgia Driver As Much As $1,900 Annually, A Total Of $7.9 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 Georgia motorists a total of $7.9 billion statewide annually – as much as $1,900 per driver in some 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 and bridge conditions, boost safety, and support long-term economic growth in Georgia, according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation organization.

The TRIP report, Georgia Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe and Efficient Mobility,” finds that throughout Georgia, 10 percent of major locally and state-maintained urban roads and highways are in poor condition. Sixteen percent of Georgia’s bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. The state’s major urban roads are becoming increasingly congested, with drivers wasting significant amounts of time and fuel each year. And, more than 6,000 people were killed in crashes on the state’s roads in the last five years.

Driving on deficient roads costs each Georgia driver as much as $1,925 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 cost of traffic crashes in which roadway features likely were a contributing factor. The TRIP report calculated the cost to motorists of insufficient roads in Georgia’s largest urban areas: Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon and Savannah. A breakdown of the costs per motorist in each area along with a statewide total is below.

TRIP GA 1The TRIP report finds that ten percent of major urban roads in the state are in poor condition, while 39 percent are in mediocre or fair condition and the remaining 51 percent are in good condition. Driving on deteriorated roads costs Georgia motorist a total of $1.7 billion each year in extra vehicle operating costs, including accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.

Traffic congestion in the state is worsening, costing the state’s drivers a total of $3.8 billion annually in the form of lost time and wasted fuel.

“Motorists expect and deserve safe, well maintained roads and bridges no matter if they are traveling on the Interstates or rural roads,” said Garrett Townsend, public affairs director for AAA- The Auto Club Group. “Legislators must act to provide a sustainable solution to ensure that Georgia can continue to make necessary infrastructure investments that will benefit all travelers.”

A total of 16 percent of Georgia’s bridges show significant deterioration or do not meet modern design standards. Five percent of Georgia’s bridges are structurally deficient, with significant deterioration to the bridge deck, supports or other major components. An additional 11 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.

Georgia’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.08 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel is slightly lower than the national average of 1.09. Traffic crashes in Georgia claimed the lives of 6,122 people between 2009 and 2013.

The efficiency and condition of Georgia’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy. Annually, $378 billion in goods are shipped from sites in Georgia and another $413 billion in goods are shipped to sites in Georgia, mostly by truck.

The Federal surface transportation program is a critical source of funding in Georgia. From 2008 to 2012, the federal government provided $1.23 for road improvements in Georgia for every dollar the state paid in federal motor fuel fees. In July 2014 Congress approved an eight-month extension of the federal surface transportation program, which will now run through May 31, 2015. The legislation will also transfer nearly $11 billion into the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) to preserve existing levels of highway and public transportation investment through the end of May 2015.

“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. “Congress can help by approving a long-term federal surface transportation program that provides adequate funding levels, based on a reliable funding source. If not, Georgia is going to see its future federal funding threatened, resulting in fewer road and bridge improvements, loss of jobs, and a burden on the state’s economy.”

$7.9 Billion – Statewide

$742 – Athens

$1,925 – Atlanta

$1,259 – Augusta

$1,199 – Columbus

$957 – Gainesville

$1,394 – Macon

$1,800 – Savannah

Driving on deficient roads costs Georgia residents $7.9 billion annually statewide. These costs include additional vehicle operating costs (VOC), congestion-related delays and traffic crashes. TRIP has calculated the cost of driving on deficient roads to the average driver in the state’s largest urban areas: Athens: $742; Atlanta: $1,925; Augusta: $1,259; Columbus: $1,199; Gainesville: $957; Macon: $1,394; Savannah: $1,800.
 

$3.8 billion

Georgia’s drivers lose $3.8 billion each year in the form of lost time and wasted fuel as a result of traffic congestion.
1,224

6,122

On average, 1,224 people were killed annually in Georgia traffic crashes from 2009 to 2013, a total of 6,122 fatalities over the five year period.
 

3.5 X higher

The fatality rate on Georgia’s non-interstate rural roads is nearly three-and-a-half greater than on all other roads in the state (2.55 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs. 0.77).
10% Ten percent of Georgia’s major urban roads are in poor condition.
5% – Athens

23% – Atlanta

19% – Augusta

9% – Columbus

5% – Gainesville

8% – Macon

36% – Savannah

TRIP has calculated the percentage of major roads in poor condition in each of the state’s largest urban areas: Athens: five percent; Atlanta: 23 percent; Augusta: 19 percent; Columbus: nine percent; Gainesville: five percent; Macon: eight percent; Savannah: 36 percent.
 

16 %

A total of 16 percent of Georgia bridges are in need of repair, improvement or replacement. Five percent of the state’s bridges are structurally deficient and 11 percent are functionally obsolete
6,581,534 Georgia had 6,581,534 licensed drivers in 2012.
 

$1.23 return on $1.00

 

From 2008 to 2012, the federal government provided $1.23 for road improvements in Georgia for every dollar paid in federal motor fuel fees.
 

 

$1.00 = $5.20

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

 

Executive Summary

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

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

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

Congress will need to pass new legislation prior to the May 31 extension expiration to ensure prompt federal reimbursements to states for road, highway, bridge and transit repairs and improvements.

TRIP GA 2An inadequate transportation system costs Georgia residents a total of $7.9 billion every year in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC), congestion-related delays and traffic crashes.

  • TRIP estimates that Georgia roadways that lack some desirable safety features, have inadequate capacity to meet travel demands or have poor pavement conditions cost the state’s residents approximately $7.9 billion annually in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (including accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear), the cost of lost time and wasted fuel due to traffic congestion, and the financial cost of traffic crashes.
  • TRIP has calculated the average annual cost to drivers in Georgia’s largest urban areas as a result of driving on roads that have deterioration, are congested or lack some desirable safety features. Cost breakdowns for each urban area are detailed below.

TRIP GA 3Population and economic growth in Georgia have resulted in increased demands on the state’s major roads and highways, leading to increased wear and tear on the transportation system.

  • Georgia’s population reached approximately 10 million in 2013, a 53 percent increase since 1990. Georgia had 6,581,534 licensed drivers in 2012.
  • Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in Georgia increased by 50 percent from 1990 to 2013 – jumping from 72.7 billion VMT in 1990 to 109.4 billion VMT in 2013.
  • By 2030, vehicle travel in Georgia is projected to increase by another 20 percent.
  • From 1990 to 2013, Georgia’s gross domestic product, a measure of the state’s economic output, increased by 83 percent, when adjusted for inflation.

Deteriorated pavement conditions provide a rough ride and cost motorist in the form of additional vehicle operating costs.

  • Ten percent of Georgia’s major locally and state-maintained urban roads and highways have pavements in poor condition, while an additional 39 percent of the state’s major urban roads are rated in mediocre or fair condition.       Fifty-one percent are rated in in good condition.
  • The following chart details the percentage of roads in poor, mediocre, fair and good condition in each of Georgia’s largest urban ar
  • Roads rated in poor condition may show signs of deterioration, including rutting, cracks and potholes. In some cases, poor roads can be resurfaced, but often are too deteriorated and must be reconstructed.

TRIP GA 4Driving on rough roads costs Georgia motorists a total of $1.7 billion annually in extra vehicle operating costs. Costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.

Sixteen percent of locally and state-maintained bridges in Georgia 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.

  • Five percent of Georgia’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.
  • Eleven percent of Georgia’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 following chart details the percentage of bridges in each of the state’s largest urban areas that are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.

TRIP GA 5Improving safety features on Georgia’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.

  • Between 2009 and 2013 a total of 6,122 people were killed in traffic crashes in Georgia, an average of 1,224 fatalities per year.
  • Georgia’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.08 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2013 is slightly lower than national traffic fatality rate of 1.09.
  • The fatality rate on Georgia’s rural non-Interstate roads was 2.55 fatalities per 100 vehicle miles of travel in 2013, nearly three-and-a-half times the 0.77 fatality rate on all other roads and highways in the state.
  • The chart below details the average number of fatalities in Georgia’s largest urban area from 2010 to 2013, as well as the annual financial cost of traffic crashes for the average driver in each urban area.
  • Roadway features that impact safety include the number of lanes, lane widths, lighting, lane markings, rumble strips, shoulders, guard rails, other shielding devices, median barriers and intersection design. The cost of serious crashes includes lost productivity, lost earnings, medical costs and emergency services.
  • Several factors are associated with vehicle crashes that result in fatalities, including driver behavior, vehicle characteristics and roadway features. TRIP estimates that roadway features are likely a contributing factor in approximately one-third of fatal traffic crashes.
  • Where appropriate, highway improvements can reduce traffic fatalities and crashes while improving traffic flow to help relieve congestion. Such improvements include removing or shielding obstacles; adding or improving medians; improved lighting; adding rumble strips, wider lanes, wider and paved shoulders; upgrading roads from two lanes to four lanes; and better road markings and traffic signals.
  • Investments in rural traffic safety have been found to result in significant reductions in serious traffic crashes. A 2012 report by the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) found that improvements completed recently by the Texas Department of Transportation that widened lanes, improved shoulders and made other safety improvements on 1,159 miles of rural state roadways resulted in 133 fewer fatalities on these roads in the first three years after the improvements were completed (as compared to the three years prior).   TTI estimates that the improvements on these roads are likely to save 880 lives over the next 20 years.

 

Increasing levels of traffic congestion cause significant delays in Georgia, particularly in its larger urban areas, choking commuting and commerce. Traffic congestion robs commuters of time and money and imposes increased costs on businesses, shippers and manufacturers, which are often passed along to the consumer.

 

  • The table below details the average annual number of hours lost due to congestion for motorists in each of the state’s largest urban areas, as well as average annual cost per motorist of lost time and wasted fuel as a result of congestion:
  • TRIP GA 7The increasing levels of congestion add significant costs to consumers, transportation companies, manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers. Increased levels of congestion can reduce the attractiveness of a location to a company considering expansion or location of a new facility. Congestion costs can also increase overall operating costs for trucking and shipping companies, leading to revenue losses, lower pay for employees, and higher consumer costs.

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

  • Annually, $378 billion in goods are shipped from sites in Georgia and another $413 billion in goods are shipped to sites in Georgia, mostly by truck.
  • Eighty-four percent of the goods shipped annually from sites in Georgia are carried by trucks and another ten percent are carried by courier services or multiple mode deliveries, which include trucking.
  • 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.

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

  • From 2008 to 2012, the federal government provided $1.23 for road improvements in Georgia for every dollar the state paid in federal motor fuel fees.
  • A significant boost in investment on the nation’s roads, highways, bridges and public transit systems is needed to improve their condition and to meet the nation’s transportation needs, concluded a new report from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.
  • The 2015 AASHTO Transportation Bottom Line Report found that annual investment in the nation’s roads, highways and bridges needs to increase from $88 billion to $120 billion and from $17 billion to $43 billion in the nation’s public transit systems, to improve conditions and meet the nation’s mobility needs.

 

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

TRIP Reports: Deficient Roadways Cost Each New Jersey Driver Nearly $2,000 Annually, A Total Of $11.8 Billion Statewide. Costs Will Rise And Transportation Woes Will Worsen Without Significant Funding Boost

TRIPRoads and bridges that are deficient, congested or lack desirable safety features cost New Jersey motorists a total of $11.8 billion statewide annually – nearly $2,000 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 and bridge 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 and Efficient Mobility,” finds that throughout New Jersey, more than one-third of major roads and highways 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 wasting significant amounts of time and fuel each year. And New Jersey’s rural roads have a fatality rate that is more than two-and-a-half times higher than on all other roads.

Driving on deficient roads costs each New Jersey driver $1,951 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 cost 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 Table

The TRIP report finds that a total of 35 percent of major roads in New Jersey are in poor condition, while an additional 41 percent are in mediocre or fair condition and the remaining 24 percent are in good condition. Driving on deteriorated roads costs the average New Jersey motorist an additional $605 each year in extra vehicle operating costs, including accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.

 

A total of 36 percent of New Jersey’s bridges show significant deterioration or do not meet modern design standards. Ten 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 the state is worsening, costing each driver $861 annually in 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 to consider expansion or even to locate a new facility.

Traffic crashes in New Jersey claimed the lives of 2,945 people between 2008 and 2012.New Jersey’s overall traffic fatality rate of 0.79 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel is lower than the national average of 1.13. However, the state’s rural roads have a traffic fatality rate of 1.94 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel – more than two and a half times higher than the fatality rate of 0.74 on all other roads in the state.

“The TRIP report highlights the importance of adequately funding our transportation system in order to reduce the financial burden on motorists, while ensuring that New Jersey businesses have an efficient, reliable system to move people, goods and services,” said Philip Beachem, president of the New Jersey Alliance for Action, a non-partisan, non-profit infrastructure advocacy group.

The efficiency and condition of New Jersey’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy. Annually, $423 billion in goods are shipped from sites in New Jersey and another $350 billion in goods are shipped to sites in New Jersey, mostly by truck.

New Jersey’s efforts to improve its transportation system will be hindered by the state’s need to spend approximately $1.2 billion in 2014 paying off outstanding debt. Over the next decade, a total of approximately $13 billion will be spent on debt service.

The Federal surface transportation program is a critical source of funding in New Jersey. From 2008 to 2012, the federal government provided $1.20 for road improvements in New Jersey for every dollar the state paid in federal motor fuel fees. In July 2014 Congress approved an eight-month extension of the federal surface transportation program, which will now run through May 31, 2015. The legislation will also transfer nearly $11 billion into the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) to preserve existing levels of highway and public transportation investment through the end of May 2015.

“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. “Congress can help by approving a long-term federal surface transportation program that provides adequate funding levels, based on a reliable funding source. If not, New Jersey is going to see its future federal funding threatened, resulting in fewer road and bridge repair projects, loss of jobs, and a burden on the state’s economy.”

NEW JERSEY TRANSPORTATION BY THE NUMBERS:

Meeting the State’s Need for Safe and Efficient Mobility

JANUARY 2015

Ten Key Transportation Numbers in New Jersey

$11.8 Billion$1,951 Driving on deficient roads costs New Jersey motorists a total of $11.8 billion annually in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC), congestion-related delays and traffic crashes. The average New Jersey driver loses $1,951 annually as a result of driving on deficient roads.
5892,945 On average, 589 people were killed annually in New Jersey traffic crashes from 2008 to 2012, a total of 2,945 fatalities over the five year period.
2.5X The fatality rate on New Jersey’s non-interstate rural roads is more than two and a half times that on all other roads in the state (1.94 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs. 0.74).
35 % Thirty-five percent of New Jersey’s major roads are in poor condition providing motorists with a rough ride.
05/31/2015 MAP-21 (Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act), the current federal surface transportation program, which is a critical source of funding for the state’s roads, highways, bridges and public transit systems, expires on May 31, 2015.
36 % A total of one-third of New Jersey bridges are in need of repair, improvement or replacement. Ten percent of the state’s bridges are structurally deficient and 26 percent are functionally obsolete.
$423 billion72 %17 % Annually, $423 billion in goods are shipped from sites in New Jersey. Seventy-two percent of the goods shipped annually from sites in New Jersey are carried by trucks and another 17 percent are carried by multiple mode deliveries, which include trucking.
$1.20 From 2008 to 2012, the federal government provided $1.20 for road improvements in New Jersey for every dollar paid in federal motor fuel fees.
$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.
$1.2 billion$13 billion New Jersey’s efforts to improve its transportation system will be hindered by the state’s need to spend approximately $1.2 billion in 2014 paying off outstanding debt. Over the next decade, a total of approximately $13 billion will be spent on debt service.

Executive Summary

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

As New Jersey looks to retain its businesses, maintain its level of economic competitiveness and achieve further economic growth, the state will need to maintain and modernize its roads, highways and bridges by improving the physical condition of its transportation network and enhancing the system’s ability to provide efficient and reliable mobility for motorists and businesses. Making needed improvements to New Jersey’s roads, highways, bridges and public 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.

With the state’s population and economy continuing to grow, New Jersey must improve its system of roads, highways and bridges to foster economic growth and keep businesses in the state. In addition to economic growth, transportation improvements are needed to ensure safe, reliable mobility and quality of life for all residents. Meeting New Jersey’s need to modernize and maintain its system of roads, highways and bridges will require significant local, state and federal funding.

Congress will need to pass new legislation prior to the May 31 extension expiration to ensure prompt federal reimbursements to states for road, highway, bridge and transit repairs and improvements.

The level of funding and the provisions of the federal surface transportation program have a significant impact on highway and bridge conditions, roadway safety, transit service, quality of life and economic development opportunities in New Jersey.

An inadequate transportation system costs New Jersey residents a total of $11.8 billion every year in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC), congestion-related delays and traffic crashes. The average New Jersey motorist loses $1,951 annually as a result of driving on deficient roads.

  • Driving on rough roads costs all New Jersey motorists a total of $3.7 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 a contributing factor cost New Jersey residents a total of $2.9 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 $5.2 billion each year in the form of lost time and wasted fuel.

NJ Table

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 8.9 million in 2012, a 15 percent increase since 1990. New Jersey had 6,039,623 licensed drivers in 2012.
  • Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in New Jersey increased by 26 percent from 1990 to 2012 – jumping from 59 billion VMT in 1990 to 74.2 billion VMT in 2012.
  • By 2030, vehicle travel in New Jersey is projected to increase by another 15 percent.
  • From 1990 to 2012, New Jersey’s gross domestic product, a measure of the state’s economic output, increased by 35 percent, when adjusted for inflation.

A lack of adequate state and local funding has resulted in 35 percent of major roads and highways in New Jersey having pavement surfaces in poor condition, providing a rough ride and costing motorist in the form of additional vehicle operating costs.

  • Thirty-five percent of New Jersey’s major roads and highways have pavements in poor condition, while an additional 41 percent of the state’s major roads are rated in mediocre or fair condition and the remaining 24 percent are rated in in good condition.
  • Roads rated in poor condition may show signs of deterioration, including rutting, cracks and potholes. In some cases, poor roads can be resurfaced, but often are too deteriorated and must be reconstructed.
  • Driving on rough roads costs all New Jersey motorists a total of $3.7 billion annually in extra vehicle operating costs. Costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.

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.

  • Ten 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 traffic fatality rate on New Jersey’s rural roads is more than two and a half times higher than that on all other roads in the state. 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.

  • Between 2008 and 2012 a total of 2,945 people were killed in traffic crashes in New Jersey, an average of 589 fatalities per year.
  • New Jersey’s overall traffic fatality rate of 0.79 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2012 is lower than the national traffic fatality rate of 1.13.
  • The fatality rate on New Jersey’s rural non-Interstate roads was 1.94 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2012, more than two and a half times the 0.74 fatality rate on all other roads and highways in the state.
  • Roadway features that impact safety include the number of lanes, lane widths, lighting, lane markings, rumble strips, shoulders, guard rails, other shielding devices, median barriers and intersection design. The cost of serious crashes includes lost productivity, lost earnings, medical costs and emergency services.
  • Several factors are associated with vehicle crashes that result in fatalities, including driver behavior, vehicle characteristics and roadway features. TRIP estimates that roadway features are likely a contributing factor in approximately one-third of fatal traffic crashes.
  • Where appropriate, highway improvements can reduce traffic fatalities and crashes while improving traffic flow to help relieve congestion. Such improvements include removing or shielding obstacles; adding or improving medians; improved lighting; adding rumble strips, wider lanes, wider and paved shoulders; upgrading roads from two lanes to four lanes; and better road markings and traffic signals.
  • Traffic crashes in which roadway features were a contributing factor cost New Jersey residents a total of $9 billion each year in the form of lost household and workplace productivity, insurance costs and other financial costs.
  • Investments in rural traffic safety have been found to result in significant reductions in serious traffic crashes. A 2012 report by the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) found that improvements completed recently by the Texas Department of Transportation that widened lanes, improved shoulders and made other safety improvements on 1,159 miles of rural state roadways resulted in 133 fewer fatalities on these roads in the first three years after the improvements were completed (as compared to the three years prior).   TTI estimates that the improvements on these roads are likely to save 880 lives over the next 20 years.

Increasing levels of traffic congestion cause significant delays in 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.

  • TRIP estimates that the average New Jersey motorist loses $861each year in the form of lost time and wasted fuel as a result of traffic congestion. 
  • New Jersey is the second most densely populated state in the nation, leading to increasing congestion on the transportation system.
  • Increasing levels of congestion add significant costs to consumers, transportation companies, manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers and can reduce the attractiveness of a location to a company to consider expansion or even to locate a new facility. Congestion costs can also increase overall operating costs for trucking and shipping companies, leading to revenue losses, lower pay for drivers and employees, and higher consumer costs.

The 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, $423 billion in goods are shipped from sites in New Jersey and another $350 billion in goods are shipped to sites in New Jersey, mostly by truck.
  • Seventy-two percent of the goods shipped annually from sites in New Jersey are carried by trucks and another 17 percent are carried by courier services or multiple mode deliveries, which include trucking.
  • 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 one site selection factor in a 2011 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.

The federal government is a critical source of funding for New Jersey’s roads, highways and bridges and provides a significant return to New Jersey in road and bridge funding based on the revenue generated in the state by the federal motor fuel tax. New Jersey’s efforts to improve its transportation system will be hindered by the state’s need to pay off outstanding debt.

  • A significant boost in investment on the nation’s roads, highways, bridges and public transit systems is needed to improve their condition and to meet the nation’s transportation needs, concluded a new report from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.
  • The 2015 AASHTO Transportation Bottom Line Report found that annual investment in the nation’s roads, highways and bridges needs to increase from $88 billion to $120 billion and from $17 billion to $43 billion in the nation’s public transit systems, to improve conditions and meet the nation’s mobility needs.
  • From 2008 to 2012, the federal government provided $1.20 for road improvements in New Jersey for every dollar the state paid in federal motor fuel fees.
  • New Jersey’s efforts to improve its transportation system will be hindered by the state’s need to spend approximately $1.2 billion annually in paying off outstanding debt. Over the next decade, a total of approximately $13 billion will be spent on debt service.

Sources of information for this report include the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the U.S. Census Bureau, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the ) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

TRIP Reports: Deficient Roadways Cost South Carolina Drivers $3 Billion Annually – As Much As $1,300 Per Motorist.

TRIPDeficient Roadways Cost South Carolina Drivers $3 Billion Annually – As Much As $1,300 Per Motorist. Will Rise And Transportation Woes Will Worsen Without Significant Funding Boost

  Roads and bridges that are deficient, congested or lack desirable safety features cost South Carolina motorists a total of $3 billion statewide annually – as much as $1,300 per driver in some 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 and bridge conditions, boost safety, and support long-term economic growth in South Carolina, according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation organization.

The TRIP report, South Carolina Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe and Efficient Mobility,” finds that throughout South Carolina, 46 percent of major roads and highways (state-maintained Interstate, primary and secondary routes) are in poor condition, a significant increase from 2008 when 32 percent of the state’s major roads were rated in poor condition. One-fifth of South Carolina’s bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. The state’s major urban roads are becoming increasingly congested, with drivers wasting significant amounts of time and fuel each year. And South Carolina is tied with West Virginia for the highest overall traffic fatality rate in the nation.

Driving on deficient roads costs each South Carolina driver as much as $1,250 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 cost of traffic crashes in which roadway features likely were a contributing factor. The TRIP report calculated the cost to motorists of insufficient roads in South Carolina’s largest urban areas: Charleston, Columbia and Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson. A breakdown of the costs per motorist in each area along with a statewide total is below.

South Carolina 1The TRIP report finds that 46 percent of South Carolina’s major roads and highways (state-maintained Interstate, primary and secondary routes) have pavements that were rated in 2014 as being in poor condition, while an additional 38 percent were in fair condition and 16 percent were in good condition. Driving on deteriorated roads costs South Carolina motorists an additional $1.1 billion each year in extra vehicle operating costs, including accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.

Traffic congestion is worsening throughout the state, costing drivers a total of $775 million annually in lost time and wasted fuel.

“The South Carolina Department of Transportation manages the 41,000 miles of state funded roads with the third lowest motor fuel user fee in the nation. With an estimated additional $1.5 billion needed per year for the next 25 years to “get to good”, they are currently having to do the best they can with what they have,” said Eric Dickey, vice president of Davis & Floyd, Inc. and chairman of the South Carolina Alliance to Fix Our Roads (SCFOR).

A total of 21 percent of South Carolina’s bridges show significant deterioration or do not meet modern design standards. Eleven percent of South Carolina’s bridges are structurally deficient, with significant deterioration to the bridge deck, supports or other major components. An additional ten percent of the state’s bridges are functionally obsolete, which means they no longer meet modern design standards, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment.

South Carolina’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.76 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel is the highest in the nation (tied with West Virginia) and significantly higher than the national average of 1.13. Traffic crashes in South Carolina claimed the lives of 4,315 people between 2008 and 2012. The fatality rate on South Carolina’s rural roads was 2.99 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2012, which is 61 percent higher than the national rural road average of 1.86 fatalities per 100 million miles.

The efficiency and condition of South Carolina’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy.

The Federal surface transportation program is a critical source of funding in South Carolina. From 2008 to 2012, the federal government provided $1.12 for road improvements in South Carolina for every dollar the state paid in federal motor fuel fees. In July 2014 Congress approved an eight-month extension of the federal surface transportation program, which will now run through May 31, 2015. The legislation will also transfer nearly $11 billion into the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) to preserve existing levels of highway and public transportation investment through the end of May 2015.

“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. “Congress can help by approving a long-term federal surface transportation program that provides adequate funding levels, based on a reliable funding source. If not, South Carolina is going to see its future federal funding threatened, resulting in fewer road and bridge repair projects, loss of jobs, and a burden on the state’s economy.”

SOUTH CAROLINA TRANSPORTATION BY THE NUMBERS:

 

Meeting the State’s Need for Safe and Efficient Mobility

Ten Key Transportation Numbers in South Carolina

 

$3 Billion

TRIP estimates that South Carolina roadways that lack some desirable safety features, have inadequate capacity to meet travel demands or have poor pavement conditions cost the state’s residents approximately $3 Billion annually in the form of additional vehicle operating costs, lost time and wasted fuel due to traffic congestion and Traffic Crashes.
Charleston – $1,168

Columbia – $1,250

Greenville – $1,248

The annual costs per motorist of driving on roads that are congested, deteriorated and that lack some desirable safety features in South Carolina’s largest urban areas are: Charleston – $1,168; Columbia – $1,250; Greenville (including Spartanburg and Anderson) – $1,248.
Charleston – 37%

Columbia – 36%

Greenville – 48%

In the Charleston area, 37 percent of major urban roads are in poor or mediocre condition, Thirty-six percent of major urban roads in the Columbia area are in poor or mediocre condition and 48 percent of major urban roads in the Greenville metro area (including Spartanburg and Anderson) are in poor or mediocre condition.
863 deaths annually

4,315 deaths 2008 – 2012

From 2008 to 2012, an average of 863 people were killed annually in South Carolina traffic crashes, a total of 4,315 fatalities over the five year period.
 

Tied for 1st

 

The fatality rate on South Carolina’s routes is tied for the highest in the nation.   South Carolina’s rural fatality rate is also 61 percent higher than the national average (2.99 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs. a 1.86 national average).
 

21 %

As of November, 2014, 21 percent of South Carolina bridges are in need of repair, improvement or replacement. Eleven percent of the state’s bridges are structurally deficient and ten percent are functionally obsolete.
 

$1.12 return on $1.00

From 2008 to 2012, the federal government provided $1.12 for road improvements in South Carolina for every one dollar paid in federal motor fuel fees.
 

84 %

Eighty-four percent of goods shipped annually from sites in South Carolina travel by truck.
3,455,931 There are 3,455,931 licensed drivers in South Carolina.
 

46%

32%

Forty-six percent of South Carolina’s major roads and highways (state-maintained Interstate, primary and secondary routes) were rated in poor condition in 2014, a significant increase since 2008 when 32 percent of the state’s major roads and highways were in poor condition.

Executive Summary

 

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

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

South Carolina must improve its system of roads, highways and bridges to foster economic growth and keep businesses in the state. In addition to economic growth, transportation improvements are needed to ensure safe, reliable mobility and quality of life for all South Carolinians. Meeting South Carolina’s need to modernize and maintain its system of roads, highways and bridges will require a significant boost in local, state and federal funding.

Congress will need to pass new legislation prior to the May 31 extension expiration to ensure prompt federal reimbursements to states for road, highway, bridge and transit repairs and improvements.

An inadequate transportation system costs South Carolina residents a total of $3 billion every year in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC), congestion-related delays and traffic crashes.

  • TRIP estimates that South Carolina roadways that lack some desirable safety features, have inadequate capacity to meet travel demands or have poor pavement conditions cost the state’s residents approximately $3 billion annually in the form of additional vehicle operating costs, the cost of lost time and wasted fuel due to traffic congestion and traffic crashes.
  • TRIP has calculated the annual cost to South Carolina residents of driving on roads that are deteriorated, congested and lack some desirable safety features both statewide and in the state’s largest urban area. The following chart shows the cost breakdown for these areas.

South Carolina 2

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

  • South Carolina’s population reached 4.7 million in 2012, a 35 percent increase since 1990. South Carolina had 3,455,931 licensed drivers in 2012.
  • Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in South Carolina increased by 43 percent from 1990 to 2012 – jumping from 34.4 billion VMT in 1990 to 49 billion VMT in 2012.
  • By 2030, vehicle travel in South Carolina is projected to increase by another 25 percent.
  • From 1990 to 2012, South Carolina’s gross domestic product, a measure of the state’s economic output, increased by 53 percent, when adjusted for inflation.

Nearly half of major roads and highways in South Carolina have pavement surfaces in poor condition, providing a rough ride and costing motorists in the form of additional vehicle operating costs. The share of the state’s major roads in poor condition has increased significantly since 2008.

  • Forty-six percent of South Carolina’s major roads and highways (state-maintained Interstate, primary and secondary routes) have pavements that were rated in 2014 as being in poor condition, while an additional 38 percent were in fair condition and 16 percent were in good condition.
  • In 2008, 32 percent of South Carolina’s major roads and highways (state-maintained Interstate, primary and secondary routes) had pavements in poor condition, while an additional 49 percent were in fair condition and 19 percent were in good condition.
  • In the Charleston urban area, 37 percent of major locally and state-maintained roads are rated in poor or mediocre condition. Twenty-three percent of Charleston’s major urban roads are rated in fair condition and 40 percent are rated in good condition.
  • Thirty-six percent of major urban roads in the Columbia urban area are rated in poor or mediocre condition. Twenty-two percent of Columbia’s major urban roads are rated in fair condition and 42 percent are rated in good condition.
  • In the Greenville urban area (which includes Spartanburg and Anderson) 48 percent of major locally and state-maintained roads are rated in poor or mediocre condition.   Nineteen percent of Greenville’s major urban roads are rated in fair condition and 33 percent are rated in good condition.
  • Roads rated in poor condition may show signs of deterioration, including rutting, cracks and potholes. In some cases, poor roads can be resurfaced, but often are too deteriorated and must be reconstructed. Roads rated in mediocre condition may show signs of significant wear and may also have some visible pavement distress. Most pavements in mediocre condition can be repaired by resurfacing, but some may need more extensive reconstruction to return them to good condition.
  • Driving on rough roads costs South Carolina motorists a total of $1.1 billion annually in extra vehicle operating costs. Costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.
  • Driving on rough roads costs the average Charleston motorist $294 annually in extra vehicle operating costs, while the average driver in the Columbia urban area loses $362 each year as a result of driving on deteriorated roads. The average Greenville area motorist spends an extra $405 annually due to driving on rough roads.

As of November 2014, 21 percent of locally and state-maintained bridges in South Carolina 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.

  • Eleven percent of South Carolina’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.
  • Ten percent of South Carolina’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.
  • In the Charleston urban area, 10 percent of bridges are structurally deficient and 29 percent are functionally obsolete. Fourteen percent of bridges in the Columbia area are structurally deficient, while 10 percent are functionally obsolete. In the Greenville area (which includes Spartanburg and Anderson), eight percent of bridges are structurally deficient and 14 percent are functionally obsolete.

Significant levels of traffic congestion cause significant delays in South Carolina, particularly in its larger urban areas, choking commuting and commerce.

  • According to the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI), the average driver in the Charleston urban area loses $647 each year in the cost of lost time and wasted fuel as a result of traffic congestion. The average commuter in the Charleston urban area loses 30 hours each year stuck in traffic.
  • TTI estimates that the average Columbia-area driver loses $663 annually in the cost of lost time and wasted fuel due to congestion. The average Columbia commuter loses 30 hours to traffic congestion every year.
  • According to TTI calculations, the average Greenville-area motorists loses $590 each year in the form of lost time and wasted fuel due to congestion. The average Greenville area driver loses 27 hours annually in traffic congestion.

South Carolina shares the highest overall traffic fatality rate in the nation with West Virginia. South Carolina’s traffic fatality rate on rural routes is the second highest in the nation behind Florida. Improving safety features on South Carolina’s roads and highways would likely result in a decrease in the state’s traffic fatalities and serious crashes. Roadway features are likely a contributing factor in approximately one-third of all fatal and serious traffic crashes.

  • Between 2008 and 2012 a total of 4,315 people were killed in traffic crashes in South Carolina, an average of 863 fatalities per year.
  • South Carolina’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.76 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2012 is the highest rate in the nation (along with West Virginia) and is significantly higher than the national average of 1.13.
  • The fatality rate on South Carolina’s rural roads was 2.99 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2012, which is 61 percent higher than the national rural road average of 1.86 fatalities per 100 million miles.
  • The cost of serious traffic crashes in South Carolina in 2012, in which roadway features were likely a contributing factor, was approximately $1.1 billion.
  • The chart below details the average number of fatalities in each of South Carolina’s largest urban areas from 2010 to 2012 as well as the annual cost of traffic crashes to the average motorist in each area.

Soputh Carollina 3Roadway features that impact safety include the number of lanes, lane widths, lighting, lane markings, rumble strips, shoulders, guard rails, other shielding devices, median barriers and intersection design. The cost of serious crashes includes lost productivity, lost earnings, medical costs and emergency services.

  • Several factors are associated with vehicle crashes that result in fatalities, including driver behavior, vehicle characteristics and roadway features. TRIP estimates that roadway features are likely a contributing factor in approximately one-third of fatal traffic crashes.
  • Where appropriate, highway improvements can reduce traffic fatalities and crashes while improving traffic flow to help relieve congestion. Such improvements include removing or shielding obstacles; adding or improving medians; improved lighting; adding rumble strips, wider lanes, wider and paved shoulders; upgrading roads from two lanes to four lanes; and better road markings and traffic signals.
  • Investments in rural traffic safety have been found to result in significant reductions in serious traffic crashes. A 2012 report by the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) found that improvements completed recently by the Texas Department of Transportation that widened lanes, improved shoulders and made other safety improvements on 1,159 miles of rural state roadways resulted in 133 fewer fatalities on these roads in the first three years after the improvements were completed (as compared to the three years prior).   TTI estimates that the improvements on these roads are likely to save 880 lives over the next 20 years.

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

  • Annually, $156 billion in goods are shipped from sites in South Carolina and another $168 billion in goods are shipped to sites in South Carolina, mostly by truck.
  • Eighty-four percent of the goods shipped annually from sites in South Carolina are carried by trucks and another ten 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 one site selection factor in a 2011 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.

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

Sources of information for this report include the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the U.S. Census Bureau, the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).