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TRIP: U.S. RURAL ROADS & BRIDGES HAVE SIGNIFICANT DEFICIENCIES & HIGH FATALITY RATES; REPAIRS & MODERNIZATION NEEDED TO IMPROVE CONDITIONS, BOOST SAFETY & SUPPORT GROWTH & CONNECTIVITY

America’s rural transportation system is in need of repairs and modernization to support economic growth in the nation’s Heartland, which is a critical source of energy, food, and fiber. With increases in population and growing employment, rural America is heavily reliant on the quality of its transportation system to sustain further growth. This is according to a new report released today by TRIP, a national transportation research nonprofit. The report, Rural Connections: Challenges and Opportunities in America’s Heartland, evaluates the safety and condition of the nation’s rural roads and bridges and finds that the nation’s rural transportation system is in need of immediate improvements to address deficient roads and bridges, high crash rates, and inadequate connectivity and capacity. The chart below shows the states with the highest rate of rural pavements in poor condition, states with the highest share of rural bridges that are rated poor/structurally deficient, and states with the highest fatality rates on non-Interstate, rural roads.

The report finds that the nation’s rural roads and bridges have significant deficiencies. Fifteen percent of U.S. rural roads are rated in poor condition, while 21 percent are in mediocre condition. Seventeen percent of the nation’s rural roads are in fair condition and the remaining 47 percent are in good condition. Nine percent of the nation’s rural bridges are rated in poor/structurally deficient condition, meaning there is significant deterioration to the major components of the bridge. Poor/structurally deficient bridges are often posted for lower weight or closed to traffic, restricting or redirecting large vehicles, including agricultural equipment, commercial trucks, school buses and emergency services vehicles.  Forty-six percent of rural bridges are rated fair.  A fair rating indicates that a bridge’s structural elements are sound but minor deterioration has occurred to the bridge’s deck, substructure or superstructure.

“Farmers and ranchers depend on rural roads, highways and bridges for daily life and to move their products to market,” said Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation. “Securing the appropriate resources at the local, state and federal levels will allow for the improvements needed to provide a rural transportation system that will keep goods moving, American agriculture competitive and rural Americans safe.”

In addition to deteriorated roads and bridges, the TRIP report finds that traffic crashes and fatalities on rural non-Interstate roads are disproportionately high, occurring at a rate nearly two-and-a-half times higher than on all other roads. In 2017, non-Interstate rural roads had a traffic fatality rate of 2.14 deaths for every 100 million vehicle miles of travel, compared to a fatality rate on all other roads of 0.88 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles of travel. Rural roads are more likely to have narrow lanes, limited shoulders, sharp curves, exposed hazards, pavement drop-offs, steep slopes and limited clear zones along roadsides.

“This report highlights again the critical need for federal action to modernize our nation’s infrastructure,” said Ed Mortimer, vice president of transportation infrastructure of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  “We have a historic opportunity to address many rural infrastructure needs with President Trump and Congress discussing a major infrastructure bill. Let’s hope they act to address this critical issue!”

The TRIP report found that America’s rural population, which had declined slightly from 2010 to 2016, increased in 2017, adding an additional 33,000 people.  The modest rebound in rural population is likely a result of increased employment and declining poverty, the report found.  The number of jobs in rural America increased by 370,000 from 2013 to 2017 and the rural unemployment rate has decreased steadily from 10.3 percent in 2010 to 4.4 percent in 2017.  The rural poverty rate, which is the percentage of people who are making below the amount of money deemed necessary to have a basic standard of living, has decreased from 18.4 percent in 2013 to 16.4 percent in 2017, the TRIP report noted.

America’s rural transportation system provides the first and last link in the supply chain from farm to market connects manufacturers to their customers, supports the tourism industry, and enables the production of energy, food, and fiber. Rural Americans are more reliant on the quality of their transportation system than their urban counterparts.

“Rural roads play a critical role in supporting the transportation needs of millions of Americans every day,” said Kathleen Bower, AAA senior vice president of public affairs and international relations. “Damaged and deteriorating roadways too often result in deadly crashes, and it is time to act. Making critical safety improvements to rural roads will save thousands of lives each year and help move our economy forward.”

The TRIP report finds that the U.S. needs to implement transportation improvements that will improve rural transportation connectivity, safety and conditions to provide the nation’s small communities and rural areas with safe and efficient access to support the quality of life and enhance economic productivity.

“The health of the nation’s economy and the safety and quality of life in America’s small communities and rural areas ride on our rural transportation system. Our rural roads and bridges provide crucial links from farm to market, move manufactured and energy products, and provide access to countless tourism, social and recreational destinations,” said Will Wilkins, executive director of TRIP.  “Fixing the federal Highway Trust Fund with a long-term, sustainable source of revenue that supports the transportation investment needed will be crucial to the modernization of our rural transportation system.”

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Executive Summary

America’s rural heartland plays a vital role as home to a significant share of the nation’s population, many of its natural resources, and popular tourist destinations. It is also the primary source of the energy, food, and fiber that supports America’s economy and way of life. The strength of the nation’s rural economy is heavily reliant on the quality of its transportation system, particularly the roads and highways that link rural America with the rest of the U.S. and to markets in other countries. The quality and connectivity of America’s rural transportation system support the economy of the entire nation and quality of life for the approximately 60 million Americans living in rural areas.

Good transportation is essential in rural areas to provide access to jobs, to facilitate the movement of goods and people, to access opportunities for health care and educational skills, and to provide links to other social services. Transportation supports businesses and is a critical factor in a company’s decision to locate new business operations. For communities that rely on tourism and natural amenities to help support their economy, transportation is the key link between visitors and destinations.

Roads, highways, rails, and bridges in the nation’s heartland face a number of significant challenges: they lack adequate capacity; they fail to provide needed levels of connectivity to many communities; and, they cannot adequately support growing freight travel in many corridors. Rural roads and bridges have significant deficiencies and deterioration, they lack many desirable safety features, and they experience fatal traffic crashes at a rate far higher than all other roads and highways. This report looks at the condition, use and safety of the nation’s rural transportation system, particularly its roads, highways and bridges, and identifies needed improvements.

Rural areas in this report are based on the U.S. Census Bureau definition, which defines rural areas as regions outside of urban areas with a population of 2,500 or more.  Road, bridge and safety data in this report is based on the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) definition for rural areas, which allows states to use the U.S. Census Bureau definition to identify rural routes or to define rural areas as regions outside of urban areas with a population of 5,000 or more. The following are the key findings of the report.

AMERICA’S RURAL HEARTLAND

Rural America is the primary source of energy, food, and fiber that drives the U.S. economy.  The decline in the rural population has been halted largely due to increasing employment and declining poverty. 

  • The U.S. Census Bureau defines rural areas as regions outside of urban areas with a population of 2,500 or more.
  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau definition, 19 percent of the nation’s residents live in rural areas – approximately 60 million people.
  • The nation’s rural areas account for 97 percent of America’s land area and are home to the vast majority of the nation’s 2.2 million farms.
  • America’s rural population, which had declined slightly from 2010 to 2016, increased in 2017, adding an additional 33,000 people.  The modest rebound in rural population is likely a result of increased employment and declining poverty.
  • The number of jobs in rural America increased by 370,000 from 2013 to 2017, and the rural unemployment rate has decreased steadily from 10.3 percent in 2010 to 4.4 percent in 2017.
  • The rural poverty rate, which is the percentage of people making below the amount of money deemed necessary to have a basic standard of living, has decreased from 18.4 percent in 2013 to 16.4 percent in 2017.
  • America’s rural economy is far more reliant on goods production, which includes farming, forestry, fishing, mining and energy extraction, and manufacturing that is the nation’s urban economy.
  • Many of the transportation challenges facing rural America are similar to those in urbanized areas. However, rural residents tend to be more heavily reliant on their limited transportation network – primarily rural roads and highways – than their counterparts in urban areas. Residents of rural areas often must travel long distances to access education, employment, retail locations, social opportunities, and health services.
  • Nineteen percent of the rural population is 65 years or older, compared to 15 percent in urban areas.
  • The movement of retiring baby boomers to rural America is likely to continue in the future as aging Americans seek out communities that offer affordable housing, small-town quality of life and desirable natural amenities, while often located within a short drive of larger metropolitan areas.
  • The amount of rural tourism in a region is tied partly to the level of highway access. Eighty-six percent of trips taken by Americans to visit rural areas are for leisure purposes.
  • Popular tourist activities in rural America include hiking, golfing, biking, hunting, fishing and water sports. Rural areas are also home to beaches, national and state parks, wineries, orchards, and other national amenities.

RURAL QUALITY OF LIFE AND ECONOMIC VITALITY RELY ON TRANSPORTATION

The quality of life in America’s small communities and rural areas, and the health of the nation’s rural economy is highly reliant on the quality of the nation’s transportation system, particularly its roads, highways, and bridges. America’s rural transportation network provides the first and last link in the supply chain from farm to market while supporting the tourism industry and enabling the production of energy, food, and fiber.

  • Freight mobility and efficiency are fundamental to rural economic vitality and prosperity. Economic growth and stability in rural areas are heavily reliant on the ability to move raw materials into, or the value-added products out of, these areas.
  • Agriculture, food, and related industries, including food and beverage manufacturing, apparel manufacturing and food and beverage stores and establishments — which rely on agricultural inputs — contributed $1.05 trillion to the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) in 2016. This represents 5.7 percent of overall U.S. GDP.
  • While farming accounts for just six percent of all jobs in rural America, for every person employed in farming there are seven more jobs in agribusiness, including wholesale and retail trade, processing, marketing, production, and distribution.
  • Employment in goods production, which includes farming, forestry, fishing, mining and energy extraction, accounts for 11 percent of earnings in the nation’s rural economy versus two percent in the urban economy.
  • Manufacturing jobs account for 15 percent of earnings in the nation’s rural economy versus nine percent in the urban economy.
  • A United States Department of Agriculture(USDA) report found that “an effective transportation system supports rural economies, reducing the prices farmers pay for inputs such as seeds and fertilizers, raising the value of their crops and greatly increasing market access.”
  • Trucks provide the majority of transportation for agricultural products, accounting for 47 percent of total ton-miles of travel compared to 37 percent by rail and eight percent by barge.
  • The Council of State Governments found that “rural highways provide many benefits to the nation’s transportation system, including serving as a bridge to other states, supporting the agriculture and energy industries, connecting economically challenged citizens in remote locations to employers, enabling the movement of people and freight, and providing access to America’s tourist attractions.”
  • Transportation is becoming an even more critical segment of the food distribution network. While food demand is concentrated mostly in urban areas, food distribution is the most dispersed segment of the economy.
  • A highly competitive and efficient transportation system can lead to lower food costs for U.S. consumers and higher market prices for producers due to lower shipping costs, smaller margins, and more competitive export prices.
  • A report by the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council recommends that governments improve the quality of their transportation systems serving the movement of goods from rural to urban regions as a strategy to lower food costs and increase economic prosperity.
  • A report on agricultural transportation by the USDA found it likely that market changes and shifts in consumer preferences would further increase the reliance on trucking to move U.S. agricultural products.

RURAL CONNECTIONS TO TOURISM AND RECREATION

The condition and quality of the nation’s highway system plays a critical role in providing access to America’s many tourist destinations, particularly its scenic parks and recreational areas, which are mostly located in rural areas.

  • America’s 418 national parks, which are largely located in rural areas, received a record 318 million visitors in 2018, many in personal vehicles.
  • In 2018, domestic and international travelers in the U.S. spent approximately $1.1 trillion.
  • Travel and tourism spending in the U.S. in 2018 supported 8.9 million jobs.

RURAL ACCESS TO ENERGY SOURCES

Travel loads on America’s rural roads are increasing, due partly to the booming energy extraction sector. This has been driven by increases in domestic oil and gas extraction, largely as a result of advancements in hydraulic fracturing (fracking), which has greatly increased the accessibility of shale oil and gas deposits, and the increased production of renewable energy such as wind and solar.

  • Ethanol production in the U.S. increased from 1.6 billion gallons in 2000 to 16.1 billion gallons in 2018.
  • U.S. production of liquid fuels, including crude oil and natural gas, increased 74 percent from 2000 to 2018, increasing liquid fuel’s share of overall U.S. energy production (including coal and nuclear) from 48 to 63 percent.
  • U.S. production of renewable energy, including wind and solar, increased 92 percent from 2000 to 2018, increasing renewable energy’s share of overall U.S. energy production from nine to 12 percent.
  • The development of significant new oil and gas fields in numerous areas, particularly in the North Central Plains, and increased agricultural production are placing increased traffic loads by large trucks on non-Interstate rural roads, which often have not been constructed to carry such high load volumes.
  • The average travel per-lane-mile by large trucks on rural Interstate highways in the U.S. increased by 33 percent from 2000 to 2017.

RURAL TRANSPORTATION CHALLENGE: CONNECTIVITY

The potential for additional economic growth in many rural areas is being impeded by the failure to significantly modernize the nation’s rural transportation system and provide for adequate connectivity.

  • Sixty-six U.S. cities with a population of 50,000 or more do not have direct access to the Interstate Highway System (Appendix A).
  • Rural transportation accessibility and connectivity are critical to transportation-dependent business sectors, including the growing energy production sector, advanced manufacturing and tourism. Many jobs located in urban areas also depend on economic input from rural communities.
  • Since the routes for the Interstate Highway System were designated in 1956, the nation’s population has nearly doubled, from 165 million to 327 million.
  • The abandonment of more than 100,000 miles of rail lines in recent decades, mostly in rural areas, has reduced access in many rural communities and increased reliance on trucking for freight movement.
  • A report by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials(AASHTO) found that connectivity is particularly poor in rural portions of Western states because of the significant distance between Interstate highway routes and the lack of adequate rail service.
  • Only 60 percent of rural counties nationwide have public transportation available. Twenty-eight percent of those have very limited service.
  • Residents of rural areas often must travel long distances to access education, employment, retail locations, social opportunities, and health services. Rural residents also assume additional risks as a result of living in areas that may be farther from emergency response services including police, fire or medical assistance.

RURAL TRANSPORTATION CHALLENGE: SAFETY

Traffic fatalities on the nation’s rural, non-Interstate roads occur at a rate approximately two-and-a-half times higher than on all other roads. A disproportionate share of fatalities takes place on rural roads compared to the amount of traffic they carry.

  • Rural, non-Interstate roads have a traffic fatality rate that is nearly two-and-a-half times higher than all other roads. In 2017, non-Interstate rural roads had a traffic fatality rate of 2.14 deaths for every 100 million vehicle miles of travel (VMT), compared to a fatality rate of 0.88 deaths per 100 million VMT on all other roads.
  • Rural, non-Interstate routes accounted for 22 percent of all VMT in the U.S. in 2017. However, crashes on the nation’s rural, non-Interstate routes resulted in 41 percent (15,205 of 37,133) of the nation’s traffic deaths in 2017.
  • The chart below identifies the 25 states that led the nation in the number of rural non-Interstate traffic deaths in 2017. Data for all states is available in Appendix B.

  • The chart below identifies the 25 states with the highest rate of rural non-Interstate traffic fatalities per 100 million VMT, and the fatality rate per 100 million VMT on all other roads in the state in 2017. Data for all states is available in Appendix C.

The higher traffic fatality rate found on rural non-Interstate routes is a result of multiple factors, including a lack of desirable roadway safety features, longer emergency vehicle response times, and the higher speeds traveled on rural roads compared to urban roads.

  • Rural roads are more likely than urban roads to have roadway features that reduce safety, including narrow lanes, limited shoulders, sharp curves, exposed hazards, pavement drop-offs, steep slopes and limited clear zones along roadsides.
  • Because many rural routes have been constructed over a period of years, they often have inconsistent design features for such things as lane widths, curves, shoulders and clearance zones along roadsides.
  • Rural roads are more likely than urban roads to be two-lane routes. Eighty-six percent of the nation’s rural non-freeway arterial roads have two-lanes, compared to 56 percent of urban non-freeway arterial routes.
  • Rural roads are more likely than urban roads to have narrow lanes. A desirable lane width for collector and arterial roadways is at least 11 feet. Twenty-three percent of rural collector and arterial roads have lane widths of 10 feet or less, compared to 18 percent of urban collector and arterial roads.
  • Most head-on crashes on rural, non-Interstate roads are likely caused by a motorist making an unintentional maneuver as a result of driver fatigue, being distracted or driving too fast in a curve.
  • While driver behavior is a significant factor in traffic crash rates, both safety belt usage and impaired driving rates are similar in their involvement rate as a factor in urban and rural traffic crashes.

Many roadway safety improvements can be made to reduce serious crashes and traffic fatalities. These improvements are designed largely to keep vehicles from leaving the correct lane and to reduce the consequences of a vehicle leaving the roadway. Making needed roadway safety improvements would result in a significant reduction in traffic fatalities and serious injuries. 

  • The U.S. has a $146 billion backlog in needed roadway safety improvements, according to a 2017 report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. The report found implementing these cost-effective and needed roadway safety improvements on U.S. roadways would save approximately 63,700 lives and reduce the number of serious injuries as a result of traffic crashes by approximately 350,000 over 20 years.
  • The type of safety design improvements that are appropriate for a section of rural road will depend partly on the nature of the safety problem on that section of road and the amount of funding available.
  • Low-cost safety improvements include installing rumble strips along the centerline and sides of roads, improving signage and pavement/lane markings including higher levels of retroreflectivity, installing lighting, removing or shielding roadside obstacles, using chevrons and post-mounted delineators to indicate roadway alignment along curves, adding skid-resistant surfaces at curves, and upgrading or adding guardrails.
  • Moderate-cost improvements include adding turn lanes at intersections, resurfacing pavements and adding median barriers.
  • Moderate to high-cost improvements include improving roadway alignment, reducing the angle of curves, widening lanes, converting conventional intersections to roundabouts, adding or paving shoulders, adding intermittent passing lanes, or adding a third or fourth lane.
  • Systemic installation of cost-effective safety solutions and devices in rural areas helps to improve safety not just by targeting individual safety problem points on a road, but also making entire segments safer by improving those roadway segments that exhibit the characteristics that typically result in fatal or serious-injury crashes.

RURAL TRANSPORTATION CHALLENGES: DEFICIENT ROAD AND BRIDGE CONDITIONS

The nation’s rural roads, highways, and bridges have significant deficiencies and deterioration. Fourteen percent of the nation’s rural roads have pavements in poor condition, and nearly one-in-ten of the nation’s rural bridges need rehabilitation, repair or replacement.

  • In 2017, 15 percent of the nation’s major rural roads (arterials and collectors) were rated in poor condition, 21 percent were rated in mediocre condition, 17 percent were rated in fair condition and 47 percent were rated in good condition.
  • The chart below ranks the 25 states with the greatest percentage of rural roads in poor condition in 2017. Rural pavement conditions for all states can be found in Appendix D.

  • In 2018, nine percent of the nation’s rural bridges were rated as poor/structurally deficient. Forty-six percent of rural bridges were rated fair and forty-six percent of rural bridges were rated in good condition. A bridge is rated poor/structurally deficient if there is significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components. Poor/structurally deficient bridges are often posted for lower weight or closed to traffic, restricting or redirecting large vehicles, including commercial trucks, agricultural equipment, school buses, and emergency services vehicles.  A fair rating indicates that a bridge’s structural elements are sound but minor deterioration has occurred to the bridge’s deck, substructure or superstructure.
  • The chart below ranks the 25 states with the highest share of rural bridges rated poor/structurally deficient in 2018. Rural bridge conditions for all states can be found in Appendix E.

TRANSPORTATION OPPORTUNITIES IN RURAL AMERICA

America must adopt transportation policies that improve rural transportation connectivity, safety and conditions to provide the nation’s small communities and rural areas with a level of safe and efficient access that will support the quality of life and enhance economic productivity. TRIP recommends the following for an improved rural transportation system, based partially on findings and recommendations made by AASHTO, the National Highway Cooperative Research Program (NCHRP), the Council of State Governments (CSG) and the Ports-to-Plains Alliance.

Improve access and connectivity in America’s small communities and rural areas

  • Widen and extend key highway routes, including Interstates, to increase connectivity to smaller and emerging communities to facilitate access to jobs, education, and healthcare, while improving access for agriculture, energy, manufacturing, forestry, tourism and other critical segments of the rural economy.
  • An NCHRP report found that the construction of an additional 30,000 lane miles of limited access highways, largely along existing corridors, is needed to address the nation’s need for increased rural connectivity.
  • Modernize major two-lane roads and highways so they can accommodate increased personal and commercial travel.
  • Improve public transit service in rural America to provide improved mobility for people without access to private vehicles.

Improve rural traffic safety

  • Adequately fund needed rural roadway safety improvements and provide enhanced enforcement, education and improved emergency response to reduce the rate of rural traffic fatalities.
  • Implement cost-effective roadway safety improvements, including rumble strips, shoulder improvements, lane widening, curve reductions, skid-resistant surfaces at curves, passing lanes, intersection improvements and improved signage, pavement markings and lighting, guardrails and barriers, and improved shielding of obstacles.

Improve the condition of rural roads, highways, and bridges

  • Adequately fund local and state transportation programs to ensure sufficient preservation of rural roads, highways, and bridges to maintain transportation service and accommodate large truck travel, which is needed to support the rural economy.

FEDERAL TRANSPORTATION FUNDING

America’s ability to address its rural transportation challenges would be greatly enhanced if Congress is able to provide a long-term, dedicated, user-based revenue stream capable of fully funding the federal surface transportation program.  The current five-year federal surface transportation program includes modest funding increases and provides states with greater funding certainty, but falls far short of providing the level of funding needed to meet the nation’s highway and transit needs.

  • The USDOT report found that the nation’s current $105 billion investment in roads, highways, and bridges by all levels of government should be increased by 35 percent to $142.5 billion annually to improve the conditions of roads, highways and bridges, relieve traffic congestion, and improve traffic safety.

 All data used in this report is the most current available. Sources of information for this report include: The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP), the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Council of State Governments (CSG) and the U.S. Census Bureau. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ten Key Transportation Numbers in Mississippi

 

$2.9 billion

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

Hattiesburg – $1,293

Jackson – $2,046

Southaven-DeSoto County- $1,870

TRIP has calculated the cost to the average motorist in the state’s largest urban areas in the form of additional VOC, congestion-related delays and traffic crashes. Drivers in the state’s largest urban areas incur annual costs as a result of driving on deficient roads as follows: Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula – $1,267; Hattiesburg- $1,293; Jackson – $2,046, Southaven-DeSoto County- $1,870.
 

2 of 3 miles

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

Hattiesburg – 51%

Jackson – 63%

Southaven-DeSoto County-44%

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

4X

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

2,098 bridges

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

Hattiesburg – 13 hours

Jackson – 38 hours

Southaven-DeSoto County-43 hours

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

$1.00 = $5.20

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

MISSISSIPPI TRANSPORTATION BY THE NUMBERS:

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

Quality of life and economic progress are riding on Mississippi’s transportation system. The rate of economic growth in Mississippi, which is greatly impacted by the reliability and condition of the state’s transportation system, has a significant impact on quality of life in the Magnolia State.

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

With an economy based largely on agriculture, tourism and manufacturing, the quality of Mississippi’s transportation system plays a vital role in the state’s economic growth and quality of life.

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

COST TO MISSISSIPPI MOTORISTS OF DEFICIENT ROADS

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

  • Driving on rough roads costs Mississippi motorists a total of $1.4 billion annually in extra vehicle operating costs. Costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.
  • Traffic crashes in which roadway design was likely a contributing factor cost Mississippi motorists a total of $1 billion each year in the form of lost household and workplace productivity, insurance and other financial costs.
  • Traffic congestion costs Mississippi motorists a total of $530 million each year in the form of lost time and wasted fuel.
  • The chart below details the average cost per driver in the state’s largest urban areas and statewide.

POPULATION, TRAVEL AND ECONOMIC TRENDS IN MISSISSIPPI

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

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

MISSISSIPPI ROAD CONDITIONS

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

  • The pavement data in this report, which is for all arterial and collector roads and highways, is provided by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), based on data submitted annually by the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) on the condition of major state and locally maintained roads and highways.
  • Pavement data for Interstate highways and other principal arterials is collected for all system mileage, whereas pavement data for minor arterial and all collector roads and highways is based on sampling portions of roadways as prescribed by FHWA to insure that the data collected is adequate to provide an accurate assessment of pavement conditions on these roads and highways.
  • Overall, 28 percent of Mississippi’s major locally and state-maintained roads and highways have pavements in poor condition and 27 percent are in mediocre condition. Fifteen percent of the state’s major roads are rated in fair condition and the remaining 30 percent are rated in good condition.
  • Forty-three percent of Mississippi’s major locally and state-maintained urban roads and highways have pavements in poor condition and 21 percent are rated in mediocre condition. Twelve percent of major urban roads are in fair condition and the remaining 24 percent are rated in good condition.
  • Twenty-five percent of Mississippi’s major locally and state-maintained rural roads and highways have pavements in poor condition and 28 percent are rated in mediocre condition. Fifteen percent of major rural roads are in fair condition and the remaining 32 percent are rated in good condition.
  • The chart below details the share of pavement in poor, mediocre, fair and good condition in the state’s largest urban areas.

  • Roads rated in mediocre to poor condition may show signs of deterioration, including rutting, cracks and potholes. In some cases, these roads can be resurfaced, but often are too deteriorated and must be reconstructed.
  • Driving on rough roads costs Mississippi motorists a total of $1.4 billion annually in extra vehicle operating costs. Costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.
  • Long-term repair costs increase significantly when road and bridge maintenance is deferred, as road and bridge deterioration accelerates later in the service life of a transportation facility and requires more costly repairs. A report on maintaining pavements found that every $1 of deferred maintenance on roads and bridges costs an additional $4 to $5 in needed future repairs.

MISSISSIPPI BRIDGE CONDITIONS

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

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

HIGHWAY SAFETY AND FATALITY RATES IN MISSISSIPPI

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

  • A total of 3,109 people were killed in Mississippi traffic crashes from 2011 to 2015, an average of 622 fatalities per year.
  • Mississippi’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.70 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2015 was significantly higher than the national average of 1.13 and the third highest rate in the nation.
  • The fatality rate on Mississippi’s non-interstate rural roads in 2015 was more than four times that on all other roads in the state (2.93 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs. 0.70).
  • The chart below details the average number of people killed in traffic crashes from 2013 to 2015 in the state’s largest urban areas, as well as the cost per motorist of traffic crashes.

  • Traffic crashes in Mississippi imposed a total of $3.1 billion in economic costs in 2015. TRIP estimates that traffic crashes in which roadway features were likely a contributing factor imposed $1 billion in economic costs in 2015.
  • According to a 2015 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report, the economic costs of traffic crashes includes work and household productivity losses, property damage, medical costs, rehabilitation costs, legal and court costs, congestion costs and emergency services.
  • Roadway features that impact safety include the number of lanes, lane widths, lighting, lane markings, rumble strips, shoulders, guard rails, other shielding devices, median barriers and intersection design. The cost of serious crashes includes lost productivity, lost earnings, medical costs and emergency services.
  • Several factors are associated with vehicle crashes that result in fatalities, including driver behavior, vehicle characteristics and roadway features. TRIP estimates that roadway features are likely a contributing factor in approximately one-third of fatal traffic crashes.
  • Where appropriate, highway improvements can reduce traffic fatalities and crashes while improving traffic flow to help relieve congestion. Such improvements include removing or shielding obstacles; adding or improving medians; improved lighting; adding rumble strips, wider lanes, wider and paved shoulders; upgrading roads from two lanes to four lanes; and better road markings and traffic signals.
  • Investments in rural traffic safety have been found to result in significant reductions in serious traffic crashes. A 2012 report by the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) found that improvements completed recently by the Texas Department of Transportation that widened lanes, improved shoulders and made other safety improvements on 1,159 miles of rural state roadways resulted in 133 fewer fatalities on these roads in the first three years after the improvements were completed (as compared to the three years prior).   TTI estimates that the improvements on these roads are likely to save 880 lives over 20 years.

MISSISSIPPI TRAFFIC CONGESTION

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

  • Based on Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) estimates, the value of lost time and wasted fuel in Mississippi is approximately $530 million per year.
  • The chart below details the number of hours lost to congestion by the average driver in the state’s largest urban areas, as well as the annual cost of traffic congestion per driver in the form of lost time and wasted fuel.

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

TRANSPORTATION FUNDING IN MISSISSIPPI

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

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

TRANSPORTATION AND ECONOMIC GROWTH IN MISSISSIPPI

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

  • Annually, $277 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in Mississippi, mostly by truck.
  • Seventy-seven percent of the goods shipped annually to and from sites in Mississippi are carried by trucks and another eight percent are carried by courier services or multiple mode deliveries, which include trucking.
  • Increasingly, companies are looking at the quality of a region’s transportation system when deciding where to re-locate or expand. Regions with congested or poorly maintained roads may see businesses relocate to areas with a smoother, more efficient and more modern transportation system.
  • Highway accessibility was ranked the number two site selection factor behind only the availability of skilled labor in a 2015 survey of corporate executives by Area Development Magazine.
  • The Federal Highway Administration estimates that each dollar spent on road, highway and bridge improvements results in an average benefit of $5.20 in the form of reduced vehicle maintenance costs, reduced delays, reduced fuel consumption, improved safety, reduced road and bridge maintenance costs and reduced emissions as a result of improved traffic flow.

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

 

 

 

TRIP Report: Connecticut Motorists Lose $6.1 Billion Per Year On Roads That Are Rough, Congested & Lack Some Safety Features

Connecticut Motorists Lose $6.1 Billion Per Year On Roads That Are Rough, Congested & Lack Some Safety Features – Up To $2,378 Per Driver. Costs Will Rise And Conditions Will Worsen Without Increased Funding

Roads and bridges that are deteriorated, congested or lack some desirable safety features cost Connecticut motorists a total of $6.1 billion statewide annually – as much as $2,378 per driver in some urban areas – due to higher vehicle operating costs, traffic crashes and congestion-related delays. Increased investment in transportation improvements at the local and state levels could relieve traffic congestion, improve road, bridge and transit conditions, boost safety, and support long-term economic growth in Connecticut, according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation organization.

The TRIP report, Connecticut Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe and Efficient Mobility,” finds that throughout Connecticut, nearly four-fifths of major, locally and state-maintained roads are in poor or mediocre condition and eight percent of Connecticut’s locally and state-maintained bridges are structurally deficient. The state’s major urban roads are becoming increasingly congested, with drivers wasting significant amounts of time and fuel each year. And, more than 1,200 people were killed on the state’s roads from 2011 to 2015.

Driving deficient Connecticut roads costs the state’s drivers $6.1 billion per year in the form of extra vehicle operating costs (VOC) as a result of driving on roads in need of repair, lost time and fuel due to congestion-related delays, and the costs of traffic crashes in which the lack of adequate roadway safety features likely were a contributing factor. The TRIP report calculates the cost to motorists of insufficient roads in the Bridgeport-Stamford, Hartford and New Haven urban areas. A breakdown of the costs per motorist in each area along with a statewide total is below.

Overall, 57 percent of Connecticut’s major locally and state-maintained roads and highways have pavements in poor condition and 22 percent are in mediocre condition. Ten percent of the state’s major roads are rated in fair condition and the remaining 11 percent are rated in good condition. Driving on deteriorated roads costs Connecticut drivers an additional $2.2 billion each year in extra vehicle operating costs, including accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.

“A generation ago, shortsighted and sporadic decisions were made that grossly underfunded our infrastructure and crippled our current transportation system,” said Representative Chris Perone, chief transportation financial officer for Connecticut House Democrats. “A strong economy is fueled by an efficient transportation system and making that happen needs to remain a priority.”

Traffic congestion in the state’s largest urban areas is worsening, causing as much as 49 annual hours of delay for some motorists and costing drivers as much as $1,174 annually in lost time and wasted fuel.

“Our roads and bridges are decaying and the money in the state’s Special Transportation Fund (STF) is drying up. We are standing on the precipice of tragedy,” said Representative Tony Guerrera, house chair of the Connecticut Legislature’s Transportation Committee. “According to the TRIP report, a majority of our roads are in poor or mediocre condition. With electronic tolls we could have a dedicated revenue stream to lock away in the STF and ensure funding for our roads and bridges for decades to come.”

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

Traffic crashes in Connecticut claimed the lives of 1,246 people between 2011 and 2015, an average of 249 fatalities per year. While Connecticut’s overall traffic fatality rate of 0.84 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel is lower than the national average of 1.13, the state’s rural roads have a traffic fatality rate that is nearly double the fatality rate on all other roads in the state.

The efficiency and condition of Connecticut’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy. Annually, $489 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in Connecticut, mostly by truck. Eighty-six percent of the goods shipped annually to and from sites in Connecticut are carried by trucks and another 11 percent are carried by courier services or multiple mode deliveries, which include trucking.

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

CONNECTICUT TRANSPORTATION BY THE NUMBERS:

Meeting the State’s Need for Safe and Efficient Mobility

Ten Key Transportation Numbers in Connecticut

 

$6.1 billion

Driving on deficient roads costs Connecticut motorists a total of $6.1 billion annually in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC), congestion-related delays and traffic crashes.
Bridgeport-Stamford – $2,378

Hartford – $2,355

New Haven – $2,190

TRIP has calculated the cost to the average motorist in the state’s largest urban areas in the form of additional VOC, congestion-related delays and traffic crashes. Drivers in the state’s largest urban areas incur annual costs as a result of driving on deficient roads as follows: Bridgeport-Stamford – $2,378; Hartford- $2,355; New Haven – $2,190.
 

4 of 5 miles

Nearly four of five miles of Connecticut’s major roads are in either poor or mediocre condition, with 57 percent rated in poor condition and 22 percent rated in mediocre condition.
Bridgeport-Stamford – 49 hours

Hartford – 45 hours

New Haven – 40 hours

Mounting congestion robs drivers of time and fuel. Annual time wasted in congestion for drivers in the state’s largest urban areas is as follows: Bridgeport-Stamford, 49 hours; Hartford, 45 hours; and, New Haven, 40 hours.
2X The fatality rate on Connecticut’s rural roads is nearly double the fatality rate on all other roads in the state (1.45 fatalities per 100 million VMT vs. 0.79).
8%

338 bridges

Eight percent of Connecticut’s bridges (338 out of 4,214) are structurally deficient. A bridge is structurally deficient if there is significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components.
$489 Annually, $489 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in Connecticut, mostly by truck.
 

$4.4 Billion

$1.5 Billion

Traffic crashes in Connecticut imposed a total of $4.4 billion in economic costs in 2015. TRIP estimates that traffic crashes in which roadway features were likely a contributing factor imposed $1.5 billion in economic costs in 2015.
$1 = $4 to $5 Every $1 of deferred maintenance on roads and bridges has been found to cost an additional $4 to $5 in needed future repairs.
 

$1.00 = $5.20

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

Executive Summary

Quality of life and economic progress are literally riding on Connecticut’s transportation system. The rate of economic growth in Connecticut, which is greatly impacted by the reliability and condition of the state’s transportation system, has a significant impact on quality of life in the Constitution State.

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

With an economy based largely on business and financial services, tourism, manufacturing, and agriculture, the quality of Connecticut’s transportation system plays a vital role in the state’s economic growth and quality of life.

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

COST TO CONNECTICUT MOTORISTS OF DEFICIENT ROADS

An inadequate transportation system costs Connecticut motorists a total of $6.1 billion every year in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC), congestion-related delays and traffic crashes.

  • Driving on rough roads costs Connecticut motorists a total of $2.2 billion annually in extra vehicle operating costs. Costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.
  • Traffic crashes in which roadway design was likely a contributing factor cost Connecticut motorists a total of $1.5 billion each year in the form of lost household and workplace productivity, insurance and other financial costs.
  • Traffic congestion costs Connecticut motorists a total of $2.4 billion each year in the form of lost time and wasted fuel. 
  • The chart below details the average cost per driver in the state’s largest urban areas and statewide.

POPULATION, TRAVEL AND ECONOMIC TRENDS IN CONNECTICUT

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

  • Connecticut’s population reached approximately 3.6 million residents in 2016, a five percent increase since 2000. Connecticut had approximately 2.6 million licensed drivers in 2015.
  • Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in Connecticut increased by four percent from 2000 to 2016 –from 30.8 billion VMT in 2000 to 32 billion VMT in 2016. VMT in the state increased three percent just in the last three years (2013-2016).
  • From 2000 to 2015, Connecticut’s gross domestic product, a measure of the state’s economic output, increased by 11 percent, when adjusted for inflation. U.S. GDP increased 27 percent during this time.

CONNECTICUT ROAD CONDITIONS

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

  • The pavement data in this report, which is for all arterial and collector roads and highways, is provided by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), based on data submitted annually by the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) on the condition of major state and locally maintained roads and highways.
  • Pavement data for Interstate highways and other principal arterials is collected for all system mileage, whereas pavement data for minor arterial and all collector roads and highways is based on sampling portions of roadways as prescribed by FHWA to insure that the data collected is adequate to provide an accurate assessment of pavement conditions on these roads and highways.
  • Overall, 57 percent of Connecticut’s major locally and state-maintained roads and highways have pavements in poor condition and 22 percent are in mediocre condition. Ten percent of the state’s major roads are rated in fair condition and the remaining 11 percent are rated in good condition.
  • Sixty-one percent of Connecticut’s major locally and state-maintained urban roads and highways have pavements in poor condition and 19 percent are rated in mediocre condition. Nine percent of major urban roads are in fair condition and the remaining 11 percent are rated in good condition.
  • Thirty-nine percent of Connecticut’s major locally and state-maintained rural roads and highways have pavements in poor condition and 34 percent are rated in mediocre condition. Seventeen percent of major rural roads are in fair condition and the remaining 11 percent are rated in good condition.
  • The chart below details the share of pavement in poor, mediocre, fair and good condition in the state’s largest urban areas.

  • Roads rated in mediocre to poor condition may show signs of deterioration, including rutting, cracks and potholes.       In some cases, these roads can be resurfaced, but often are too deteriorated and must be reconstructed.
  • Driving on rough roads costs Connecticut motorists a total of $2.2 billion annually in extra vehicle operating costs. Costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.
  • Long-term repair costs increase significantly when road and bridge maintenance is deferred, as road and bridge deterioration accelerates later in the service life of a transportation facility and requires more costly repairs. A report on maintaining pavements found that every $1 of deferred maintenance on roads and bridges costs an additional $4 to $5 in needed future repairs.

CONNECTICUT BRIDGE CONDITIONS

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

  • Eight percent of Connecticut’s bridges (338 out of 4,214) are structurally deficient. A bridge is structurally deficient if there is significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components. Structurally deficient bridges are often posted for lower weight or closed to traffic, restricting or redirecting large vehicles, including commercial trucks and emergency services vehicles.
  • The chart below details the share of structurally deficient bridges in the Bridgeport-Stamford, Hartford and New Haven areas.

HIGHWAY SAFETY AND FATALITY RATES IN CONNECTICUT

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

  • A total of 1,246 people were killed in Connecticut traffic crashes from 2011 to 2015, an average of 249 fatalities per year.
  • Connecticut’s overall traffic fatality rate of 0.84 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2015 was lower than the national average of 1.13.
  • The fatality rate on Connecticut’s non-interstate rural roads in 2015 was nearly double that on all other roads in the state (1.45 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs. 0.79).
  • The chart below details the average number of people killed in traffic crashes from 2013 to 2015 in the state’s largest urban areas, as well as the cost per motorist of traffic crashes.

  • Traffic crashes in Connecticut imposed a total of $4.4 billion in economic costs in 2015. TRIP estimates that traffic crashes in which roadway features were likely a contributing factor imposed $1.5 billion in economic costs in 2015.
  • According to a 2015 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report, the economic costs of traffic crashes includes work and household productivity losses, property damage, medical costs, rehabilitation costs, legal and court costs, congestion costs and emergency services.
  • Roadway features that impact safety include the number of lanes, lane widths, lighting, lane markings, rumble strips, shoulders, guard rails, other shielding devices, median barriers and intersection design. The cost of serious crashes includes lost productivity, lost earnings, medical costs and emergency services.
  • Several factors are associated with vehicle crashes that result in fatalities, including driver behavior, vehicle characteristics and roadway features. TRIP estimates that roadway features are likely a contributing factor in approximately one-third of fatal traffic crashes.
  • Where appropriate, highway improvements can reduce traffic fatalities and crashes while improving traffic flow to help relieve congestion. Such improvements include removing or shielding obstacles; adding or improving medians; improved lighting; adding rumble strips, wider lanes, wider and paved shoulders; upgrading roads from two lanes to four lanes; and better road markings and traffic signals.
  • Investments in rural traffic safety have been found to result in significant reductions in serious traffic crashes. A 2012 report by the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) found that improvements completed recently by the Texas Department of Transportation that widened lanes, improved shoulders and made other safety improvements on 1,159 miles of rural state roadways resulted in 133 fewer fatalities on these roads in the first three years after the improvements were completed (as compared to the three years prior).   TTI estimates that the improvements on these roads are likely to save 880 lives over 20 years.

 CONNECTICUT TRAFFIC CONGESTION

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

  • Based on Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) estimates, the value of lost time and wasted fuel in Connecticut is approximately $2.4 billion per year.
  • The chart below details the number of hours lost to congestion by the average driver in the state’s largest urban areas, as well as the annual cost of traffic congestion per driver in the form of lost time and wasted fuel.

 

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

TRANSPORTATION FUNDING IN CONNECTICUT

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

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

TRANSPORTATION AND ECONOMIC GROWTH IN CONNECTICUT

The efficiency of Connecticut’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, $489 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in Connecticut, mostly by truck.
  • Eighty-six percent of the goods shipped annually to and from sites in Connecticut are carried by trucks and another 11 percent are carried by courier services or multiple mode deliveries, which include trucking.
  • Increasingly, companies are looking at the quality of a region’s transportation system when deciding where to re-locate or expand. Regions with congested or poorly maintained roads may see businesses relocate to areas with a smoother, more efficient and more modern transportation system.
  • Highway accessibility was ranked the number two site selection factor behind only the availability of skilled labor in a 2015 survey of corporate executives by Area Development Magazine.
  • The Federal Highway Administration estimates that each dollar spent on road, highway and bridge improvements results in an average benefit of $5.20 in the form of reduced vehicle maintenance costs, reduced delays, reduced fuel consumption, improved safety, reduced road and bridge maintenance costs and reduced emissions as a result of improved traffic flow.

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

 

 

TRIP Report: North Carolina’s current level of transportation funding will not be enough to make needed improvements

North Carolina’s current level of transportation funding will not be enough to make needed improvements to the state’s transportation system to accommodate current and future levels of population, travel and economic growth. This is according to a new report by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation organization. Over the next decade, the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) will have funds available for only 17 percent of needed transportation projects.

The TRIP report, Keeping North Carolina Mobile: Progress and Challenges in Providing an Efficient, Safe and Well-Maintained Transportation System,” examines road and bridge conditions, travel trends, economic development, highway safety and transportation funding. Since 2000, the state’s population has grown 26 percent and is projected to increase another 20 percent by 2035. Vehicle miles of travel (VMT) in North Carolina increased 29 percent from 2000 to 2016 — the ninth highest rate of growth nationally. And, from just 2013 to 2016, VMT in North Carolina has increased by 10 percent. VMT in North Carolina is projected to increase another 25 percent by 2030.

Eighteen percent of North Carolina’s major locally and state-maintained urban roads and highways have pavements in poor condition and 26 percent are rated in mediocre condition. Twenty-two percent of the state’s major urban roads are rated in fair condition and the remaining 34 percent are rated in good condition. Long-term repair costs increase significantly when road and bridge maintenance is deferred, as road and bridge deterioration accelerates later in the service life of a transportation facility and requires more costly repairs. Every $1 of deferred maintenance on roads and bridges costs an additional $4 to $5 in needed future repairs.

Ten percent of North Carolina’s bridges are structurally deficient, meaning there is significant deterioration to the major components of the bridge.

“North Carolina has consistently topped the charts as one of the most competitive states for business. That has not happened by accident,” said Lew Ebert, president and CEO of the North Carolina Chamber. “Our state’s leaders have been busy investing in our transportation network to meet the current and growing demands of a dynamic state economy. However, to retain current investments and attract new jobs, investments and expansions, North Carolina leaders must continue to find ways to diversify our revenue streams in order to fund the network for the future.”

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

Traffic crashes in North Carolina claimed the lives of 6,668 people between 2012 and 2016, an average of 1,334 fatalities per year. The number of traffic fatalities in the state increased four percent from 2015 to 2016. North Carolina’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.23 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel is higher than the national average of 1.13. The traffic fatality rate on North Carolina’s non-Interstate rural roads was more than four times higher than on all other roads and highways in the state in 2015 – 2.69 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel compared to 0.65. The 2015 national rural non-Interstate fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles of travel is 2.14.

NCDOT received requests from state and regional transportation agencies for $53 billion in needed road, highway and bridge projects for inclusion in the 2018-2027 State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) but only had funding available to include $9 billion (17 percent) of projects in the 2018-2027 STIP.

NCDOT’s annual 2016 maintenance and performance report found that the Department is currently spending $1.3 billion annually on repairing its roads, highways and bridges, but should be spending a minimum of $1.6 billion annually. Ideally, NCDOT should be spending $1.9 billion annually to improve the condition of its roads, highway and bridges.

“With an already large transportation funding shortfall, North Carolina is poised to see increasingly deteriorated and congested roads in the future,” said Will Wilkins, executive director of TRIP. “Additional transportation funding will allow the state to move forward with dozens of needed projects that will provide a smoother, safer and more efficient transportation system for drivers, and allow the state’s businesses to maintain and expand their competitive edge.”

KEEPING NORTH CAROLINA MOBILE:

Progress and Challenges in Providing an Efficient, Safe and Well-Maintained Transportation System

 Executive Summary

An efficient, safe and well-maintained transportation system is critical to a region’s economic growth and quality of life. North Carolina has taken positive steps in increasing the level and effectiveness of its transportation investment, but must go further to ensure that the Tar Heel State gains the benefit of a modern 21st Century transportation system.

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

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

While the state’s transportation funding will experience modest increases in future years as a result of additional state and federal funds, numerous transportation projects in the state — which are needed to improve conditions, relieve traffic congestion, improve roadway safety and enhance economic development opportunities — remain unfunded, threatening North Carolina’s future progress in providing a safe, efficient, well-maintained transportation system.

NORTH CAROLINA POPULATION, ECONOMIC AND TRAVEL GROWTH

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

  • From 2000 to 2016, North Carolina’s population increased by 26 percent, from approximately 8 million residents to approximately 10.1 million. North Carolina had approximately 7.2 million licensed drivers in 2015, a 26 percent increase since 2000.
  • By 2035, the state’s population is expected to increase by another 2 million people to 12.1 million.
  • Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in North Carolina increased 29 percent from 2000 to 2016 – from 89.5 billion VMT in 2000 to 115.4 billion VMT in 2016 – the ninth highest rate of increase in the U.S. during this period.
  • Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in North Carolina increased 10 percent –from 2013 to 2016, the twelfth highest rate of increase in the U.S. during this period.
  • From 2000 to 2015, North Carolina’s gross domestic product (GDP), a measure of the state’s economic output, increased by 30 percent, when adjusted for inflation. The national level of increase during this period was 27 percent.
  • Based on population and other lifestyle trends, TRIP projects that travel on North Carolina’s roads and highways will increase by another 25 percent by 2030.
  • The current value of the 163,000 lane miles and 13,455 bridges maintained by the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) is $575 billion.

TRANSPORTATION FUNDING IN NORTH CAROLINA

While 2015 legislation provided a modest increase in state transportation funding and legislation approved in 2013 improved project selection criteria to insure that the most needed projects are funded, the state faces significant challenges in providing a safe, well-maintained transportation system in North Carolina. 

  • Approval of the 2013 State Transportation Investment law improved project selection criteria by implementing a data-driven selection process that insures that the most needed and beneficial projects are chosen.
  • The passage of HB 97 by the state legislature in September of 2015 provided approximately an additional $1.6 billion over 10 years for transportation improvements.
  • The 2015 funding increase was achieved by eliminating transfers from the Highway Fund to the General Fund, raising Division of Motor Vehicle fees (with quadrennial adjustments for inflation on certain fees), increasing the state Highway Use Tax on out-of-state motor vehicle purchases, eliminating an environmental cleanup fund, and allowing municipalities to increase their vehicle sales tax.
  • Further increases in vehicle fuel efficiency and hybrid and electric vehicle use may reduce the ability of federal and state motor fuel taxes to raise future transportation revenues.
  • Over the next decade, the North Carolina Department of Transportation is only able to fund 17 percent of the transportation projects needed to relieve traffic congestion, support economic development, improve traffic safety and improve the conditions of state roads, highways and bridges.
  • NCDOT received requests from state and regional transportation agencies for $53 billion in needed road, highway and bridge projects for inclusion in their 2018-2027 State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) but only had funding available to include $9 billion (17 percent) of projects in their 2018-2027 STIP.
  • NCDOT’s annual 2016 maintenance and performance report found that the Department is currently spending $1.3 billion annually on repairing its roads, highways and bridges, but should be spending a minimum of $1.6 billion annually. Ideally NCDOT should be spending $1.9 billion annually to improve the condition of its roads, highway and bridges.

PAVEMENT CONDITIONS IN NORTH CAROLINA

A lack of adequate state and local funding has resulted in 44 percent of locally and state-maintained urban roads in North Carolina having pavement surfaces in poor or mediocre condition, providing a rough ride and costing motorist in the form of additional vehicle operating costs.

  • The pavement data in this report, which is for all arterial and collector roads and highways, is provided by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), based on data submitted annually by NCDOT on the condition of major state and locally maintained roads and highways.
  • Pavement data for Interstate highways and other principal arterials is collected for all system mileage, whereas pavement data for minor arterial and all collector roads and highways is based on sampling portions of roadways as prescribed by FHWA to ensure that the data collected is adequate to provide an accurate assessment of pavement conditions on these roads and highways.
  • Eighteen percent of North Carolina’s major locally and state-maintained urban roads and highways have pavements in poor condition and 26 percent are rated in mediocre condition. Twenty-two percent of major urban roads are in fair condition and the remaining 34 percent are rated in good condition.
  • Overall, 13 percent of North Carolina’s major locally and state-maintained roads and highways have pavements in poor condition and 23 percent are rated in mediocre condition. Twenty-one percent of the state’s major roads are rated in fair condition and the remaining 43 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.
  • The chart below details pavement conditions on major, locally and state-maintained roads and highways in the state’s largest urban areas:

  • Long-term repair costs increase significantly when road and bridge maintenance is deferred, as road and bridge deterioration accelerates later in the service life of a transportation facility and requires more costly repairs. A report on maintaining pavements found that every $1 of deferred maintenance on roads and bridges costs an additional $4 to $5 in needed future repairs.

CONGESTION LEVELS IN NORTH CAROLINA

Increasing levels of traffic congestion cause significant delays in North Carolina, particularly in the state’s 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.

  • 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 chart below details the number of hours the average driver loses annually and the total amount of fuel wasted annually due to congestion in the state’s largest urban areas.

  

NORTH CAROLINA BRIDGE CONDITIONS

One in ten locally and state-maintained bridges in North Carolina show significant deterioration and are in need of repair. This includes all bridges that are 20 feet or more in length.

  • Ten percent of North Carolina’s locally and state-maintained bridges are structurally deficient. A bridge is structurally deficient if there is significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components. Structurally deficient bridges are often posted for lower weight or closed to traffic, restricting or redirecting large vehicles, including commercial trucks and emergency services vehicles.
  • The chart below details the total number of bridges and share of structurally deficient bridges in North Carolina’s largest urban areas.

TRAFFIC SAFETY IN NORTH CAROLINA

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

  • Between 2012 and 2016, 6,668 people were killed in traffic crashes in North Carolina, an average of 1,334 fatalities per year.
  • The number of traffic fatalities in North Carolina in 2016 increased by four percent from the previous year, increasing from 1,387 traffic fatalities in 2015 to 1,440 in 2016.
  • North Carolina’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.23 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2015 is significantly higher than the national average of 1.13.
  • The traffic fatality rate on North Carolina’s non-Interstate rural roads in 2015 was more than four times higher than on all other roads and highways in the state – 2.69 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel compared to 0.65. The 2015 national rural non-Interstate fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles of travel is 2.14.
  • The chart below details the average number of fatalities from 2013 to 2015 in the state’s largest urban areas.

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

TRANSPORTATION AND ECONOMIC GROWTH IN NORTH CAROLINA

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

  • Annually, $704 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in North Carolina, with 84 percent of the freight tonnage being shipped by trucks.
  • Businesses have responded to improved communications and greater competition by moving from a push-style distribution system, which relies on low-cost movement of bulk commodities and large-scale warehousing, to a pull-style distribution system, which relies on smaller, more strategic and time-sensitive movement of goods.
  • Increasingly, companies are looking at the quality of a region’s transportation system when deciding where to re-locate or expand. Regions with congested or poorly maintained roads may see businesses relocate to areas with a smoother, more efficient and more modern transportation system.
  • An analysis of the planned completion of the Winston-Salem Northern Beltway to form part of I-74 found that it would result in an additional $135 million annually in additional economic output in Forsyth County and an additional $135 million annually in additional economic output in Davidson, Davie, Guilford, Randolph, Stokes, Surry and Yadkin counties.
  • Highway accessibility was ranked the number two site selection factor behind only the availability of skilled labor in a 2015 survey of corporate executives by Area Development Magazine.
  • TheFederal 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.

BENEFITS OF TRANSPORTATION IMPROVEMENTS

According to a 2012 national report, improved access as a result of capacity expansions provides numerous regional economic benefits. Those benefits include higher employment rates, higher land value, additional tax revenue, increased intensity of economic activity, increased land prices and additional construction as a result of the intensified use. 

  • The report, “Interactions Between Transportation Capacity, Economic Systems and Land Use,” prepared by the Strategic Highway Research Program for the Transportation Research Board, reviewed 100 projects, costing a minimum of $10 million, which expanded transportation capacity either to relieve congestion or enhance access.
  • The projects analyzed in the report were completed no later than 2005 and included a wide variety of urban and rural projects, including the expansion or addition of major highways, beltways, connectors, bypasses, bridges, interchanges, industrial access roads, intermodal freight terminals and intermodal passenger terminals.
  • The expanded capacity provided by the projects resulted in improved access, which contributed to reduced travel-related costs, faster and more reliable travel, and increased travel volume.
  • The report found that improved transportation access benefits a region by: enhancing the desirability of an area for living, working or recreating, thus increasing its land value; increasing building construction in a region due to increased desirability for homes and businesses; increasing employment as a result of increased private and commercial land use; and, increasing tax revenue as a result of increased property taxes, increased employment and increased consumption, which increases sales tax collection.
  • The report found that benefits of transportation capacity expansion unfolded over several years and that the extent of the benefits were impacted by other factors including: the presence of complementary infrastructure such as water, sewer and telecommunications; local land use policy; the local economic and business climate; and, whether the expanded capacity was integrated with other public investment and development efforts.
  • For every $1 million spent on urban highway or intermodal expansion, the report estimated that an average of 7.2 local, long-term jobs were created at nearby locations as a result of improved access. An additional 4.4 jobs were created outside the local area, including businesses that supplied local businesses or otherwise benefited from the increased regional economic activity.
  • For every $1 million spent on rural highway or intermodal expansion, the report estimated that an average of 2.9 local, long-term jobs were created at nearby locations as a result of improved access. An additional 1.6 jobs were created outside the local area, including businesses that supplied local businesses or otherwise benefited from the increased regional economic activity.
  • The report found that highway and intermodal capacity projects in urban areas created a greater number of long-term jobs than in rural areas, largely due to the more robust economic environment and greater density in urban communities.
  • According to the 2015 Status of the Nation’s Highways, Bridges and Transit: Conditions and Performance report submitted by the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) to Congress, the nation faces an $836 billion backlog in needed repairs and improvements to the nation’s roads, highways and bridges.
  • The USDOT report found that the nation’s current $105 billion investment in roads, highways and bridges by all levels of government should be increased by 35 percent to $142.5 billion annually to improve the conditions of roads, highways and bridges, relieve traffic congestion and improve traffic safety.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

TRIP Reports: Kansas Motorists Lose $2.7 Billion Per Year On Roads That Are Rough, Congested & Lack Some Safety Features

Kansas Motorists Lose $2.7 Billion Per Year On Roads That Are Rough, Congested & Lack Some Safety Features – As Much As $1,600 In Some Areas. Kansas’ Ability To Repair And Improve Transportation System Hampered By $2.4 Billion Transfer Of Highway Funds To State General Fund From 2011 To 2017.

Roads and bridges that are deteriorated, congested or lack some desirable safety features cost Kansas motorists a total of $2.7 billion statewide annually – as much as $1,600 in some urban areas – due to higher vehicle operating costs, traffic crashes and congestion-related delays. The ability of the Kansas Department of Transportation to repair and improve the state’s transportation system has been hampered by the transfer of $2.4 billion in state highway funds to state general funds between FY2011 and FY2017, according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation organization. Governor Sam Brownback’s FY 2018/FY 2019 budget proposal would increase transfers of state highway funds to state general funds and other state agencies to $3.4 billion from FY 2011 to FY 2019.

The TRIP report, Kansas Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe, Smooth and Efficient Mobility,” finds that throughout Kansas, more than one-third of major, locally and state-maintained urban roads are in poor or mediocre condition and nine percent of Kansas’s locally and state-maintained bridges are structurally deficient. The state’s major urban roads are becoming increasingly congested, with drivers wasting significant amounts of time and fuel each year. Kansas’ rural roads have a traffic fatality rate four-and-a-half times higher than on all other roads.

Driving on Kansas roads costs the state’s driver $2.7 billion per year in the form of extra vehicle operating costs (VOC) as a result of driving on roads in need of repair, lost time and fuel due to congestion-related delays, and the costs of traffic crashes in which the lack of adequate roadway safety features likely were a contributing factor. The TRIP report calculates the cost to motorists of insufficient roads in the Johnson/Wyandotte County, Topeka and Wichita urban areas. A breakdown of the costs per motorist in each area along with a statewide total is below.

The TRIP report finds that 37 percent of Kansas’ major locally and state-maintained urban roads and highways have pavements in poor condition and 26 percent are rated in mediocre condition. Thirteen percent of the state’s major urban roads are in fair condition and the remaining 24 percent are rated in good condition. Driving on rough roads costs Kansas drivers an additional $1 billion each year in extra vehicle operating costs, including accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear. The report found that deferring maintenance on roads and highways can greatly increase long-term repair costs, with each dollar of deferred maintenance on roads and bridges being found to cost an additional $4 to $5 in needed future repairs.

“The economic vitality of our state depends on Kansas commerce, which in turn relies on safe and well-maintained roads and bridges,” said Rodney George, senior vice president of The Benning State Bank. “Our customers, many of which are farmers who need to get their products to market, depend on good roads every day. The financial stress of an underfunded infrastructure program impacts many more businesses and people than just road and bridge construction companies. Kansas citizens deserve a well-funded and sustainable roads program.”

Traffic congestion throughout the state is worsening, costing the state’s drivers $1 billion annually in lost time and wasted fuel. 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.

Nine percent of Kansas’ 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.

Traffic crashes in Kansas claimed the lives of 1,881 people between 2011 and 2015, an average of 376 fatalities per year. Kansas’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.13 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel is the same as the national average.

“Our Chamber members and Johnson County voters recognize the importance of a quality, well-maintained, comprehensive transportation network of highways, roads and bridges throughout the state of Kansas,” said Tracey Osborne, president of the Overland Park Chamber of Commerce. “They understand that the speed, reliability, capacity and overall effectiveness of the state’s transportation system are crucial not only for quality of life for our residents, but also for job creation, economic development, and business retention and expansion in Kansas. We are all concerned with delays in previously approved projects as well as significant curtailment of regular maintenance of highways and bridges throughout the state as a result of the diversion of funds from the Kansas Highway Fund and the deterioration of the quality of our highways and bridges. This work will only become more expensive with time, costing us more the longer it is put off; thus, we strongly support protecting existing transportation funding sources at the state level and a federal multi-year funding plan for the nation’s surface transportation infrastructure.”

The efficiency and condition of Kansas’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy. Annually, $395 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in Kansas, mostly by truck. Eighty-two percent of the goods shipped annually to and from sites in Kansas are carried by trucks and another 12 percent are carried by courier services or multiple mode deliveries, which include trucking.

“The condition of Kansas’s transportation system will worsen in the future as additional monies are diverted away from the highway fund, leading to even higher costs for drivers,” said Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director. “In order to promote economic growth, foster quality of life and get drivers safety and efficiently to their destination, Kansas will need to make transportation funding a top priority.”

Executive Summary

KANSAS TRANSPORTATION BY THE NUMBERS:

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

Ten Key Transportation Numbers in Kansas

 

$2.7 billion

Driving on deficient roads costs Kansas motorists a total of $2.7 billion annually in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC), congestion-related delays and traffic crashes.
Johnson/Wyandotte Counties – $1,596

Topeka – $1,453

Wichita – $1,597

TRIP has calculated the cost to the average motorist in the state’s largest urban areas in the form of additional VOC, congestion-related delays and traffic crashes. Drivers in the state’s largest urban areas incur annual costs as a result of driving on deficient roads as follows: Johnson/Wyandotte Counties – $1,596; Topeka – $1,453; Wichita – $1,597.
 

 

$2.4 billion

$3.4 billion

The ability of the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) to repair and improve the state’s transportation system has been hampered by the transfer of $2.4 billion in state highway funds to state general funds and other state agencies between fiscal year 2011 and fiscal year 2017. Governor Sam Brownback’s FY 2018/FY 2019 budget proposal would increase transfers of state highway funds to state general funds and other state agencies to $3.4 billion from FY 2011 to FY 2019.
 

14%

15%

Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in Kansas increased by 14 percent from 2000 to 2016 –from 28.1 billion VMT in 2000 to 32.1 billion VMT in 2016. By 2030, vehicle travel in Kansas is projected to increase by another 15 percent.
4 1/2 X The fatality rate on Kansas’ rural roads is approximately four-and-a-half times greater than the fatality rate on all other roads in the state (2.24 fatalities per 100 million VMT vs. 0.50).
 

37%

Thirty-seven percent of Kansas’ major urban roads are in poor or mediocre condition. Eight percent are in fair condition and the remaining 56 percent are in good condition.
$1 = $4 to $5 Every $1 of deferred maintenance on roads and bridges has been found to cost an additional $4 to $5 in needed future repairs.
 

9%

Nine percent of Kansas’ bridges are structurally deficient, meaning they have significant deterioration to the major components of the bridge.
Johnson/Wyandotte Counties – 39 hours

Topeka – 16 hours

Wichita – 35 hours

Mounting congestion robs drivers of time and fuel. Annual time wasted in congestion for drivers in the state’s largest urban areas is as follows: Johnson/Wyandotte Counties – 39 hours, Topeka – 16 hours, Wichita- 35 hours.
 

$1.00 = $5.20

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

Executive Summary

The rate of economic growth in Kansas, which is greatly impacted by the reliability and condition of the state’s transportation system, has a significant impact on quality of life in the Sunflower State. Yet, the ability of Kansans to reap the quality of life and economic benefits of a well-maintained, safe and efficient transportation system is threatened by the continued diversion of state highway funds to the state’s general fund.

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

With an economy based largely on manufacturing, agriculture and natural resource extraction, the quality of Kansas’ transportation system plays a vital role in the state’s economic growth and quality of life.

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

COST TO KANSAS MOTORISTS OF DEFICIENT ROADS

An inadequate transportation system costs Kansas motorists a total of $2.7 billion every year in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC), congestion-related delays and traffic crashes.

  • Driving on rough roads costs Kansas motorists a total of $1 billion annually in extra vehicle operating costs. Costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.
  • Traffic crashes in which roadway design was likely a contributing factor costs Kansas motorists a total of $730 million each year in the form of lost household and workplace productivity, insurance and other financial costs.
  • Traffic congestion costs Kansas motorists a total of $1 billion each year in the form of lost time and wasted fuel.
  • The chart below details the average cost per driver in the state’s largest urban areas and statewide.

POPULATION, TRAVEL AND ECONOMIC TRENDS IN KANSAS

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

  • Kansas’ population reached approximately 2.9 million residents in 2016, an eight percent increase since 2000. Kansas had approximately 2 million licensed drivers in 2015.
  • Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in Kansas increased by 14 percent from 2000 to 2016 –from 28.1 billion VMT in 2000 to 32.1 billion VMT in 2016. From 2013 to 2016, VMT in the state increased by six percent.
  • From 2000 to 2015, Kansas’ gross domestic product, a measure of the state’s economic output, increased by 23 percent, when adjusted for inflation. U.S. GDP increased 27 percent during this time.
  • By 2030, vehicle travel in Kansas is projected to increase by another 15 percent.

KANSAS ROAD CONDITIONS

A lack of adequate state and local funding has resulted in 37 percent of major roads and highways in Kansas having pavement surfaces in poor or mediocre condition, providing a rough ride and costing motorists in the form of additional vehicle operating costs.  Deferring maintenance on roads and highways can greatly increase long-term repair costs.

  • The pavement data in this report, which is for all arterial and collector roads and highways, is provided by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), based on data submitted annually by the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) on the condition of major state and locally maintained roads and highways.
  • Pavement data for Interstate highways and other principal arterials is collected for all system mileage, whereas pavement data for minor arterial and all collector roads and highways is based on sampling portions of roadways as prescribed by FHWA to insure that the data collected is adequate to provide an accurate assessment of pavement conditions on these roads and highways.
  • Thirteen percent of Kansas’ major locally and state-maintained roads and highways have pavements in poor condition and 24 percent are rated in mediocre condition. Eight percent of the state’s major roads are in fair condition and the remaining 56 percent are rated in good condition.
  • Thirty-seven percent of Kansas’ major locally and state-maintained urban roads and highways have pavements in poor condition and 26 percent are rated in mediocre condition. Thirteen percent of the state’s major urban roads are in fair condition and the remaining 24 percent are rated in good condition.
  • Nine percent of Kansas’ locally and state-maintained rural roads and highways have pavements in poor condition and 23 percent are rated in mediocre condition. Seven percent of the state’s rural roads are in fair condition and the remaining 62 percent are rated in good condition.
  • The chart below details the share of pavement in poor, mediocre, fair and good condition in the state’s largest urban areas.

  • Roads rated in mediocre to poor condition may show signs of deterioration, including rutting, cracks and potholes. In some cases, these roads can be resurfaced, but often are too deteriorated and must be reconstructed.
  • Driving on rough roads costs Kansas motorists a total of $1 billion annually in extra vehicle operating costs. Costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.
  • Long-term repair costs increase significantly when road and bridge maintenance is deferred, as road and bridge deterioration accelerates later in the service life of a transportation facility and requires more costly repairs. A report on maintaining pavements found that every $1 of deferred maintenance on roads and bridges costs an additional $4 to $5 in needed future repairs.

KANSAS BRIDGE CONDITIONS

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

  • Nine percent of Kansas’ bridges are structurally deficient. A bridge is structurally deficient if there is significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components. Structurally deficient bridges are often posted for lower weight or closed to traffic, restricting or redirecting large vehicles, including commercial trucks and emergency services vehicles. 
  • The chart below details the share of structurally deficient bridges in Johnson and Wyandotte Counties, Topeka and Wichita and statewide.

HIGHWAY SAFETY AND FATALITY RATES IN KANSAS

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

  • A total of 1,881 people were killed in Kansas traffic crashes from 2011 to 2015, an average of 376 fatalities per year.
  • Kansas’ overall traffic fatality rate of 1.13 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2015 was the same as the national average of 1.13.
  • The fatality rate on Kansas’ non-interstate rural roads in 2015 was approximately four-and-a-half times greater than on all other roads in the state (2.24 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs. 0.50).
  • The chart below details the average number of people killed in traffic crashes from 2013 to 2015 in the state’s largest urban areas, as well as the cost per motorist of traffic crashes.

  • Traffic crashes in Kansas imposed a total of $2.2 billion in economic costs in 2015. TRIP estimates that traffic crashes in which roadway features were likely a contributing factor imposed $730 million in economic costs in 2015.
  • According to a 2015 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report, the economic costs of traffic crashes includes work and household productivity losses, property damage, medical costs, rehabilitation costs, legal and court costs, congestion costs and emergency services.
  • Roadway features that impact safety include the number of lanes, lane widths, lighting, lane markings, rumble strips, shoulders, guard rails, other shielding devices, median barriers and intersection design. The cost of serious crashes includes lost productivity, lost earnings, medical costs and emergency services.
  • Several factors are associated with vehicle crashes that result in fatalities, including driver behavior, vehicle characteristics and roadway features. TRIP estimates that roadway features are likely a contributing factor in approximately one-third of fatal traffic crashes.
  • Where appropriate, highway improvements can reduce traffic fatalities and crashes while improving traffic flow to help relieve congestion. Such improvements include removing or shielding obstacles; adding or improving medians; improved lighting; adding rumble strips, wider lanes, wider and paved shoulders; upgrading roads from two lanes to four lanes; and better road markings and traffic signals.
  • Investments in rural traffic safety have been found to result in significant reductions in serious traffic crashes. A 2012 report by the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) found that improvements completed recently by the Texas Department of Transportation that widened lanes, improved shoulders and made other safety improvements on 1,159 miles of rural state roadways resulted in 133 fewer fatalities on these roads in the first three years after the improvements were completed (as compared to the three years prior).   TTI estimates that the improvements on these roads are likely to save 880 lives over 20 years.

KANSAS TRAFFIC CONGESTION

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

  • Based on Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) estimates, the value of lost time and wasted fuel in Kansas is approximately $1 billion per year
  • The chart below details the number of hours lost to congestion by the average driver in the state’s largest urban areas, as well as the annual cost of traffic congestion per driver in the form of lost time and wasted fuel

 

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

TRANSPORTATION FUNDING IN KANSAS

Investment in Kansas’ roads, highways and bridges is funded by local, state and federal governments. The continued transfer of state highway funds to the state general fund threatens the state’s ability to provide a well-maintained, safe and efficient transportation system. The five-year federal surface transportation program includes modest funding increases and provides states with greater funding certainty, but falls far short of providing the level of funding needed to meet the nation’s highway and transit needs. The bill does not include a long-term and sustainable revenue source. The nation faces a significant shortfall in needed funding for road, highway and bridge improvements.

  • The ability of the Kansas Department of Transportation to repair and improve the state’s transportation system has been hampered by the transfer of $2.4 billion in state highway funds to state general funds and other state agencies between fiscal year 2011 and fiscal year 2017.

 

  • Governor Sam Brownback’s FY 2018/FY 2019 budget proposal would increase transfers of state highway funds to state general funds to $3.4 billion from FY 2011 to FY 2019.
  • $700 million of the $2.4 billion transferred out of the state’s highway fund between FY 2011 and FY 2017 and $200 million out of the additional $1 billion of state highway funds proposed to be transferred in the Governor’s FY 2018/FY 2019 budget proposal, are part of the state’s Transportation Works for Kansas (T-Works) program.
  • Signed into law in December 2015, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act), provides modest increases in federal highway and transit spending, allows states greater long-term funding certainty and streamlines the federal project approval process. But the FAST Act does not provide adequate funding to meet the nation’s need for highway and transit improvements and does not include a long-term and sustainable funding source.
  • The five-year, $305 billion FAST Act will provide a boost of approximately 15 percent in national highway funding and 18 percent in national transit funding over the duration of the program, which expires in 2020.
  • According to the 2015 Status of the Nation’s Highways, Bridges and Transit: Conditions and Performance report submitted by the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) to Congress, the nation faces an $836 billion backlog in needed repairs and improvements to the nation’s roads, highways and bridges.
  • The USDOT report found that the nation’s current $105 billion investment in roads, highways and bridges by all levels of government should be increased by 35 percent to $142.5 billion annually to improve the conditions of roads, highways and bridges, relieve traffic congestion and improve traffic safety.

TRANSPORTATION AND ECONOMIC GROWTH IN KANSAS

The efficiency of Kansas’ 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, $395 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in Kansas, mostly by truck.
  • Eighty-two percent of the goods shipped annually to and from sites in Kansas are carried by trucks and another 12 percent are carried by courier services or multiple mode deliveries, which include trucking.
  • Increasingly, companies are looking at the quality of a region’s transportation system when deciding where to re-locate or expand. Regions with congested or poorly maintained roads may see businesses relocate to areas with a smoother, more efficient and more modern transportation system.
  • Highway accessibility was ranked the number two site selection factor behind only the availability of skilled labor in a 2015 survey of corporate executives by Area Development Magazine.
  • The Federal Highway Administration estimates that each dollar spent on road, highway and bridge improvements results in an average benefit of $5.20 in the form of reduced vehicle maintenance costs, reduced delays, reduced fuel consumption, improved safety, reduced road and bridge maintenance costs and reduced emissions as a result of improved traffic flow.

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