Ten Key Transportation Numbers in West Virginia
|Driving on rough roads costs the average West Virginia motorist $333 annually in extra vehicle operating costs– a total of $400 million statewide annually. The average Charleston-area motorist loses $383 each year as a result of driving on rough roads . Additional vehicle operating costs result from driving on rough roads and include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.|
West Virginia’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.78 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2011 was the second highest nationally (behind only Montana at 1.79) and was 62 percent higher than the national average of 1.10.
A total of 35 percent of West Virginia bridges are in need of repair, improvement or replacement. Thirteen percent of the state’s bridges are structurally deficient and 22 percent are functionally obsolete.
If a lack of adequate revenue into the Federal Highway Trust Fund is not addressed by Congress, funding for highway and transit improvements in West Virginia will be cut by $425 million for the federal fiscal year beginning October 1, 2014.
The fatality rate on West Virginia’s non-interstate rural roads is more than double the rate on all other roads in the state (2.54 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs. 1.19).
Thirty-six percent of West Virginia’s major roads are in either poor or mediocre condition. Forty-two percent of Charleston-area major roads are in poor or mediocre condition.
On average, 364 people were killed annually in West Virginia traffic crashes from 2007 to 2011, a total of 1,820 fatalities over the five year period.
From 2007 to 2011, the federal government provided $2.26 for road improvements in West Virginia for every $1.00 paid in federal motor fuel fees. From 2007 to 2011, federal revenues accounted for 34 percent of state spending on West Virginia’s roads, highways and bridges.
Vehicle miles of travel in West Virginia increased 23 percent from 1990 to 2011 and are expected to increase another 20 percent by 2030.
$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.
West Virginia’s extensive system of roads, highways and bridges provides the state’s residents, visitors and businesses with a high level of mobility. This transportation system forms the backbone that supports the state’s economy. West Virginia’s surface transportation system enables the state’s residents and visitors to travel to work and school, visit family and friends, and frequent tourist and recreation attractions while providing its businesses with reliable access to customers, materials, suppliers and employees.
As West Virginia looks to retain its businesses, continue its level of economic competitiveness and achieve further economic growth, the state will need to maintain and modernize its roads, highways and bridges by improving the physical condition of its transportation network and enhancing the system’s ability to provide efficient and reliable mobility for motorists and businesses. Making needed improvements to West Virginia’s roads, highways and bridges could also provide a significant boost to the state’s economy by creating jobs in the short term and stimulating long term economic growth as a result of enhanced mobility and access.
With a current unemployment rate of 6.1 percent and with the state’s population continuing to grow, West Virginia must improve its system of roads, highways and bridges to foster economic growth and keep businesses in the state. In addition to economic growth, transportation improvements are needed to ensure safe, reliable mobility and quality of life for all West Virginians. Meeting West Virginia’s need to modernize and maintain its system of roads, highways and bridges will require a significant boost in local, state and federal funding.
Signed into law in July 2012, MAP-21 (Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act), the current federal surface transportation program, will fund surface transportation programs in West Virginia at approximately $424 million annually for fiscal years 2013 and 2014.
While the new federal surface transportation program has streamlined several procedures that in the past had delayed projects, MAP-21 does not address long-term funding challenges facing the federal surface transportation program. As a result, nationwide federal funding for highways is expected to be cut by almost 100 percent from the current investment level for the fiscal year starting on October 1, 2014 (FY 2015) unless Congress provides additional transportation revenues. This is due to a cash shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund as projected by the Congressional Budget Office.
The level of funding and the provisions of the federal surface transportation program have a significant impact on highway and bridge conditions, roadway safety, transit service, quality of life and economic development opportunities in West Virginia.
Population and economic growth in West Virginia have resulted in increased demands on the state’s major roads and highways, leading to increased wear and tear on the transportation system.
- West Virginia’s population reached nearly 1.9 million in 2012, a three percent increase since 1990. West Virginia had 1,198,837 licensed drivers in 2011.
- Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in West Virginia increased 23 percent from 1990 to 2011 – jumping from 15.4 billion VMT in 1990 to 19 billion VMT in 2011.
- By 2030, vehicle travel in West Virginia is projected to increase by another 20 percent.
- From 1990 to 2011, West Virginia’s gross domestic product, a measure of the state’s economic output, increased by 37 percent, when adjusted for inflation.
One-third of major locally and state-maintained roads and highways in West Virginia have pavement surfaces in poor or mediocre condition, providing a rough ride and costing motorist in the form of additional vehicle operating costs.
- Twelve percent of West Virginia’s major roads and highways have pavements in poor condition while an additional 24 percent of the state’s major roads are rated in mediocre condition. Eighteen percent are rated in fair condition and the remaining 46 percent are rated in good condition.
- The pavement data in this report for all arterial roads and highways is provided by the Federal Highway Administration, based on data submitted annually by the West Virginia Department of Transportation (WVDOT) on the condition of major state and locally maintained roads and highways.
- In the Charleston urban area, 15 percent of major locally and state-maintained roads are rated in poor condition and 28 percent are rated in mediocre condition. Twenty-six percent of major roads in the Charleston area are rated in fair condition and 31 percent are rated in good condition.
- Roads rated in poor condition may show signs of deterioration, including rutting, cracks and potholes. In some cases, poor roads can be resurfaced, but often are too deteriorated and must be reconstructed. Roads rated in mediocre condition may show signs of significant wear and may also have some visible pavement distress. Most pavements in mediocre condition can be repaired by resurfacing, but some may need more extensive reconstruction to return them to good condition.
- Driving on rough roads costs West Virginia motorists a total of $400 million annually in extra vehicle operating costs. Costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.
- Driving on rough roads costs the average West Virginian motorists $333 annually and the average Charleston-area driver $383 in extra vehicle operating costs.
More than one-third of locally and state-maintained bridges in West Virginia show significant deterioration or do not meet current design standards, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment. This includes all bridges that are 20 feet or more in length.
- Thirteen percent of West Virginia’s bridges are structurally deficient. A bridge is structurally deficient if there is significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components. Structurally deficient bridges are often posted for lower weight or closed to traffic, restricting or redirecting large vehicles, including commercial trucks and emergency services vehicles.
- Twenty-two percent of West Virginia’s bridges are functionally obsolete. Bridges that are functionally obsolete no longer meet current highway design standards, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment.
West Virginia’s traffic fatality rate is the second highest in the nation. Improving safety features on West Virginia’s roads and highways would likely result in a decrease in the state’s traffic fatalities and serious crashes. Roadway features are likely a contributing factor in approximately one-third of all fatal and serious traffic crashes.
- West Virginia’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.78 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2011 was the second highest nationally, behind only Montana at 1.79. West Virginia’s traffic fatality rate was 62 percent higher than the national average of 1.10.
- Between 2007 and 2011 a total of 1,820 people were killed in traffic crashes in West Virginia, an average of 364 fatalities per year.
- The fatality rate on West Virginia’s rural non-Interstate roads was 2.54 fatalities per 100 vehicle miles of travel in 2011, more than double the 1.19 fatality rate on all other roads and highways in the state.
- Roadway features that impact safety include the number of lanes, lane widths, lighting, lane markings, rumble strips, shoulders, guard rails, other shielding devices, median barriers and intersection design. The cost of serious crashes includes lost productivity, lost earnings, medical costs and emergency services.
- Several factors are associated with vehicle crashes that result in fatalities, including driver behavior, vehicle characteristics and roadway features. TRIP estimates that roadway features are likely a contributing factor in approximately one-third of fatal traffic crashes.
- Where appropriate, highway improvements can reduce traffic fatalities and crashes while improving traffic flow to help relieve congestion. Such improvements include removing or shielding obstacles; adding or improving medians; improved lighting; adding rumble strips, wider lanes, wider and paved shoulders; upgrading roads from two lanes to four lanes; and better road markings and traffic signals.
- Investments in rural traffic safety have been found to result in significant reductions in serious traffic crashes. A 2012 report by the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) found that improvements completed recently by the Texas Department of Transportation that widened lanes, improved shoulders and made other safety improvements on 1,159 miles of rural state roadways resulted in 133 fewer fatalities on these roads in the first three years after the improvements were completed (as compared to the three years prior). TTI estimates that the improvements on these roads are likely to save 880 lives over the next 20 years.
The efficiency of West Virginia’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy. Businesses are increasingly reliant on an efficient and reliable transportation system to move products and services. A key component in business efficiency and success is the level and ease of access to customers, markets, materials and workers.
- Annually, $49.8 billion in goods are shipped from sites in West Virginia and another $54.1 billion in goods are shipped to sites in West Virginia, mostly by truck.
- Sixty-five percent of the goods shipped annually from sites in West Virginia 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.
- 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.
- Highway accessibility was ranked the number one site selection factor in a 2011 survey of corporate executives by Area Development Magazine.
- A 2007 analysis by the Federal Highway Administration found that every $1 billion invested in highway construction would support approximately 27,800 jobs, including approximately 9,500 in the construction sector, approximately 4,300 jobs in industries supporting the construction sector, and approximately 14,000 other jobs induced in non-construction related sectors of the economy.
- The Federal Highway Administration estimates that each dollar spent on road, highway and bridge improvements results in an average benefit of $5.20 in the form of reduced vehicle maintenance costs, reduced delays, reduced fuel consumption, improved safety, reduced road and bridge maintenance costs and reduced emissions as a result of improved traffic flow.
The federal government remains a critical source of funding for West Virginia’s roads, highways and bridges and provides a significant return to West Virginia in road and bridge funding based on the revenue generated in the state by the federal motor fuel tax.
- MAP-21, approved by Congress in July 2012, greatly increased funding flexibility for states and streamlined project approval processes to improve the efficiency of state and local transportation agencies in providing needed transportation improvements in the state.
- MAP-21 does not provide sufficient long-term revenues to support the current level of federal surface transportation investment. Nationwide federal funding for highways is expected to be cut by almost 100 percent from the current investment level for the fiscal year starting October 1, 2014 (FY 2015) unless Congress provides additional transportation revenues. This is due to a cash shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund as projected by the Congressional Budget Office.
- If a lack of adequate revenue into the Federal Highway Trust Fund is not addressed by Congress, funding for highway and transit improvements in West Virginia will be cut by $425 million for the federal fiscal year beginning October 1, 2014.
- From 2007 to 2011, the federal government provided $2.26 for road improvements in West Virginia for every dollar the state paid in federal motor fuel fees.
- From 2007 to 2011, federal revenues accounted for 34 percent of state spending on West Virginia’s roads, highways and bridges.
Sources of information for this report include the West Virginia Department of Transportation (WVDOT), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the U.S. Census Bureau, the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). All data used in the report is the latest available