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

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

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

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

The TRIP report calculates the cost to motorists of insufficient roads in the Cincinnati, Cleveland-Akron, Columbus, Dayton and Toledo urban areas. These costs come in the form of extra vehicle operating costs (VOC) as a result of driving on roads in need of repair, lost time and fuel due to congestion-related delays, and the costs of traffic crashes in which roadway features likely were a contributing factor. A breakdown of the costs per motorist in the state’s largest urban areas along with a statewide total is below.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The efficiency and condition of Ohio’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy.  Annually, $1.1 trillion in goods are shipped to and from sites in Ohio, relying heavily on the state’s network of roads and bridges. Increasingly, companies are looking at the quality of a region’s transportation system when deciding where to re-locate or expand. Regions with congested or poorly maintained roads may see businesses relocate to areas with a smoother, more efficient and more modern transportation system.

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

Modernizing Ohio’s Transportation System

 

Executive Summary

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

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

This report examines the condition, use and safety of Ohio’s roads, highways and bridges and future mobility needs.  Sources of information for this report include the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the U.S. Census Bureau, the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI), the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA)and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

DRIVING COSTS IN OHIO

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

  • Driving on rough roads costs Ohio motorists a total of $3.5 billion annually in extra vehicle operating costs (VOC). These costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.
  • Based on research indicating that roadway design is likely a contributing factor in approximately one-third of serious and fatal traffic crashes, TRIP estimates that the economic costs of serious and fatal traffic crashes in Ohio, in which roadway design was likely a contributing factor, is $3.9 billion each year. These costs come in the form of lost household and workplace productivity, insurance and other financial costs.
  • Traffic congestion costs Ohio motorists a total of $4.6 billion each year in the form of lost time and wasted fuel.
  • The chart below details the average cost per driver in the state’s largest urban areas as well as statewide.

TRANSPORTATION FUNDING AND NEEDED TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS

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

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

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

IMPACT OF INFLATION ON FEDERAL AND STATE MOTOR FUEL USER FEES

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

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

POPULATION, ECONOMIC AND TRAVEL TRENDS

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

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

OHIO ROAD CONDITIONS

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

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

BRIDGE CONDITIONS IN OHIO

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

  • Statewide, seven percent of Ohio’s bridges are structurally deficient. A bridge is structurally deficient if there is significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components. Structurally deficient bridges are often posted for lower weight or closed to traffic, restricting or redirecting large vehicles, including commercial trucks and emergency services vehicles. 
  • Since 2013, ODOT has invested $140 million to repair and replace hundreds of deteriorating bridges owned by local governments through the Ohio Bridge Partnership Program.

OHIO TRAFFIC CONGESTION

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

  • The chart below details the number of hours lost to congestion annually for the average driver in Ohio’s largest urban areas. It also includes the cost of congestion per motorist, in the form of lost time and wasted fuel.

TRAFFIC SAFETY AND FATALITY RATES IN OHIO

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

  • A total of 5,360 people were killed in Ohio traffic crashes from 2012 to 2016, an average of 1,072 fatalities per year.
  • Ohio’s overall traffic fatality rate of 0.95 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2016 was below the national average of 1.18.
  • The fatality rate on Ohio’s non-interstate rural roads in 2016 was approximately two-and-a-half times higher than on all other roads in the state (1.84 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs. 0.71).
  • Several factors are associated with vehicle crashes that result in fatalities, including driver behavior, vehicle characteristics and roadway features. TRIP estimates that roadway features are likely a contributing factor in approximately one-third of fatal traffic crashes.
  • Where appropriate, highway improvements can reduce traffic fatalities and crashes while improving traffic flow to help relieve congestion. Such improvements include removing or shielding obstacles; adding or improving medians; improved lighting; adding rumble strips, wider lanes, wider and paved shoulders; upgrading roads from two lanes to four lanes; and better road markings and traffic signals.

FEDERAL TRANSPORTATION FUNDING IN OHIO

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

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

TRANSPORTATION AND ECONOMIC GROWTH IN OHIO

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

  • Annually, $1.1 trillion in goods are shipped to and from sites in Ohio, mostly by truck.
  • Seventy-eight percent of the goods shipped annually to and from sites in Ohio are carried by trucks and another 12 percent are carried by courier services or multiple mode deliveries, which include trucking.
  • The design, construction and maintenance of transportation infrastructure in Ohio supports 132,374 full-time jobs across all sectors of the state economy. These workers earn $5.5 billion annually.
  • Approximately 2.4 million full-time jobs in Ohio in key industries like tourism, retail sales, agriculture and manufacturing are dependent on the state’s transportation infrastructure network.
  • Increasingly, companies are looking at the quality of a region’s transportation system when deciding where to re-locate or expand. Regions with congested or poorly maintained roads may see businesses relocate to areas with a smoother, more efficient and more modern transportation system.
  • Highwayaccessibility was ranked the number one site selection factor in a 2017 survey of corporate executives by Area Development Magazine. Labor costs and the availability of skilled labor, which are both impacted by a site’s level of accessibility, were rated second and third, respectively.
  • The Federal Highway Administrationestimates that each dollar spent on road, highway and bridge improvements results in an average benefit of $5.20 in the form of reduced vehicle maintenance costs, reduced delays, reduced fuel consumption, improved safety, reduced road and bridge maintenance costs and reduced emissions as a result of improved traffic flow. 

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

 

 

TRIP Reports: Ohio Faces Deficient Roads & Bridges, High Rural Fatality Rates, Mounting Congestion And Insufficient Transportation Funds. With Spending Set To Decrease In 2016, State Faces $11.6 Billion Shortfall In Needed Funds For Transportation Improvements.

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

The TRIP report, Modernizing Ohio’s Transportation System: Progress and Challenges in Providing a Safe, Efficient and Well-Maintained Transportation System,” finds that while the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) has been able to boost annual spending on highways and bridges over the last four years, funding is set to decrease significantly in 2016 and 2017 and the state faces an $11.6 billion shortfall in funding for needed road, highway and bridge improvements. According to the TRIP report, nearly one-quarter of major urban roads are in poor condition, while approximately a quarter of locally and state-maintained bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. The state’s major urban roads are becoming increasingly congested and the fatality rate on Ohio’s rural roads is disproportionately high.

Twenty-four percent of Ohio’s major locally and state-maintained urban roads are in poor condition, while 41 percent are in mediocre or fair condition and the remaining 35 percent are in good condition. State-maintained roads are generally in better condition, with 98 percent of urban and rural state-maintained roads in acceptable condition.

Ohio’s bridges are also showing signs of their age, with approximately a quarter of locally and state-maintained bridges rated as structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. Eight percent of Ohio’s locally or state-maintained bridges are structurally deficient, meaning they have significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components. These bridges are often posted for lower weights or closed to traffic restricting or redirecting large vehicles, including commercial trucks and emergency response vehicles. An additional 16 percent of Ohio’s locally and state-maintained bridges are functionally obsolete. Bridges that are functionally obsolete no longer meet current design standards, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment.

“TRIP’s report once again demonstrates that more must be done to secure funding for our state’s roads and bridges,” said Kimberly Schwind, senior public relations manager for AAA Ohio Auto Club.  “Our leaders in Ohio and Washington must recognize the importance of this issue before it’s too late. Central Ohioans rely on our roads and bridges every day, and putting off tough decisions will only lead to longer commutes, more potholes and unsafe roads.”

Traffic crashes in Ohio claimed the lives of 5,229 people between 2009 and 2013, an average of 1,046 fatalities each year. The state’s overall traffic fatality rate of 0.88 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel is lower than the national average of 1.09. But, Ohio’s rural non-Interstate roads have significantly higher rates of fatal crashes, with a traffic fatality rate of 1.91 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel, more than three times the 0.58 fatality rate on all other roads and highways in the state.

Increasing traffic congestion is causing delays and increasing business operating costs. The efficiency and condition of Ohio’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy. Annually, $563 billion in goods are shipped from sites in Ohio and another $493 billion in goods are shipped to sites in Ohio, mostly by truck.

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

In addition to state and local funding, the federal government is a critical source of funding for Ohio’s roads, highways and bridges. However, after a series of short-term extensions by Congress, the current federal transportation legislation is set to expire on July 31, 2015. Many needed projects throughout the state will require significant federal funding in order to proceed by 2020. These projects include reconstruction of portions of Interstates 70 and 71 in the Columbus area, the reconfiguration of portions of Interstate 270 in the Columbus area, the widening of a portion of Interstate 80 in the Youngstown area, the widening and reconstruction of a portion of Interstate 77 in Cuyahoga County, the reconstruction of the Main Street/Broadway Street interchange with Interstate 76 in Akron, the construction of the Opportunity Corridor highway in the Cleveland area, the reconstruction and widening of portions of Interstate 75 in the Cincinnati area and the replacement of the Brent Spence Bridge over the Ohio River in Cincinnati. A full list of projects threatened by a lack of adequate federal funding can be found in the report’s Appendix.

“Ohio’s transportation system will become increasingly deteriorated and congested if greater funding is not made available at the local, state and federal levels,” said Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director. “Congress can help by approving a long-term federal surface transportation program that provides adequate funding levels, based on a reliable funding source. If not, Ohio is going to see its future federal funding threatened, resulting in fewer road and bridge improvements, loss of jobs, and a burden on the state’s economy.”

MODERNIZING OHIO’S TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM:

Progress and Challenges in Providing a Safe, Efficient and Well-Maintained Transportation System
Executive Summary

            Ohio’s extensive system of roads, highways, bridges and public transit 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 and quality of life for all Ohioans.

As Ohio looks to retain its businesses, maintain its level of economic competitiveness and achieve further economic growth, the state will need to continue 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, safe and reliable mobility for motorists and businesses. Making needed improvements to Ohio’s transportation system could also provide a 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.

Located within a day’s drive of 60 percent of the population of the United States and Canada, Ohio must continue to improve its transportation system to foster economic growth and keep and attract businesses. In addition to economic growth, transportation improvements are needed to ensure safe, reliable mobility. Meeting Ohio’s need to further modernize and maintain its transportation system of roads, highways, bridges and public transit will require significant local, state and federal funding.

In the face of stagnant transportation revenue growth, Ohio has been able to increase its construction investment in the state’s roads, highways and bridges from $1.6 billion in 2011 to $2.4 billion in 2014 and 2015. This was achieved by reducing operating costs through staff attrition and streamlining, modernizing budgeting practices, allowing greater flexibility to modify projects, improving the efficiency of project design and delivery, and the 2013 approval of the use of Ohio Turnpike bonds on transportation projects.

But the recently adopted state transportation budget reduces annual state highway and bridge construction spending to $1.9 billion in 2016 (contingent on the sale of Turnpike toll-backed bonds) and to $1.7 billion in 2017.

Increases in state transportation investment have kept Ohio’s state-maintained roads, highways and bridges largely in acceptable or good condition and have allowed numerous, needed road, highway and bridge projects to proceed. Despite this, the state faces an $11.6 billion backlog in needed but unfunded road, highway and bridge improvements.

Ohio also faces the following transportation challenges: improving the condition of locally-maintained roads, highways and bridges; maintaining the condition of state-maintained roads, highways and bridges; improving roadway safety; relieving traffic congestion; and, providing additional highway access to support economic growth. The state’s ability to address these challenges could be jeopardized by uncertainty in the future levels of federal transportation funding.

Achieving Ohio’s goals for a modern, well-maintained and safe transportation system will require significant transportation investment at the local, state and federal level.

TRIP OH 1Despite the lack of recent increases in state or federal transportation revenues, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) has been able to boost annual spending on roads, highways and bridges over the last four years through operational improvements and the use of bonds backed by the Ohio Turnpike. This increased investment has allowed Ohio to keep state-maintained roads, highways and bridges largely in acceptable condition. However, it has not been adequate to close a shortfall in needed transportation improvements in the state.

  • ODOT has been able to increase its construction investment in the state’s roads, highways and bridges from $1.6 billion in 2011 to $2.4 billion in 2014 and 2015.
  • The recently adopted state transportation budget reduces state highway and bridge construction spending to $1.9 billion in 2016 (contingent on the sale of Turnpike toll-backed bonds) and to $1.7 billion in 2017.
  • ODOT has made available an additional $182.5 million annually for roadway improvements through increased staff efficiency, the adoption of zero based budgeting standards which reduced the need to carry significant cash balances, by allowing greater flexibility to modify projects, and by improving the efficiency of project design and delivery.
  • In 2013 the Ohio General Assembly approved the use of Ohio Turnpike bond proceeds with the provision that 90 percent of the revenue be used on transportation projects within 75 miles of the Turnpike.
  • ODOT has an $11.6 billion backlog in needed road, highway and bridge improvements, which are currently unfunded.
  • Ohio faces a significant challenge in improving the condition of locally-maintained roads, highways and bridges; maintaining the condition of state-maintained roads, highways and bridges; improving roadway safety, particularly on rural roads; relieving traffic congestion; and, providing additional highway access needed to support economic growth.

Population, economic and travel growth have placed increased wear and tear and traffic congestion on Ohio’s major roads and highways.

  • Ohio’s population reached approximately 11.5 million in 2013, a six percent increase since 1990, when the state’s population was approximately 10.8 million. Ohio has approximately eight million licensed drivers.
  • Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in Ohio increased 30 percent from 1990 to 2013 – from 87 billion VMT in 1990 to 113 billion VMT in 2013.
  • From 1990 to 2013, Ohio’s gross domestic product (GDP), a measure of the state’s economic output, increased by 39 percent, when adjusted for inflation.

Nearly one-quarter of Ohio’s locally and state-maintained urban roads are in poor condition, while four percent of the state’s rural roads are in poor condition.

  • Twenty-four percent of Ohio’s major locally and state-maintained urban roads and highways have pavements in poor condition, while an additional 41 percent are rated in mediocre or fair condition. The remaining 35 percent are rated in good condition.
  • Four percent of Ohio’s major locally and state-maintained rural roads and highways have pavements in poor condition, while an additional 37 percent are rated in mediocre or fair condition and the remaining 59 percent are rated in good condition.
  • Pavements on state-maintained roads are generally in better condition than pavements on locally maintained roads. Pavements on 98 percent of state-maintained roads and highways, including both urban and rural, are in acceptable 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 need more complex and expensive reconstruction.
  • The chart below details the percentage of major locally and state-maintained roads in poor, mediocre, fair and good condition in the state’s major urban areas:

 

TRIP OH 2Approximately a quarter of locally and state-maintained bridges in Ohio 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.

  • Eight percent of Ohio’s locally or 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.
  • Sixteen percent of Ohio’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.
  • Bridges on state-maintained road and highways are generally in better condition than bridges on locally maintained roads and bridges. Ninety-nine percent of state-maintained bridges in Ohio are in acceptable condition. 
  • The chart below details the percentage of bridges in the state’s major urban areas rated either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete:

TRIP OH 3ODOT has committed $130 million from 2014 to 2017 for repairs to deficient bridges.

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

  • Between 2009 and 2013, 5,229 people were killed in traffic crashes in Ohio, an average of 1,046 fatalities per year.
  • Ohio’s overall traffic fatality rate of 0.88 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2013 is lower than the national average of 1.09.
  • The traffic fatality rate on Ohio’s non-Interstate rural roads in 2013 is more than three times higher than on all other roads and highways in the state – 1.91fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel compared to 0.58.
  • Several factors are associated with vehicle crashes that result in fatalities, including driver behavior, vehicle characteristics and roadway features. It is estimated 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 chart below details the average number of traffic fatalities in each of Ohio’s largest urban areas from 2011 to 2013.

THIP OH 4Traffic congestion causes significant delays in Ohio, particularly in larger urban areas, choking commuting and commerce. Traffic congestion robs commuters of time and money and imposes increased costs on businesses, shippers and manufacturers, which are often passed along to consumers.

  • Traffic congestion adds significant costs to consumers, transportation companies, manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers and can reduce the attractiveness of a location to companies looking to expand or 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 average annual number of hours lost to congestion by each motorist in Ohio’s largest urban areas.

TRIP OH 5The efficiency of Ohio’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the state’s economy. Businesses rely 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, $493 billion in goods are shipped to sites in Ohio and another $563 billion in goods are shipped from sites in Ohio, mostly by truck.
  • Seventy-eight percent of the goods shipped annually from sites in Ohio are carried by trucks and another 14 percent are carried by courier services or multiple mode deliveries, which include trucking.
  • Businesses have responded to improved communications and greater competition by moving from a push-style distribution system, which relies on low-cost movement of bulk commodities and large-scale warehousing, to a pull-style distribution system, which relies on smaller, more strategic and time-sensitive movement of goods.
  • Increasingly, companies are looking at the quality of a region’s transportation system when deciding where to re-locate or expand. Regions with congested or poorly maintained roads may see businesses relocate to areas with a smoother, more efficient and more modern transportation system.
  • Highway accessibility was ranked the number two site selection factor behind only the availability of skilled labor in a 2013 survey of corporate executives by Area Development Magazine.
  • The Federal Highway Administration estimates that each dollar spent on road, highway and bridge improvements results in an average benefit of $5.20 in the form of reduced vehicle maintenance costs, reduced delays, reduced fuel consumption, improved safety, reduced road and bridge maintenance costs and reduced emissions as a result of improved traffic flow.

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

  • From 2009 to 2013, the federal government provided $1.19 for road improvements in Ohio for every dollar the state paid in federal motor fuel and other highway user fees.
  • Since 2008, the federal government has augmented Highway Trust Fund revenues with $63 billion in general fund revenues, which has resulted in states getting back an average of $1.31 for road improvements for every $1 contributed in federal motor fuel fees and other highway user fees from 2009 to 2013.
  • Many needed projects throughout the state will require significant federal funding in order to proceed by 2020. These projects include reconstruction of portions of Interstates 70 and 71 in the Columbus area, the reconfiguration of portions of Interstate 270 in the Columbus area, the widening of a portion of Interstate 80 in the Youngstown area, the widening and reconstruction of a portion of Interstate 77 in Cuyahoga County, the reconstruction of the Main Street/Broadway Street interchange with Interstate 76 in Akron, the construction of the Opportunity Corridor highway in the Cleveland area, the reconstruction and widening of portions of Interstate 75 in the Cincinnati area and the replacement of the Brent Spence Bridge over the Ohio River in Cincinnati. A full list of projects threatened by a lack of federal funding can be found in the report’s Appendix.

Sources of information for this report include the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), 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.