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TRIP REPORT CONFIRMS FINDINGS OF 2019 REPORT REQUESTED BY CONGRESS THAT FOUND MOST OF INTERSTATE SYSTEM NEEDS TO BE RECONSTRUCTED AND MODERNIZED

AGING U.S. INTERSTATE SYSTEM FACES INCREASED USAGE, MOUNTING CONGESTION AND DETERIORATING ROAD AND BRIDGE CONDITIONS; TRIP REPORT CONFIRMS FINDINGS OF 2019 REPORT REQUESTED BY CONGRESS THAT FOUND MOST OF INTERSTATE SYSTEM NEEDS TO BE RECONSTRUCTED AND MODERNIZED, REQUIRING MORE THAN A DOUBLING OF CURRENT FUNDING AND STRONG FEDERAL AND STATE LEADERSHIP

As the U.S. Interstate Highway System reaches 64 years old, it faces increasing congestion, unprecedented levels of travel – particularly by large trucks – and insufficient funding to make needed repairs and improvements. America’s most critical transportation link will need to be rebuilt and expanded to meet the nation’s growing transportation needs, according to a report released today by TRIP, a national transportation research nonprofit. The report, Restoring the Interstate Highway System: Meeting America’s Transportation Needs with a Reliable, Safe & Well-Maintained National Highway Networklooks at the Interstate system’s use, condition and benefits, and the findings of a 2019 report prepared by the Transportation Research Board (TRB),  at the request of Congress as part of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, on the condition and use of the Interstate system and on actions required to restore and upgrade the Interstate system.

The chart below ranks states whose Interstate systems are the most congested, have experienced the greatest increase in vehicle miles of travel (VMT) since 2000, carry the greatest share of commercial trucks, have the largest share of pavement in poor condition and bridges in poor/structurally deficient condition, and have the highest fatality rate. Data for all states can be found in the Appendix

According to the TRB report, the Interstate system has a persistent and growing backlog of physical and operational deficiencies as a result of age, heavy use and deferred reinvestment, and is in need of major reconstruction and modernization. The TRB report concludes that annual investment in the Interstate Highway System should be increased approximately two-and-a-half times, from $23 billion in 2018 to $57 billion annually over the next 20 years.

“The report released by TRIP confirms what American businesses experience every day—our Interstate highway system, which was once the envy of the world, is in serious need of modernization,” said Ed Mortimer, vice president of transportation infrastructure, U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “Commitment to modernization must be shared by federal, state and local leaders as well as the private sector. The Interstate system plays a key national role in economic success and quality of life for every American, and we continue to urge bipartisan solutions to address this critical issue. “

The TRIP report found that since 2000, travel on the Interstate system, the importance of which has been heightened during the COVID-19 pandemic, has increased at a rate nearly triple that at which new lane capacity is being added. As a result, 47 percent of urban Interstate highways are considered congested during peak hours. Travel by combination trucks on the Interstate increased 45 percent from 2000 to 2018, nearly double the 25 percent rate of travel growth for all vehicle travel during the same period.

“Carrying more than half of truck travel, the Interstate Highway System is critical to the nation’s supply chain. With $75 billion in cost added to freight transportation each year and 67 million tons of carbon dioxide from trucks released into the air due to highway congestion, the United States cannot afford to wait any longer to make the investments necessary to address systemic and growing problems stemming from decades of neglect,” said Chris Spear, president and CEO of the American Trucking Associations. “It is past time for elected officials to provide sufficient and sustainable funding for Interstate highway improvements.”

The design of the Interstate – which includes a separation from other roads and rail lines, a minimum of four lanes, paved shoulders and median barriers – makes it more than twice as safe to travel on as all other roadways. The fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles of travel on the Interstate in 2018 was 0.58, compared to 1.32 on non-Interstate routes. TRIP estimates that additional safety features on the Interstate Highway System saved 5,930 lives in 2018. 

“A safe and well-maintained Interstate Highway System can strengthen America’s economy, enhance personal mobility and facilitate more efficient movement of goods, but the future of this network could be in jeopardy without increased federal investment,” said Kathleen Bower, AAA senior vice president of public affairs and international relations. “All states benefit from a modern, accessible Interstate Highway System. AAA urges Congress and the current administration to prioritize transportation investments to ensure safe, efficient and reliable mobility across the United States.”  

TRIP’s report finds that while pavement smoothness on most segments of the Interstate system is acceptable, the crumbling foundations of most highway segments need to be reconstructed, and that continued resurfacing rather than addressing underlying foundational issues provides diminishing returns and results in shorter periods of pavement smoothness.  

As the aging system’s foundations continue to deteriorate, most Interstate highways, bridges and interchanges will need to be rebuilt or replaced. According to the TRIP report, pavements on 11 percent of Interstate highways are in poor or mediocre condition. More than one quarter – 27 percent – of Interstate bridges are in need of repair or replacement. 

Restoring and upgrading the Interstate Highway System to meet the nation’s 21st Century transportation needs will require strong federal leadership and a robust federal-state partnership to reestablish the Interstate Highway System as the nation’s premier transportation network.  The current federal surface transportation program, Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST Act), the primary source of Interstate highway funding, expires on September 30, 2020, and the reauthorization of a new long-term, adequately and reliably funded long-term federal program will be needed to ensure that a strong federal program supports the restoration of the Interstate system.  

“With the expiration of the FAST Act rapidly approaching, this report reaffirms how critical it is for lawmakers to prioritize reauthorizing a long-term, fully funded federal highway program this year,” said Rod Schrader, chairman and CEO of Komatsu’s North American operations and chair of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers CE Sector. “Meeting the critical equipment and supply needs of essential industries including construction and agriculture requires a dependable, modernized national transportation network. Equipment manufacturers are working hard to keep these vital industries properly supplied in the midst of COVID-19 and we need lawmakers to do their part to support these essential supply chains now and for the long haul.” 

The ability of states to invest in Interstate highway repairs and improvements will be hampered by the tremendous decrease in vehicle travel that has occurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which is estimated to reduce state transportation revenues by at least 30 percent – approximately $50 billion – over the next 18 months.

Based on the findings of the TRB Interstate report, TRIP has provided a set of recommendations for the restoration of the Interstate Highway System, which includes:  the foundational reconstruction of Interstate highways, bridges and interchanges; improvement to roadway safety features; system right-sizing, including upgrading of some roadway corridors to Interstate standards; adding needed additional highway capacity on existing routes; adding additional corridors; and, modifying some urban segments to maintain connectivity while remediating economic and social disruption. 

“The long-term vision that helped establish the current Interstate system nearly 65 years ago is needed again today,” said Dave Kearby, TRIP’s executive director. “In order to rebuild the nation’s economy, maintain personal and commercial mobility, and improve quality of life, adequate transportation investment and a sustainable, long-term funding source for the federal surface transportation program must remain a priority.” 

Executive Summary

RESTORING THE INTERSTATE HIGHWAY SYSTEM:Meeting America’s Transportation Needs with a Reliable, Safe & Well-Maintained National Highway Network 

 At sixty-four years old, an age at which many Americans are approaching Medicare eligibility and reduced workloads, the Interstate Highway System is deteriorating, its traffic load of cars and trucks continues to increase, and the system lacks an adequate long-term care plan. 

The Interstate Highway System remains the workhorse of the U.S. transportation system: heavily traveled and providing the most important link in the nation’s supply chain, and the primary connection between and within urban communities.  The importance of the Interstate Highway System and the reliable movement of goods it provides has been heightened during the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  But America’s Interstate highways are wearing out and showing signs of their advanced age, often heavily congested, and in need of significant reconstruction, modernization and expansion.

In 2015, as part of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, the U.S. Congress asked the Transportation Research Board (TRB), a division of the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, to conduct a study to determine actions needed to upgrade and restore the Interstate Highway System to fulfill its role of safely and efficiently meeting the nation’s future critical personal, commercial and military travel needs. In 2019, the TRB provided Congress with a report that found that the nation’s Interstates are heavily congested and aging, with large portions of the system in need of major reconstruction and modernization. The report found that addressing the needs of the Interstate Highway System will require more than a doubling of current investment to adequately improve the system’s condition, reliability and safety, and that the restoration of the nation’s Interstate Highway System should be based on strong federal leadership of a collaborative effort with the states. 

TRIP’s Restoring the Interstate Highway System report provides the latest information on the Interstate system, including pavement conditions, bridge conditions, travel trends, traffic congestion levels, truck use, and traffic safety. It reviews the findings of the TRB Interstate report and concludes with recommended actions – based on the findings of the TRB report – to ensure that the system is able to meet the nation’s transportation needs. 

TRB INTERSTATE HIGHWAY SYSTEM REPORT REQUESTED BY CONGRESS

In 2015, as part of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, the U.S. Congress requested a report evaluating the condition of the Interstate Highway System and providing recommendations on actions required to restore and upgrade the System to meet the growing and shifting transportation demands of the 21st Century. The report was conducted by the Transportation Research Board (TRB), a division of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. The findings of the TRB report, released in 2019, include:

  • The Interstate Highway System has a persistent and growing backlog of physical and operational deficiencies as a result of age, heavy use and deferred reinvestment, and is in need of major reconstruction and modernization.
  • Most roadway segments of the Interstate Highway System retain their original underlying foundations and need to be completely rebuilt from the subbase up.
  • The repeated resurfacing of Interstate highways is not addressing the deterioration of roadway subbases. Repeated resurfacing – rather than addressing underlying foundational issues – provides diminishing returns as additional resurfacing results in increasingly shorter periods of pavement smoothness and is likely to result in higher lifecycle costs than periodic reconstruction.
  • The modernization of the Interstate Highway System needs to include the following:  reconstruction of the majority of Interstate highways and bridges, including their foundations; the upgrade of most interchanges to improve their function and safety; the addition of capacity along existing corridors, the construction of new routes and the conversion of some existing routes to Interstate standards; the modification of some urban segments to maintain connectivity while remediating economic and social disruption; and, further improvement of highway safety features.  
  • To address the physical and operational deficiencies identified in the TRB report, annual investment in the Interstate Highway System should be increased by approximately two-and-a-half times, from its current level of $23 billion in 2018 to $57 billion annually over the next 20 years.
  • The restoration of the nation’s Interstate Highway System will require strong federal leadership and a robust federal-state partnership.

INTERSTATE USE AND CHARACTERISTICS

The Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways, which has been called the most ambitious public works project built since the Roman Empire, is the most critical link in the nation’s transportation system.

  • The Interstate Highway System, which includes 2.6 percent of all roadway lane miles in the U.S., carries 26 percent of the nation’s vehicle travel.
  • Since funding of the Interstate system was approved in 1956 to 2018, annual vehicle miles of travel (VMT) in the U.S. increased by 418 percent, from 626 billion miles driven, to approximately 3.2 trillion miles driven.
  • From 1956 to 2018, the number of vehicles in the nation increased by 357 percent, from 65 million vehicles to 274 million vehicles. The nation’s population increased by 95 percent, from 168 million to 327 million during this time.

INTERSTATE HISTORY

The need for a transcontinental highway system in the U.S. was recognized as early as 1919, and an initial Interstate plan was completed in the late 1930s. But it was not until Congress approved a suitable funding mechanism in 1956 that the Interstate Highway System became a reality.

  • In 1919, Lieutenant Dwight D. Eisenhower participated in the U.S. Army’s first transcontinental motor convoy, from Washington, DC, to San Francisco, California.  The trip took 62 days, largely due to inadequate roads and highways.
  • In 1954, President Eisenhower appointed a committee to draft a proposal to fund a national system of Interstate Highways.  The initial proposal, subsequently dismissed by Congress, called for financing a national Interstate system through bond financing.
  • Nationwide construction of the Interstate Highway System began in 1956 following the approval of the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956.  Some segments of urban and regional highways built prior to 1956 were later incorporated into the Interstate Highway System.
  • The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956, signed into law by President Dwight Eisenhower on June 29, 1956, called for the construction of a 41,000-mile system of Interstate highways.  The Act called for the Interstates to be paid for by taxes on motorists, such as the federal motor fuel tax, with the federal government paying 90 percent of the initial construction costs.  
  • The federal motor fuel tax was set at three cents-per-gallon in 1956 and is now 18.4 cents-per-gallon.
  • Revenue collected from the 18.4 cents-per-gallon federal motor fuel tax and the 24.4 cents-per-gallon federal diesel fuel tax are the primary sources of funding for the federal Highway Trust Fund, which distributes funds to state and local governments for highway and bridge repairs as well as other surface transportation improvements, including public transit, pedestrian and bicycling facilities.

INTERSTATE ROAD AND BRIDGE CONDITIONS

While pavement smoothness on most segments of the Interstate system is acceptable, approximately one quarter of Interstate bridges are in need of repair. As the aging system’s foundations continue to deteriorate, most Interstate highways, bridges and interchanges will need to be rebuilt or replaced.   

  • Pavements on 11 percent of Interstate highways are in poor or mediocre condition, with three percent rated in poor condition and eight percent rated in mediocre condition.  Another nine percent of Interstate pavements are in fair condition and the remaining 79 percent are in good condition.

The chart below shows the states with the greatest share of their Interstate highways with pavements in poor condition.  Data for all states can be found in the Appendix


  • An analysis of U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Bridge Inventory data indicates that more than one quarter  – 27 percent – of Interstate bridges (15,709 of  57,741) are in need of repair or replacement.   
  • Three percent of the nation’s Interstate bridges are rated in poor/structurally deficient condition, and 56 percent are rated in fair condition.  A bridge is rated in poor/structurally deficient condition if there is significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components.  
  • The chart below shows states with the greatest share of Interstate bridges rated poor/structurally deficient.  Data for all states can be found in the Appendix.
  • The intended lifespan of many of the nation’s Interstate bridges at the time of their construction is 50 years, though newer bridges are often built with longer-lasting materials and techniques that allow for a longer intended lifespan.  Older bridges often need significant repairs or rehabilitation or may need to be replaced to continue to provide adequate service.   
  • The average age of the nation’s Interstate bridges is 45 years. Fifty-four percent of the nation’s Interstate bridges are at least 50 years old. The chart below shows states with the largest share of Interstate bridges 50 years old or older. Data for all states can be found in the Appendix

INTERSTATE CONGESTION

Traffic congestion is increasing on the Interstate Highway System as the amount of vehicle travel far outstrips the capacity added to the system.  Nearly half of the length of the nation’s urban Interstates is congested. 

  • Forty-seven percent of the nation’s urban Interstate highways (8,914 of 19,160 miles) are considered congested because they carry traffic levels that result in significant delays during peak travel hours. The chart below shows the states with the greatest share of their urban Interstate highways considered congested. Data for all states can be found in the Appendix
  • The chart below shows the states with the greatest increase in vehicle miles of travel on their Interstate highways from 2000 to 2018. Data for all states can be found in the Appendix.
  • The chart below shows the states with the busiest urban Interstates, as measured by average daily traffic per lane mile. Data for all states can be found in the Appendix

INTERSTATE FATALITY RATES AND SAFETY

The Interstate Highway System provides a network of highways with a variety of safety designs that greatly reduce the likelihood of serious crashes. Travel on the nation’s Interstate highways is more than twice as safe as travel on all other roadways.

  • The Interstate Highway System, which carried 26 percent of the nation’s travel in 2018, accounted for only 13 percent of the nation’s traffic fatalities as a result of superior safety features.
  • The features that make Interstates safer than other roads include a separation from other roads and rail lines, a minimum of four-lanes, gentler curves, paved shoulders, median barriers, and rumble strips to warn drivers when they are leaving the roadway.
  • Travel on the nation’s Interstate highways is more than twice as safe as travel on all other roadways.  The fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles of travel on the Interstate system in 2018 was 0.58, compared to 1.32 on non-Interstate routes.
  • The chart below details states with the highest traffic fatality rates in 2018 on their Interstate highways and the fatality rate on all other roads in those states.  Data for all states can be found in the Appendix.
  • TRIP estimates that the Interstate Highway System saved 5,930 lives in 2018, based on an estimate of the number of additional fatalities that would have occurred had Interstate traffic been carried by other major roadways, which often have higher traffic fatality rates and may lack the safety features common to Interstate routes.  
  • Based on TRIP estimates, the chart below shows the states where the most lives were saved in 2018 due to the increased traffic safety provided by the Interstate Highway System.  Data for all states can be found in the Appendix.

INTERSTATE TRAVEL AND ECONOMIC GROWTH

The Interstate Highway System is the backbone of the nation’s economy and has played a critical role in improving the country’s business productivity.  Since 2000, the amount of combination truck travel on Interstates has increased at a rate nearly double the rate of total travel on the system.     

  • The Interstate system carried 53 percent of all large commercial truck travel in the U.S. in 2018.  
  • Travel by combination trucks on the Interstate Highway System increased 45 percent from 2000 to 2018, nearly double the 25 percent rate of growth for all vehicle travel during the same period. 
  • Travel by combination trucks, which are the large trucks that carry the majority of freight shipped in the U.S., accounted for 11 percent of all vehicle miles of travel on the Interstate Highway System in 2018.   
  • The chart below shoes the states with the greatest share of Interstate vehicle travel by combination trucks. Data for all states can be found in the Appendix.
  • Every year, $16.8 trillion in goods are shipped from sites in the U.S. 
  • Seventy-two percent of the goods shipped annually from sites in the U.S. are carried by trucks and another 14 percent are carried by courier services, which use trucks for part of the deliveries.  
  • The completion of the vast majority of the Interstate system by the 1980s, and the deregulation of the U.S. trucking industry, resulted in a significant improvement in the competitiveness of U.S. business.  The cost of moving freight, as measured by U.S. business logistics costs, dropped from 16 percent of U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 1980 to eight percent in 2018.
  • The TRB report found that U.S. counties either on an Interstate highway or within 20 miles of an Interstate are anticipated to grow in population through 2060 at a rate approximately seven times greater than counties that are at least 20 miles from an Interstate highway (36 percent versus five percent).   
  • The Interstate Highway System has reduced travel times between destinations throughout the U.S. The improved mobility provided by the Interstate Highway System has given Americans greater choices about where they live, work, shop and spend their leisure time.
  • Forty-nine of the 50 top truck bottlenecks identified by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) in its 2020 annual list of the nation’s top 100 truck bottlenecks are on Interstate Highways. The top 20 truck bottlenecks are listed below, with all 50 included in the Appendix

INTERSTATE FUNDING CHALLENGES

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has determined that the nation faces a significant backlog in needed Interstate highway repairs and improvements.

  • The current backlog of needed improvements on the nation’s Interstate Highway System is estimated by the USDOT to be $123 billion.
  • The backlog on the nation’s Interstate Highway System includes $54 billion needed to improve pavement conditions, $37 billion to improve bridges and $33 billion for needed system expansion and enhancement.
  • The ability of states to invest in Interstate highway repairs and improvements may be hampered by the tremendous decrease in vehicle travel that has occurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials estimates will reduce state transportation revenues by at least 30 percent – approximately $50 billion – over the next 18 months.

The primary source of revenue for the Interstate Highway System is the federal surface transportation program, which expires on September 30, 2020. The program does not have a long-term and sustainable revenue source.

  • Signed into law in December 2015, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (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.  
  • Revenue collected from the 18.4 cents-per-gallon federal motor fuel tax and the 24.4 cents-per-gallon federal diesel fuel tax are the primary sources of funding for the federal Highway Trust Fund, which distributes funds to state and local governments for highway and bridge repairs and other surface transportation improvements, including public transit, pedestrian and bicycling facilities.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR RESTORING THE INTERSTATE HIGHWAY SYSTEM

The restoration and upgrading of the Interstate Highway System to meet 21st Century transportation needs will require strong federal leadership and a robust federal-state partnership to reestablish the Interstate Highway System as the nation’s premier transportation network.  The TRB Interstate report notes that “the scale and scope of the Interstate reinvestment imperative is daunting.” 

  • The following recommendations, based on the findings and recommendations of the TRB Interstate report, provide a roadmap for the restoration of the Interstate Highway System:
  • Reconstruct the nation’s Interstate Highway System, including pavements, bridges and interchanges
  •  Improve safety features on Interstate highways
  • Right-size the Interstate Highway System by: 
  • upgrading some existing roadways to Interstate standard 
  • adding needed additional highway capacity on existing routes to maintain and improve mobility
  • adding additional corridors to accommodate demographic and economic growth 
  • modifying some urban segments to maintain connectivity while remediating economic and social disruption

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 Transportation Research Board (TRB), and the U.S. Census Bureau. Cover photo credit: Yaroslav Sabitov.

For the full report visit TRIPnet.org

TRIP REPORT: U.S. RURAL ROADS & BRIDGES HAVE SIGNIFICANT DEFICIENCIES & HIGH FATALITY RATES

ADDRESSING ANTICIPATED $50 BILLION DECREASE IN STATE TRANSPORTATION REVENUES DUE TO COVID-19 SEEN AS VITAL TO FUNDING NEEDED REPAIRS & MODERNIZATION TO IMPROVE RURAL CONDITIONS, SUPPORT ECONOMIC RECOVERY AND BOOST SAFETY 

America’s rural transportation system is in need of repairs and modernization to support economic growth and improve traffic safety in the nation’s Heartland, but the US faces a $211 billion backlog in funding for needed repairs and improvements to the rural transportation system. 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 importance of the rural transportation system as the backbone of the nation’s energy, food and fiber supply chain has been heightened during the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Addressing the nation’s rural transportation challenges will require a significant increase in investment, but the tremendous decrease in vehicle travel that has occurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic is estimated to reduce state transportation revenues by at least 30 percent – approximately $50 billion – over the next 18 months. 

The chart below ranks states based on their rate of rural pavements in poor condition, share of rural bridges that are rated poor/structurally deficient, and fatality rates on non-Interstate, rural roads. 

The report finds that the nation’s rural roads and bridges have significant deficiencies. Thirteen percent of U.S. rural roads are rated in poor condition, while 21 percent are in mediocre condition. Sixteen percent of the nation’s rural roads are in fair condition and the remaining 50 percent are in good condition. Eight 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-seven 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. The remaining 45 percent of rural bridges are rated in good condition.

“This report reinforces what many rural Americans already know – our country’s rural infrastructure is crumbling. The competitiveness of our farmers and ranchers relies on an aging network of roads, bridges, waterways and railways that need an immediate infusion of investment dollars,” said Todd Van Hoose, president and CEO of the Farm Credit Council. “That’s why we have partnered with more than 250 national, state and local organizations through the Rebuild Rural Coalition. Previous funding opportunities have overlooked our rural infrastructure in the past. We must invest in the transportation network that drives the base of our economy. We must invest in all aspects of rural infrastructure. And we must do it before we lose our competitive advantage.”

“Farmers and ranchers depend on rural roads, highways, and bridges to move their products to market. So does the integrity of our food supply chain,” said Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation. “Unfortunately, due primarily to lack of investment over several decades, America’s infrastructure is in a dire state of rapid deterioration, and recent events show even more the importance of guaranteeing food arrives where it needs to be. Investment in rural infrastructure going forward is paramount to ensure farmers and ranchers can continue to reliably supply the safe and wholesome food Americans need into the future.”

The TRIP report finds that traffic crashes and fatalities on rural non-Interstate roads are disproportionately high, occurring at a rate more than double that on all other roads. In 2018, non-Interstate rural roads had a traffic fatality rate of two 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.

“You cannot stock grocery stores, resupply medical facilities and rebuild our economy on the backs of broken roads and aging bridges,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the chief executive officer of the Associated General Contractors of America. “Without new federal funding, we will miss this unique opportunity, with traffic at record lows, to repair our rural roads, protect countless construction jobs and restart our stalled economy.”

 “TRIP’s report provides further evidence all Americans need safe and efficient transportation infrastructure facilities and also reveals we are falling further behind in addressing conditions on our rural roads,” American Road & Transportation Builders Association President Dave Bauer said. “It is time to stop talking and start delivering the long-term increase in federal highway and bridge investment necessary to jumpstart the economy post-coronavirus.”

The TRIP report found that America’s rural population, which had declined slightly from 2010 to 2016, has since increased, adding an additional 54,000 people from 2016 to 2018. The modest rebound in rural population is likely a result of increased employment and declining poverty, the report found. 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, decreased from 18.5 percent in 2013 to 16.1 percent in 2018, the TRIP report noted.

An analysis of the Status of the Nation’s Highways, Bridges and Transit, 23rd Edition, submitted by the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) to Congress in 2019, indicates  that the nation’s annual $28 billion investment by all levels of government in rural road, highway and bridge rehabilitation and enhancements should be increased by 28 percent, to approximately $36 billion annually, to improve their condition, reliability and safety.

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.

“This report shows infrastructure investment must go beyond our nation’s major cities, and be made in America’s rural communities where our food, fiber, and fuel is produced and much of our equipment is manufactured,” said Dennis Slater, president of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. “Manufacturers depend on the roads, bridges, and highways in rural America to supply the equipment our economy relies on and that infrastructure is in desperate need of repair and modernization. This is especially true today as our nation fights the COVID-19 pandemic and hopefully looks to rebuild the economy in the weeks ahead. That’s why we need our lawmakers to prioritize policies that support the movement of essential people and goods now more than ever.”

Improving and modernizing the nation’s rural transportation system will require addressing the significant reduction in state transportation revenues, including motor fuel taxes and tolls, as a result of a significant reduction in travel caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuring that the current federal surface transportation program, which expires on September 30, be reauthorized at funding levels that are adequate and reliable. 

 “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. The nation’s rural roads and bridges already faced a significant funding shortfall, and that will only be exacerbated by the looming reduction in state transportation revenues as a result of decreased vehicle travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dave Kearby, executive director of TRIP.  “The economic recovery from the pandemic could be hastened by significant investments in our nation’s transportation system to support job creation while making needed improvements to our roads and bridges that will serve our economy and enhance quality of life for all Americans for decades to come.”

RURAL CONNECTIONS: CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES IN AMERICA’S HEARTLAND

MAY 2020 Executive Summary

America’s rural heartland is the primary source of many of the goods and products that supports our nation’s economy and way of life. It also is home to a significant share of the nation’s population and many of its natural resources and popular tourist destinations. 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 importance of the rural transportation system as the backbone of the nation’s energy, food and fiber supply chain has been heightened during the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

America’s rural transportation network provides the first and last link in the supply chain from farm to market. The quality and connectivity of America’s rural transportation system supports 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 education, and to provide links to other social services. 

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.

Addressing the nation’s rural transportation challenges will require a significant increase in investment, but the tremendous decrease in vehicle travel that has occurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic is estimated to reduce state transportation revenues by at least 30 percent – approximately $50 billion — over the next 18 months. 

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

  • 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, has since increased, adding an additional 54,000 people from 2016 to 2018.  The modest rebound in rural population is likely a result of increased employment and declining poverty.
  • 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, decreased from 18.5 percent in 2013 to 16.1 percent in 2018. 
  • America’s rural economy is far more reliant on goods production, which includes farming, ranching, forestry, fishing, mining and energy extraction, and manufacturing, than 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 longer distances to access education, employment, retail locations, social opportunities and health services.
  • The rural U.S. population is older than the nation as a whole, with an average age in rural areas of 49 years, compared to 46 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.

RURAL TRANSPORTATION CHALLENGES: FUNDING

America’s ability to address its rural transportation challenges is threatened by a significant decrease in state transportation revenues, forecast due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The nation’s ability to address deficiencies in the rural and urban transportation systems would be enhanced if Congress approves the reauthorization of a timely, adequately and reliably funded federal surface transportation program.  

  • report indicate that the nation’s annual $28 billion investment by all levels of government in rural road, highway and bridge rehabilitation and enhancements should be increased by 28 percent, to approximately $36 billion annually, to improve their condition, reliability and safety.

RURAL TRANSPORTATION CHALLENGE: SAFETY

Traffic fatalities on the nation’s rural, non-Interstate roads occur at a rate more than double than on all other roads. A disproportionate share of fatalities take place on rural roads compared to the amount of traffic they carry.

  • Rural, non-Interstate roads have a traffic fatality rate that is more than double than on all other roads. In 2018, non-Interstate rural roads had a traffic fatality rate of 2.00 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 2018. However, crashes on the nation’s rural, non-Interstate routes resulted in 40 percent (14,455 of 36,560) of the nation’s traffic fatalities in 2018. 
  • The chart below shows the 25 states that led the nation in the number of rural, non-Interstate traffic fatalities in 2018. Data for all states is available in Appendix B
  • The chart below shows 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 2018. Data for all states is available in Appendix C.

The higher traffic fatality rate found on rural non-Interstate routes results from 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.

  • 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 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.  

  • A 2017 report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety  found that implementing the $146 billion in needed, cost-effective 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.  Thus, over a 20-year period, every $100 million spent on needed roadway safety improvements would reduce the number of traffic fatalities by 44 and serious traffic injuries by 760.  
  •  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, upgrading or adding guardrails, and improving pedestrian and bicycling facilities.
  •  improvements include adding turn lanes at intersections, resurfacing pavements and adding median barriers.
  •  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.

RURAL TRANSPORTATION CHALLENGES: DEFICIENT ROAD AND BRIDGE CONDITIONS

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

  • In 2018, 13 percent of the nation’s major rural roads (arterials and collectors) were rated in poor condition, 21 percent were rated in mediocre condition, 16 percent were rated in fair condition and 50 percent were rated in good condition.  
  • The chart below ranks the 25 states with the greatest percentage of rural roads in poor condition in 2018. Rural pavement conditions for all states can be found in Appendix D.
  • In 2019, eight percent of the nation’s rural bridges were rated as poor/structurally deficient. Forty-seven percent of rural bridges were rated fair and 45 percent of rural bridges were rated in good condition. 
  • In 2019, 71 percent of the nation’s bridges are rural but 79 percent of the nation’s bridges rated as poor/structurally deficient are rural.
  •  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 2019. Rural bridge conditions for all states can be found in Appendix E

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 and extraction sectors, 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. 
  • 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 longer 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 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.

  • The importance of the rural transportation system as the backbone of the nation’s energy, food and fiber supply chain has been heightened during the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • Freight mobility and efficiency is 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 2017. This represents 5.4 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.
  • 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.

RURAL CONNECTIONS TO TOURISM AND RECREATION

  • 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.

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.

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 15.8 billion gallons in 2019.  
  • U.S. production of liquid fuels, including crude oil and natural gas, increased 93 percent from 2000 to 2019, increasing liquid fuel’s share of overall U.S. energy production (including coal and nuclear) from 49 to 66 percent.
  • U.S. production of renewable energy, including wind and solar, increased 91 percent from 2000 to 2019, 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 annual travel per-lane-mile by large trucks on rural Interstate highways in the U.S. increased 29 percent from 2000 to 2018.   

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 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.
  • 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 insure 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.  

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.  

For appendix references https://tripnet.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Rural_Roads_TRIP_Report_Appendix_E_2020.pdf

For the complete report visit: tripent.org

TRIP REPORTS — ARIZONA MOTORISTS LOSE $9.6 BILLION PER YEAR ON ROADWAYS THAT ARE ROUGH, CONGESTED & LACK SOME DESIRABLE SAFETY FEATURES – UP TO $2,000 PER DRIVER.

LACK OF SUSTAINABLE, LONG-TERM FUNDING THREATENS ARIZONA’S ABILITY TO IMPROVE ROAD AND BRIDGE CONDITIONS, IMPROVE TRAFFIC SAFETY, AND RELIEVE CONGESTION ON A TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM CARRYING GROWING TRAFFIC VOLUMES.

– Roads and bridges that are deteriorated, congested or lack some desirable safety features cost Arizona motorists a total of $9.6 billion statewide annually – as much as $2,009 per driver in some urban areas – due to higher vehicle operating costs, traffic crashes and congestion-related delays. A lack of sustainable, long-term transportation funding threatens Arizona’s ability to improve road and bridge conditions, improve traffic safety, and relieve traffic congestion and could be an impediment to economic growth, according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation research nonprofit. 

The TRIP report, Arizona Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe, Smooth and Efficient Mobility,” finds that throughout Arizona, nearly half of major locally and state-maintained roads are in poor or mediocre condition, the state’s traffic fatality rate is the fourth highest in the nation, vehicle travel in Arizona has increased by 34 percent since 2000, the sixth highest rate of growth nationally and 150 locally and state-maintained bridges (20 feet or more in length) are rated poor/structurally deficient. The report also finds that the rate of population growth in Arizona has been among the fastest in the nation since 2000, placing significant stress on the state’s transportation system and resulting in increasing traffic congestion and delays that choke commuting and commerce. 

Driving on deficient Arizona roads costs the state’s drivers a total of $9.6 billion annually – up to $2,009 per driver in some urban areas – 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 Phoenix-Mesa and Tucson urban areas, along with a statewide total, is below.

The TRIP report finds that 19 percent of major locally and state-maintained roads in Arizona are in poor condition and another 25 percent are in mediocre condition, costing the state’s drivers an additional $3 billion each year in extra vehicle operating costs, including accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear. Statewide, 16 percent of Arizona’s major roads are in fair condition and the remaining 40 percent are in good condition. 

“In 2018, Arizona’s county engineers documented the alarming degradation of county roadways and the fact that existing revenue sources are insufficient to provide basic maintenance. The TRIP report underscores this problem and provides compelling evidence that the chronic underinvestment in maintenance and construction places a heavy cost on Arizonans,” said Craig Sullivan, executive director of the County Supervisors Association of Arizona. “This cost comes in the form of vehicle wear and tear, diminished roadway safety, and impediments to economic growth.  Given these findings, there is little doubt that increasing investments in improving our infrastructure will deliver a significant “return on investment” to Arizona taxpayers.”    

Traffic crashes in Arizona claimed the lives 4,635 people between 2014 and 2018. Over those five years, the number of annual traffic fatalities in the state increased by 31 percent, from 770 to 1,010. Arizona’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.53 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2018 was the fourth highest in the nation. The fatality rate on Arizona’s non-interstate rural roads in 2018 was the fifth highest in the U.S. and significantly higher than on all other roads in the state (2.36 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs 1.39).  Traffic crashes imposed a total of $6.4 billion in economic costs in Arizona in 2018 and traffic crashes in which a lack of adequate roadway safety features were likely a contributing factor imposed $2.1 billion in economic costs.  

“Our own research has shown billions of dollars of unfunded need for local transportation infrastructure. The great work done by TRIP makes the need real by focusing on quality of life impacts like congestion, safety and costs to the individual to maintain their vehicles,” said Rene Guillen, deputy director of the League of Arizona Cities and Towns. “This report makes it clear that as a high-growth state facing stagnant and declining transportation dollars our situation will only worsen without action. The information contained in this report serves as a great resource for lawmakers and stakeholders to use when discussing transportation funding options.”

Traffic congestion in Arizona is worsening, causing up to 62 annual hours of delay per driver and costing drivers as much as  $1,089 annually in lost time and wasted fuel. Statewide, congestion costs Arizona drivers a total of $4.5 billion annually. 

Two percent of Arizona bridges (20 feet or longer) are rated poor/structurally deficient, with significant deterioration to the bridge deck, supports or other major components. An additional 37 percent of the state’s bridges are rated in fair condition and the remaining 61 percent are in good condition. 

The report also finds that Arizona’s current sources of transportation revenues will not keep pace with the state’s future transportation needs. This is largely a result of increasing vehicle fuel efficiency and the increasing use of electric vehicles, which, combined, are expected to reduce significantly the revenue generated by the state’s motor fuel tax revenues.  Average fuel efficiency for passenger vehicles in the U.S. has increased by 20 percent over the last decade and is expected to increase by 31 percent by 2030 and 51 percent by 2040.    

The efficiency and condition of Arizona’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy.  Annually, $332 billion in goods are shipped to and from Arizona, 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. Approximately 1.1 million full-time jobs in Arizona in key industries like tourism, retail sales, agriculture and manufacturing are dependent on the quality, safety and reliability of the state’s transportation infrastructure network.

“The lack of adequate, sustainable transportation funding in Arizona will lead to increasing deterioration on the state’s roads and bridges and even longer congestion-related delays for commuters, businesses and visitors,” said Dave Kearby, TRIP’s executive director. “Deteriorated, congested roads rob drivers of time and money while reducing the state’s competitive advantage and threatening economic growth. Making investments that will improve the condition and efficiency of Arizona’s transportation system will ensure that the state remains an attractive place to live, visit and do business.”

ARIZONA KEY TRANSPORTATION FACTS 

THE HIDDEN COSTS OF DEFICIENT ROADS

Driving on Arizona roads that are deteriorated, congested and that lack some desirable safety features costs Arizona drivers a total of $9.6 billion each year. TRIP has calculated the cost to the average motorist in the state’s largest urban areas in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC) as a result of driving on rough roads, the cost of lost time and wasted fuel due to congestion, and the financial cost of traffic crashes. The chart below details the cost of deficient roads statewide and for the average driver in the state’s largest urban areas. 

ARIZONA ROADS PROVIDE A ROUGH RIDE

Due to inadequate state and local funding, 44 percent of major roads and highways in Arizona are in poor or mediocre condition. Driving on rough roads costs the average Arizona driver $576 annually in additional vehicle operating costs – a total of $3 billion statewide.  The chart below details pavement conditions on major roads in the state’s largest urban areas and statewide.

ARIZONA VEHICLE TRAVEL AND CONGESTION INCREASING

In 2018, the state’s transportation system carried 66.1 billion annual vehicle miles of travel (VMT), a 34 percent increase since 2000, and the sixth highest rate of vehicle travel growth in the nation during that time.  Congested roads choke commuting and commerce and cost Arizona drivers $4.5 billion each year in the form of lost time and wasted fuel. In the most congested urban areas, drivers lose up to $1,089 and as many as 62 hours per year sitting in congestion. 

ARIZONA TRAFFIC SAFETY AND FATALITIES

From 2014 to 2018, the number of annual traffic fatalities in Arizona increased by 31 percent from 770 to 1,010.  A total of 4,635 people were killed in traffic crashes in Arizona during that period. In 2018, Arizona had 1.53 traffic fatalities for every 100 million miles traveled, the fourth highest in the U.S. and significantly higher than the national average of 1.13. The fatality rate on Arizona’s non-interstate rural roads is significantly higher than on all other roads in the state (2.36 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs 1.39) – the fifth highest rate nationally.  

Traffic crashes imposed a total of $6.4 billion in economic costs in Arizona in 2018 and traffic crashes in which a lack of adequate roadway safety features were likely a contributing factor imposed $2.1 billion in economic costs.  The chart below details the average number of people killed in traffic crashes in the state’s largest urban areas between 2014 and 2018, and the cost of traffic crashes per driver. 

ARIZONA BRIDGE CONDITIONS

Two percent of Arizona’s bridges are rated in poor/structurally deficient condition. Bridges that are rated poor/structurally deficient have significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components. Thirty-seven percent of the state’s bridges are rated in fair condition and the remaining 61 percent are in good condition. The chart below details bridge conditions statewide and in the state’s largest urban areas.

ARIZONA TRANSPORTATION FUNDING

The ability of revenue from Arizona’s motor fuel tax – a critical source of state transportation funds – to keep pace with the state’s future transportation needs is likely to erode as a result of increasing vehicle fuel efficiency and the increasing use of electric vehicles. The average fuel efficiency of U.S. passenger vehicles increased from 20 miles per gallon in 2010 to 24.5 miles per gallon in 2020.  Average fuel efficiency is expected to increase another 31 percent by 2030, to 32 miles per gallon, and increase 51 percent by 2040, to 37 miles per gallon. The share of electric vehicles of total passenger vehicle sales in the U.S. is expected to increase to five percent by 2023 and to 60 percent by 2040, by which time they will represent approximately 30 percent of the passenger vehicle fleet.

The federal Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act), which expires on September 30, 2020, is a major source of funding for road, highway and bridge repairs in Arizona. Throughout the five years of the FAST-Act – fiscal years 2016 to 2020 – the program will provide $3.9 billion to Arizona for road repairs and improvements, an average of $775 million per year. From 2014 to 2018, the federal government provided $1.08 for road improvements in Arizona for every $1.00 state motorists paid in federal highway user fees, including the federal state motor fuel tax. 

From 2014 to 2018, federal funds provided for highway improvements were the equivalent of 71 percent of the amount of Arizona state capital outlays on road, highway and bridge projects, including construction, engineering and right-of-way acquisition.

TRANSPORTATION AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

From 2000 to 2018, Arizona’s population increased by 40 percent to 7.2 million, the third highest rate of growth among all states.  From 2000 to 2018, vehicle miles of travel on Arizona roadways increased by 34 percent, the sixth highest rate of growth nationally. 

The health and future growth of Arizona’s economy is riding on its transportation system. Each year, $332 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in Arizona, mostly by truck. Increases in passenger and freight movement will place further burdens on the state’s already deteriorated and congested surface transportation system. The value of freight shipped to and from sites in Arizona, when adjusted for inflation, is expected to increase by 124 percent by 2045, and by 100 percent by 2045 for goods shipped by trucks.

report by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association found that the design, construction and maintenance of transportation infrastructure in Arizona supports approximately 65,000 full-time jobs across all sectors of the state economy. These workers earn $2.5 billion annually. Approximately 1.1 million full-time jobs in Arizona in key industries like tourism, manufacturing, retail sales and agriculture are completely dependent on the state’s transportation infrastructure network.

CONCLUSION

            As Arizona continues to enhance its thriving, growing and dynamic state, it will be critical that it is able to address the most significant transportation issues by providing a 21st century network of roads, highways, bridges and transit that can accommodate the mobility demands of a modern society.

            Arizona will need to modernize its surface transportation system by improving the physical condition of its transportation network and enhancing the system’s ability to provide efficient, safe and reliable mobility for residents, visitors and businesses. Making needed improvements to the state’s roads, highways, bridges and transit systems would provide a significant boost to the economy by creating jobs in the short term and stimulating long-term economic growth as a result of enhanced mobility and access. 

Numerous projects to improve the condition and expand the capacity of Arizona’s roads, highways, bridges and transit systems will not be able to proceed without a substantial boost in local, state or federal transportation funding.  If Arizona is unable to complete needed transportation projects it will hamper the state’s ability to improve the condition and efficiency of its transportation system or enhance economic development opportunities and quality of life.  

Note: This report was released by TRIP on March 10, 2020. For more information visit TRIPorg.net

TRIP Report: DAVID KEARBY, CAE, TAPPED TO LEAD NATIONAL NONPROFIT TRIP

Dave Kearby, CAE,  has been named executive director of the Washington, D.C., based TRIP – a national transportation research nonprofit – effective January 24, 2020. Kearby succeeds Will Wilkins, who retires this year after 36 years of service at TRIP, 33 as TRIP’s executive director.

Dave Kearby, CAE

Kearby was named executive director after an extensive search process by TRIP’s succession task force. “We’re confident we’ve got the right person for the position,” said Ken Wert, 2020 TRIP Chairman of the Board. “Dave’s background in transportation and his familiarity in working with volunteer leaders will position him well as he takes the helm of this highly regarded nonprofit.” 

Kearby brings years of experience in the surface transportation field, having served as Central District Manager for the Associated General Contractors of Washington for more than a decade. In addition, Kearby served as chair and board member of TRANSAction, one of Washington State’s first regional transportation partnerships.

”I’m excited to be chosen for this position and am looking forward to leading TRIP into the 2020s,” said Kearby. “This organization has been a credible, highly regarded source on all things surface transportation related for nearly 50 years and my goal is to continue and enhance that reputation.”

Retiring executive director Will Wilkins said, “I know I’m leaving TRIP in good hands. Dave’s experience in surface transportation and his qualifications as a certified association executive make him the perfect choice to lead TRIP.”

Kearby was raised in the Yakima valley and has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Central Washington University, a Master of Business Administration degree from Auburn University in Alabama, and is a Certified Association Executive. He resides in Washington, DC with his wife Sharon and daughter Alexis.

Founded in 1971, TRIP ® of Washington, DC, is a nonprofit organization that researches, evaluates and distributes economic and technical data on surface transportation issues.  TRIP is sponsored by insurance companies, equipment manufacturers, distributors and suppliers; businesses involved in highway and transit engineering and construction; labor unions; and organizations concerned with efficient and safe surface transportation.

TRIP Reports: VIRGINIA MOTORISTS LOSE $9.5 BILLION PER YEAR ON ROADWAYS THAT ARE ROUGH, CONGESTED & LACK SOME DESIRABLE SAFETY FEATURES

AS MUCH AS $2,600 PER DRIVER. LACK OF SUSTAINABLE, LONG-TERM FUNDING THREATENS VIRGINIA’S ABILITY TO IMPROVE ROAD AND BRIDGE CONDITIONS, IMPROVE TRAFFIC SAFETY, AND RELIEVE CONGESTION ON A TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM CARRYING GROWING TRAFFIC VOLUMES.

Roads and bridges that are deteriorated, congested or lack some desirable safety features cost Virginia motorists a total of $9.5 billion statewide annually – as much as $2,583 per driver in some areas – due to higher vehicle operating costs, traffic crashes and congestion-related delays. A lack of sustainable, long-term transportation funding threatens Virginia’s ability to improve road and bridge conditions, improve traffic safety, and relieve traffic congestion and could be an impediment to economic growth in the state, according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation research nonprofit. 

The TRIP report, Virginia Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe, Smooth and Efficient Mobility,” finds that throughout Virginia, approximately one third of major locally and state-maintained roads are in poor or mediocre condition, more than 600 locally and state-maintained bridges (20 feet or more in length) are rated poor/structurally deficient, and 3,875 people lost their lives on the state’s roads in traffic crashes from 2014-2018. The report also finds that travel on Virginia’s roadways has increased by 14 percent from 2000 to 2018 and six percent from 2013 to 2018, resulting in increasing traffic congestion, causing significant delays and choking commuting and commerce. 

Virginia drivers lose $9.5 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 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.

The report also finds that Virginia’s current sources of transportation revenues will not keep pace with the state’s future transportation needs. This is largely a result of increasing vehicle fuel efficiency and the increasing use of electric vehicles, which, combined, are expected to reduce significantly the revenue generated by the state’s motor fuel tax revenues.  Average fuel efficiency for passenger vehicles in the U.S. has increased by 20 percent over the last decade and is expected to increase by 31 percent by 2030 and 51 percent by 2040.  And, electric vehicles, which now account for two percent of passenger vehicles in Virginia, are expected to increase to 46 percent of passenger vehicles in Virginia by 2040.  As a result of increased fuel efficiency and the adoption of electric vehicles, gasoline and diesel consumption in Virginia is expected to decrease 23 percent by 2030, and 51 percent by 2040.  This decline is expected to decrease Virginia’s state motor fuel tax receipts by 34 percent by 2030 and 62 percent by 2040. State diesel fuel tax receipts are expected to decrease 24 percent by 2030 and 50 percent by 2040.

“The lack of adequate, sustainable transportation funding in Virginia will lead to increasing deterioration on the state’s roads and bridges and even longer congestion-related delays for commuters, businesses and visitors,” said Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director. “Deteriorated, congested roads rob drivers of time and money while reducing the state’s competitive advantage and threatening economic growth. Making investments that will improve the condition and efficiency of Virginia’s transportation system will ensure that the state remains an attractive place to live, visit and do business.”

The TRIP report finds that 12 percent of major locally and state-maintained roads in Virginia are in poor condition and another 22 percent are in mediocre condition, costing the state’s drivers an additional $2.8 billion each year in extra vehicle operating costs, including accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear. Twenty-four percent of major roads in Virginia are in fair condition and the remaining 42 percent are in good condition.

A total of 646 Virginia bridges (20 feet or longer) are rated poor/structurally deficient, with significant deterioration to the bridge deck, supports or other major components. More than eight thousand (8,499) of the state’s bridges are rated in fair condition and the remaining 4,786 are in good condition. 

Traffic congestion throughout the state is worsening, causing up to 102 annual hours of delay for drivers in some areas and costing as much as $2,015 per driver. Statewide, lost time and wasted fuel as a result of traffic congestion costs Virginia drivers a total of $4.6 billion annually. 

Traffic crashes in Virginia claimed the lives 3,875 people between 2014 and 2018. Virginia’s overall traffic fatality rate of 0.96 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2018 was lower than the national average of 1.13.  The fatality rate on Virginia’s non-interstate rural roads in 2018 was approximately three times higher than on all other roads in the state (2.05 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs. 0.63).  Traffic crashes imposed a total of $6.4 billion in economic costs in Virginia in 2018 and traffic crashes in which a lack of adequate roadway safety features were likely a contributing factor imposed $2.1 billion in economic costs.  

The efficiency and condition of Virginia’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy.  Annually, $497 billion in goods are shipped to and from Virginia, 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. Approximately 112,000 full-time jobs in Virginia in key industries like tourism, retail sales, agriculture and manufacturing are dependent on the quality, safety and reliability of the state’s transportation infrastructure network.

VIRGINIA KEY TRANSPORTATION FACTS 

THE HIDDEN COSTS OF DEFICIENT ROADS

Driving on Virginia roads that are deteriorated, congested and that lack some desirable safety features costs Virginia drivers a total of $9.5 billion each year. TRIP has calculated the cost to the average motorist in the state’s largest urban areas in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC) as a result of driving on rough roads, the cost of lost time and wasted fuel due to congestion, and the financial cost of traffic crashes. The chart below details the cost of deficient roads statewide and for the average driver in the state’s largest urban areas. 

VIRGINIA ROADS PROVIDE A ROUGH RIDE

Due to inadequate state and local funding, 34 percent of major roads and highways in Virginia are in poor or mediocre condition. Driving on rough roads costs the average Virginia driver $468 annually in additional vehicle operating costs – a total of $2.8 billion statewide.  The chart below details pavement conditions on major roads in the state’s largest urban areas and statewide.

VIRGINIA BRIDGE CONDITIONS

More than 600 of Virginia’s bridges (646) are rated in poor/structurally deficient condition. Bridges that are rated poor/structurally deficient have significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components. More than eight thousand (8,499) of the state’s bridges are rated in fair condition and the remaining 4,786 are in good condition. Most bridges are designed to last 50 years before major overhaul or replacement, although many newer bridges are being designed to last 75 years or longer. In Virginia, 46 percent of the state’s bridges were built in 1969 or earlier. The chart below details bridge conditions statewide and in the state’s largest urban areas.

VIRGINIA ROADS ARE INCREASINGLY CONGESTED

Congested roads choke commuting and commerce and cost Virginia drivers $4.6 billion each year in the form of lost time and wasted fuel. In the most congested urban areas, drivers lose up to $2,015 and spend as many as 102 hours per year sitting in traffic as a result of congestion. 

VIRGINIA TRAFFIC SAFETY AND FATALITIES

From 2014 to 2018, 3,875 people were killed in traffic crashes in Virginia. In 2018, Virginia had 0.96 traffic fatalities for every 100 million miles traveled, lower than the national average of 1.13.  The fatality rate on Virginia’s non-interstate rural roads in 2018 was approximately three times higher than on all other roads in the state (2.05 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs. 0.63).

Traffic crashes imposed a total of $6.4 billion in economic costs in Virginia in 2018 and traffic crashes in which a lack of adequate roadway safety features were likely a contributing factor imposed $2.1 billion in economic costs.  The chart below details the number of people killed in traffic crashes in the state’s largest urban areas between 2015 and 2018, and the cost of traffic crashes per driver. 

TRANSPORTATION FUNDING IN VIRGINIA

Virginia’s current sources of transportation revenues will not keep pace with the state’s future transportation needs. This is partially a result of increasing vehicle fuel efficiency and the increasing use of electric vehicles, which have reduced the revenue generated by the state’s motor fuel taxes.  The average fuel efficiency of U.S. passenger vehicles increased from 20 miles per gallon in 2010 to 24.5 miles per gallon in 2020. Average fuel efficiency is expected to increase 31 percent by 2030 (to 32 miles per gallon) and 51 percent by 2040 (to 37 miles per gallon).  Electric vehicles, which now account for two percent of passenger vehicles in Virginia, are expected to increase to 46 percent of passenger vehicles in Virginia by 2040.

   As a result of increased fuel efficiency and the adoption of electric vehicles, gasoline and diesel consumption in Virginia is expected to decrease 23 percent between 2020 to 2030, and 51 percent by 2040.  This decline is expected to decrease Virginia’s state motor fuel tax receipts by 34 percent by 2030 and 62 percent by 2040. State diesel fuel tax receipts are expected to decrease 24 percent by 2030 and 50 percent by 2040.

TRANSPORTATION AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

The health and future growth of Virginia’s economy is riding on its transportation system. Each year, $497 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in Virginia. The value of freight shipped to and from sites in Virginia, in inflation-adjusted dollars, is expected to increase 128 percent by 2045 and 92 percent for goods shipped by trucks, placing an increased burden on the state’s already deteriorated and congested network of roads and bridges. 

The amount of freight transported in Virginia and the rest of the U.S. is expected to increase significantly as a result of further economic growth, changing business and retail models, increasing international trade, and rapidly changing consumer expectations that place an emphasis on faster deliveries, often of smaller packages or payloads.  

According to a report by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association, the design, construction and maintenance of transportation infrastructure in Virginia support approximately 112,000 full-time jobs across all sectors of the state economy. These workers earn $5.2 billion annually. Approximately 1.5 million full-time jobs in Virginia in key industries like tourism, retail sales, agriculture and manufacturing are completely dependent on the state’s transportation network.

CONCLUSION

            As Virginia works to enhance its thriving, growing and dynamic state, it will be critical that it is able to provide a 21st century network of roads, highways, bridges and transit that can accommodate the mobility demands of a modern society.

            Virginia will need to modernize its surface transportation system by improving the physical condition of its transportation network and enhancing the system’s ability to provide efficient, safe and reliable mobility for residents, visitors and businesses. Making needed improvements to the state’s roads, highways, bridges and transit systems would provide a boost to the economy by creating jobs in the short term and stimulating long-term economic growth as a result of enhanced mobility and access. 

Numerous projects to improve the condition and expand the capacity of Virginia’s roads, highways, bridges and transit systems will not be able to proceed without a substantial boost in local, state or federal transportation funding.  If Virginia is unable to complete needed transportation projects it will hamper the state’s ability to improve the condition and efficiency of its transportation system or enhance economic development opportunities and quality of life.  

For the full report visit tripnet.org

Founded in 1971, TRIP ® of Washington, DC, is a nonprofit organization that researches, evaluates and distributes economic and technical data on surface transportation issues.  TRIP is sponsored by insurance companies, equipment manufacturers, distributors and suppliers; businesses involved in highway and transit engineering and construction; labor unions; and organizations concerned with efficient and safe surface transportation.