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TRIP Report: Significant Deficiencies and High Fatality Rates

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Executive Summary

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

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

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

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

AMERICA’S RURAL HEARTLAND

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

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

RURAL QUALITY OF LIFE AND ECONOMIC VITALITY RELY ON TRANSPORTATION

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

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

RURAL CONNECTIONS TO TOURISM AND RECREATION

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

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

RURAL ACCESS TO ENERGY SOURCES

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

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

RURAL TRANSPORTATION CHALLENGE: CONNECTIVITY

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

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

RURAL TRANSPORTATION CHALLENGE: SAFETY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RURAL TRANSPORTATION CHALLENGES: DEFICIENT ROAD AND BRIDGE CONDITIONS

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

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

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

TRANSPORTATION OPPORTUNITIES IN RURAL AMERICA

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

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

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

Improve rural traffic safety

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

Improve the condition of rural roads, highways, and bridges

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

FEDERAL TRANSPORTATION FUNDING

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

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

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

TRIP Reports: ILLINOIS MOTORISTS LOSE $18.3 BILLION PER YEAR ON ROADS THAT ARE ROUGH, CONGESTED & LACK SOME SAFETY FEATURES – AS MUCH AS $2,559 PER DRIVER.

ILLINOIS MOTORISTS LOSE $18.3 BILLION PER YEAR ON ROADS THAT ARE ROUGH, CONGESTED & LACK SOME SAFETY FEATURES – AS MUCH AS $2,559 PER DRIVER. LACK OF FUNDING WILL LEAD TO FURTHER DETERIORATION, INCREASED CONGESTION AND HIGHER COSTS TO MOTORISTS

Roads and bridges that are deteriorated, congested or lack some desirable safety features cost Illinois motorists a total of $18.3 billion statewide annually – as much as $2,559 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 Illinois, according to a new report released by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation research nonprofit.

The TRIP report, Illinois Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe, Smooth and Efficient Mobility,”finds that throughout Illinois, more than two-fifths of major locally and state-maintained roads are in poor or mediocre condition and eight percent of locally and state-maintained bridges (20 feet or more in length) are rated poor/structurally deficient. The report also finds that Illinois’ major urban roads are becoming increasingly congested, causing significant delays and choking commuting and commerce.

Driving on roads in Illinois costs motorists a total of $18.3 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. The TRIP report calculates the cost to motorists of insufficient roads in the Chicago, Champaign-Urbana, Metro East, Peoria-Bloomington, Rockford and Springfield urban areas.  A breakdown of the costs per motorist in each area, along with a statewide total, is below.

The TRIP report finds that 19 percent of major locally and state-maintained roads in Illinois are in poor condition and an additional 23 percent are in mediocre condition, costing the state’s drivers an additional $5 billion each year in extra vehicle operating costs, including accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.

“This report highlights how expensive it can be for Illinois drivers when the state does not maintain its basic infrastructure,” said Illinois Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Todd Maisch. “A stronger transportation system is vital to stronger business and a stronger Illinois. We must act now to improve our economy and quality of life in Illinois through infrastructure investment.”

Eight percent of Illinois’ bridges are rated poor/structurally deficient, with significant deterioration to the bridge deck, supports or other major components. The condition of state-maintained bridges in Illinois is anticipated to decline through 2023 based on current funding.  Forty-one percent of Illinois’ locally and state-maintained bridges have been rated in fair condition.  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.

“Poorly maintained roads are both a financial burden and safety hazard for Illinois motorists,” said Nick Jarmusz, midwest director of public affairs for AAA – The Auto Club Group.  “The investments necessary to rebuild our infrastructure would cost a fraction of what drivers are currently paying in the form of additional vehicle expenses, to say nothing of the increased risk of crashes and injuries.”

The Illinois Department of Transportation projects that, under current funding levels, the percentage of state-maintained roads and bridges in need of repairs will increase significantly in the next five years.

Traffic congestion throughout Illinois is worsening, causing up to 63 annual hours of delay for the average motorist in the state’s largest urban areas and costing the state’s drivers a total of $8.5 billion annually in lost time and wasted fuel.

Traffic crashes in Illinois claimed the lives of nearly 5,100 people between 2013 and 2017. Illinois’ overall traffic fatality rate of 1.02 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2017 is lower than the national average of 1.16.  The fatality rate on Illinois’ non-interstate rural roads is approximately two-and-a-half times higher than on all other roads in the state (2.09 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs. 0.82). The financial impact of traffic crashes costs Illinois drivers a total of $4.8 billion annually.

The efficiency and condition of Illinois’ transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy.  Annually, $2.9 trillion in goods are shipped to and from Illinois, 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 relocate 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. The design, construction, and maintenance of transportation infrastructure in Illinois support 154,001 full-time jobs across all sectors of the state economy.

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

 

ILLINOIS KEY TRANSPORTATION FACTS

THE HIDDEN COSTS OF DEFICIENT ROADS

Driving on Illinois roads that are deteriorated, congested and that lack some desirable safety features costs Illinois drivers a total of $18.3 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.

 

ILLINOIS ROADS PROVIDE A ROUGH RIDE

Due to inadequate state and local funding, forty-two percent of Illinois’ major roads and highways are in poor or mediocre condition.   The condition of state-maintained roads and bridges in Illinois is anticipated to decline through 2023 based on current funding.

 

ILLINOIS BRIDGE CONDITIONS

Eight percent of Illinois’ bridges are rated poor/structurally deficient, meaning there is significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components.  The condition of state-maintained bridges in Illinois is anticipated to decline through 2023 based on current funding.  Forty-one percent of Illinois’ locally and state-maintained bridges have been rated in fair condition.

 

ILLINOIS ROADS ARE INCREASINGLY CONGESTED

Congested roads choke commuting and commerce and cost Illinois drivers $8.5 billion each year in the form of lost time and wasted fuel. Drivers in the state’s largest urban areas lose up to $1,500 and spend as much as two-and-a-half days each year in congestion.

ILLINOIS TRAFFIC SAFETY AND FATALITIES

Nearly 5,100 people were killed in traffic crashes in Illinois from 2013 to 2017. Traffic crashes in which a lack of adequate roadway safety features were likely a contributing factor imposed $4.8 billion in economic costs in 2017.

TRANSPORTATION AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

The health and future growth of Illinois’ economy is riding on its transportation system. Each year, $2.9 trillion in goods are shipped to and from Illinois, mostly by truck. By 2045, total freight tonnage being shipped in and out of Illinois is projected to grow by 40 percent, with 70 percent of the added tonnage moved by truck.

A report by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association found that the design, construction, and maintenance of transportation infrastructure in Illinois supports 154,001 full-time jobs across all sectors of the state economy. These workers earn $6.5 billion annually. Approximately 2.6 million full-time jobs in Illinois in key industries like tourism, manufacturing, retail sales, agriculture are completely dependent on the state’s transportation infrastructure network.

For the full report visit  TRIP

TRIP Report: Maryland’s Heavily Traveled Transportation System Will Need Additional Investment To Ease Congestion & Improve Mobility

NEW REPORT IDENTIFIES STATE’S MOST CONGESTED HIGHWAYS AND ARTERIAL ROADWAYS & IDENTIFIES TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS NEEDED TO IMPROVE ACCESS

 Maryland’s quality of life and economic development is being hampered by high levels of traffic congestion and reduced accessibility, but is benefitting from a statewide program to improve accessibility and Governor Hogan has proposed a comprehensive set of transportation improvements designed to  improve mobility, according to a new report released by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation research nonprofit.

According to the TRIP report, Keeping Maryland Mobile: Accomplishments and Challenges in Improving Accessibility in Maryland to Support Quality of Life and a Strong Economy,”the state’s roads carry the highest traffic volume in the nation and commute lengths are the second longest in the U.S. Traffic congestion costs the state’s residents and businesses billions of dollars each year and severely constrains the number of jobs accessible to residents. The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) is implementing a plan to relieve congestion and enhance reliability, and Governor Hogan has recommended a $17.8 billion multimodal congestion relief plan designed to accommodate growth and improve economic development.

Maryland’s major urban highways and roads carried the highest average daily traffic per lane mile in the nation in 2017. The average daily commute for the state’s residents was 32.7 minutes, the second longest average commute in the nation, behind only New York at 33 minutes. The average driver in the Washington, DC area loses 87 hours to congestion each year at an annual cost of $2,007 per driver in lost time and wasted fuel. In the Baltimore area, the average driver loses 50 hours to congestion annually at a cost of $1,220 annually in lost time and wasted fuel. Congestion on the state’s highways, freeways, and major arterial roads costs the public $3.4 billion annually in the value of lost time and wasted fuel.

Traffic congestion also impacts the number of jobs available to residents. in 2017, of the approximately 1.9 million jobs accessible within a one-hour drive to residents of the Baltimore metro area, only 30 percent are accessible within a 30-minute drive. And, of the approximately 2.6 million jobs accessible within a one-hour drive to residents of the Washington, DC metro area, only 24 percent are accessible within a 30-minute drive. In 2017, the number of jobs accessible within a 40-minute drive in the Baltimore and Washington, DC metro areas during peak commuting hours was reduced by 38 and 47 percent, respectively, as a result of traffic congestion.

The TRIP report also identified the most congested portions of Maryland highways and arterial (non-freeway) roadways during weekday AM and PM peak travel hours. The chart below details the ten most congested highways and arterial roadways during peak AM and PM travel hours. A full list of the most congested segments is included in the report.

“The TRIP report outlines exactly why the Traffic Relief Plan is critical to address the congestion Marylanders deal with every day,” said MDOT Secretary Pete K. Rahn.

Freight shipments in Maryland, which are primarily carried by trucks, are expected to increase significantly through 2040 due to population and economic growth, and changes in business, retail, and consumer models, which rely on a faster and more responsive supply chain. The efficiency of freight movement in Maryland is threatened by traffic congestion, which reduces the reliability of goods movement to and from destinations in the state and through the state. The chart below ranks the five highway segments in Maryland that provide the worst travel reliability for commercial trucks as a result of traffic congestion. A full list is included in the report.

MDOT SHA congestion relief programs – which include an incident management program, additional park and ride spaces, HOV lanes, new sidewalks, and bike lanes, and improvements to at-grade rail crossings and major intersections – were estimated in 2016 to save approximately $1.6 billion in reduced delays, fuel consumption and emissions. In addition to the efforts already underway, Governor Hogan has recommended a $17.8 billion multimodal congestion relief plan that includes the following: widening approximately 70 miles of Interstates via funding provided through a public-private partnership, completion of the Purple Line from the Bethesda Metro Station to the New Carrollton Metro Station, and a statewide expansion of the smart traffic signal program.

“It is critical that Maryland has a robust transportation plan capable of improving mobility and accessibility, which is vital to the state’s economic health and quality of life,” said Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director. “While recent state efforts to ease congestion and improve the reliability of Maryland’s transportation system have been helpful, more work still needs to be done. Congress can help by fixing the federal Highway Trust Fund and passing major infrastructure legislation.”

Keeping Maryland Mobile:

Accomplishments and Challenges in Improving Accessibility in Maryland to Support Quality of Life and a Strong Economy

Executive Summary

Accessibility is a critical factor in a state’s quality of life and economic competitiveness. The ability of people and businesses using multiple transportation modes to access employment, customers, commerce, recreation, education and healthcare in a timely fashion is critical for the development of a region and a state. Maryland’s quality of life and economic development is being hampered by high levels of traffic congestion and reduced accessibility, but stands to benefit from a statewide program to improve accessibility in the Old Line State and could realize significant benefits from a proposal for an even more robust program to improve mobility.

TRIP’s “Keeping Maryland Mobile” report examines the mobility and efficiency of the state’s transportation system and improvements needed to enhance access.

TRAFFIC CONGESTION IN MARYLAND

High levels of traffic congestion on Maryland’s major urban roads and highways reduce the reliability and efficiency of personal and commercial travel and hamper the state’s ability to support economic development and quality of life.

  • Maryland’s major urban highways and roads ranked number one nationally in 2017 for the average amount of traffic carried daily per-lane-mile, and second nationally in average daily commute length from 2013 to 2017.

  • The following chart shows the number of hours lost annually per average driver in the state’s two largest urban areas and the per-driver cost of lost time and wasted fuel due to congestion in 2017.

  • In its 2017 state mobility report, the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) estimates that congestion on the state’s highways, freeways and major arterial roads costs the public $3.4 billion annually in the value of lost time and wasted fuel.
  • A Center for Transportation Studies report found that, in 2017, of the approximately 1.9 million jobs accessible within a one-hour drive to residents of the Baltimore metro area, only 30 percent are accessible within a 30-minute drive. And, of the approximately 2.6 million jobs accessible within a one-hour drive to residents of the Washington, DC metro area, only 24 percent are accessible within a 30 minute drive.
  • The Center for Transportation Studies report also found that, in 2017, the number of jobs accessible within a 40 minute drive in the Baltimore and Washington, DC metro areas during peak commuting hours was reduced by 38 and 47 percent, respectively, as a result of traffic congestion.

MARLAND’S MOST CONGESTED ROADWAYS

In its 2017 annual mobility report, MDOT SHA ranked the state’s most congested sections of highways and most congested sections of arterial (non-freeway) roadways.  Traffic congestion on these routes significantly reduces the reliability of travel times in these corridors.

  • The following chart shows the most congested portions of Maryland highways during weekday AM and PM peak travel hours.

  • The following chart shows the most congested portions of Maryland arterial roadways during weekday AM and PM peak travel hours.

POPULATION, ECONOMIC AND TRAVEL TRENDS IN MARYLAND

The rate of population and economic growth in Maryland has resulted in increased demands on the state’s transportation system. 

  • Maryland’s population reached approximately six million residents in 2018, a 14 percent increase since 2000. Maryland’s population is expected to increase to approximately 6.9 million people by 2040 and the state is expected to add another 600,000 jobs by 2040.
  • From 2000 to 2017, Maryland’s gross domestic product (GDP), a measure of the state’s economic output, increased by 45 percent, when adjusted for inflation and U.S. GDP increased by 37 percent.
  • Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in Maryland increased by 20 percent from 2000 to 2017 –from 50 billion VMT in 2000 to 60 billion VMT in 2017. The rate of vehicle travel growth in Maryland has accelerated since 2013, increasing by six percent between 2013 and 2017.
  • By 2040, vehicle travel on I-495 and I-270 is expected to increase by 10 percent and 15 percent respectively.
  • Travel on the InterCounty Connector, a 19-mile tolled highway from I-370 to US 1, which was opened in stages from 2011 to 2014, increased by 35 percent from 2014 to 2016, reaching a daily average of 50,900 vehicles.

FREIGHT TRANSPORTATION IN MARYLAND

Freight shipments in Maryland, which are primarily carried by trucks, are expected to increase significantly through 2040 due to population and economic growth, and changes in business, retail, and consumer models, which rely on a faster and more responsive supply chain.  The efficiency of freight movement in Maryland is threatened by traffic congestion, which reduces the reliability of goods movement to and from destinations in the state and through the state. 

  • Annually, $369 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in Maryland, mostly by truck.  Seventy-seven percent are carried by trucks and another 16 percent are carried by courier services or multiple mode deliveries, which include trucking.
  • The value of freight shipped to and from sites in Maryland, in inflation-adjusted dollars, is expected to increase 110 percent by 2045.
  • The following chart shows the five highway locations in Maryland carrying the largest number of large commercial trucks daily, and the five highway locations where large commercial trucks make up the largest share of daily traffic.

 

  • The following chart details the highway segments in Maryland that provide the worst travel reliability for commercial trucks as a result of traffic congestion.

  • Highway accessibility 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.

PROGRESS IN RELIEVING TRAFFIC CONGESTION IN MARYLAND  

Using a combination of programs and projects, the MDOT SHA is addressing Maryland’s traffic congestion and reliability challenges. These efforts are aimed at improving efficiency and expanding the capacity of the state’s transportation system.

  • MDOT SHA congestion relief programs and projects to improve the efficiency and expand the capacity of the state’s major roadways were estimated in 2016 to save approximately $1.6 billion in reduced delays, fuel consumption, and emissions.
  • MDOT SHA congestion relief efforts include: an incident management program that in 2016 cleared more than 30,000 incidents and assisted approximately 42,000 stranded motorists; improved traffic signalization; the provision of approximately 6,700 park and ride spaces at 106 locations; the use of High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes on portions of I-270 and US 50; the addition of nine miles of new sidewalks, 88 miles of marked bike lanes and six miles of shared use bike lanes; the addition of four new virtual freight weigh stations; the improvement of eight at-grade rail crossings; and, improvements to ten major intersections and the widening of a portion of MD 355 from Center Drive to West Cedar Lane in Montgomery County.

PROPOSED IMPROVEMENTS TO ENHANCE ACCESSIBILITY IN MARYLAND  

Governor Larry Hogan has recommended a transportation plan designed to provide congestion relief, accommodate growth and improve economic development in Maryland. Using innovative design and funding methods, the goal of the plan is to improve the capacity, operations, and safety of Maryland’s transportation system.

  • The $17.8 billion multimodal congestion relief plan includes:
  • Widening of approximately 70 miles of Interstates in Maryland via funding provided through a public-private partnership, including I-495 from south of the American Legion Bridge to east of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge and I-270 from I-495 to I-70, including the east and west I-270 spurs.
  • A traffic relief plan for portions of the Baltimore Beltway from I-70 to MD 43.
  • An active traffic management program for I-95 from MD 32 to MD 100.
  • The expansion of express toll lanes on I-95 from MD 43 to MD 24.
  • The completion of the Purple Line from the Bethesda Metro Station to the New Carrollton Metro Station.
  • Improvements to the BaltimoreLink transit system, the METRO system, and the MARC system.
  • Statewide expansion of the smart traffic signal program.

FEDERAL TRANSPORTATION FUNDING IN MARYLAND

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

  • Most federal funds for highway and transit improvements in Maryland are provided by federal highway user fees, largely an 18.4 cents-per-gallon tax on gasoline and a 24.4 cents-per-gallon tax on diesel fuel. Because revenue into the federal Highway Trust Fund has been inadequate to support legislatively set funding levels since 2008, Congress has transferred approximately $53 billion in general funds and an additional $2 billion from a related trust fund into the federal Highway Trust Fund.

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

Michigan Governor’s statement on ‘hidden roads tax’ costing drivers $646/yr

LANSING, Mich. (WILX) – On Tuesday, Governor Gretchen Whitmer released the following statement after the national transportation research group TRIP found that the average Michigan driver spends $646 per year on car repairs, which is up from $562 in previous reports.

“Every driver in Michigan is already paying a hidden tax on our roads, and the cost just went up.

If we don’t raise the $2.5 billion we need to actually fix our roads the right way, with the right materials, the cost will continue to go up year after year. Patching potholes and ignoring the problem isn’t working. Instead, it’s hurting our families and businesses and holding our economy back.

I’ve offered a real plan to raise the revenue we need to fix the damn roads and ensure we can attract businesses and talent to our state, and I’m ready to work with everyone who’s ready to solve these problems.”

https://www.wilx.com/content/news/Governors-statement-on-hidden-roads-tax-costing-drivers-646yr–507028711.html