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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.

TRIP Reports: MISSOURI MOTORISTS LOSE $7.8 BILLION PER YEAR DRIVING ON ROADS THAT ARE ROUGH, CONGESTED & LACK SOME SAFETY FEATURES

MISSOURI MOTORISTS LOSE $7.8 BILLION PER YEAR DRIVING ON ROADS THAT ARE ROUGH, CONGESTED & LACK SOME SAFETY FEATURES– AS MUCH AS $2,031 PER DRIVER. LACK OF FUNDING WILL LEAD TO FURTHER DETERIORATION, INCREASED CONGESTION & HIGHER COSTS TO MOTORISTS

Roads and bridges that are deteriorated, congested or lack some desirable safety features cost Missouri motorists a total of $7.8 billion statewide annually – as much as $2,0311 per driver- 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 Missouri, according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation research group.

The TRIP report, Missouri Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe, Smooth and Efficient Mobility,” finds that throughout Missouri, one-half of major locally and state-maintained roads are in poor or mediocre condition and 13 percent of locally and state-maintained bridges are structurally deficient. The report also finds that Missouri’s major urban roads are becoming increasingly congested, causing significant delays and choking commuting and commerce.

Driving on Missouri roads costs the state’s drivers a total of $7.8 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 cost 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 Columbia-Jefferson City, Kansas City, St. Louis and Springfield areas. A breakdown of the costs per motorist in each area, along with a statewide total, is below.

The TRIP report finds that 24 percent of major locally and state-maintained roads in Missouri are in poor condition and 28 percent are in mediocre condition. Nineteen percent of the state’s major roads are in fair condition and the remaining 29 percent are in good condition. Driving on rough roads costs the state’s motorists a total of $3 billion each year in extra vehicle operating costs, including accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.

Traffic congestion throughout Missouri is worsening, causing up to 45 annual hours of delay for drivers in the largest urban area and costing the state’s drivers $2.4 billion each year in lost time and wasted fuel.

Thirteen percent of Missouri’s bridges are structurally deficient, with significant deterioration to the bridge deck, supports or other major components. This is the eleventh highest rate in the nation.

Traffic crashes in Missouri claimed the lives of nearly 4,200 people between 2012 and 2016. Missouri’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.28 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel is higher than the national average of 1.18.  The fatality rate on Missouri’s non-interstate rural roads is nearly two and a half times that on all other roads in the state (2.15 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs. 0.88). The financial impact of traffic crashes costs the state’s drivers a total of $2.4 billion annually.

“TRIP’s study shows bad roads cost Missourians money and time in big and small ways that add up to considerable expense, stress, and frustration,” said Scott Charton, communications director for SaferMo.com. “Missouri voters have the opportunity on November 6 to do something to fix our roads by voting “YES” on Proposition D, which will provide more than $400 million annually in new road and bridge funding across Missouri, including a 66 percent increase in state funding for local priority projects. Missourians can take a positive step for safer roads and safer streets by supporting Prop D.”

The efficiency and condition of Missouri’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy.  Annually, $495 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in Missouri, mostly by trucks, 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 Missouri support more than 79,000 full-time jobs across all sectors of the state economy.

“Driving on deficient roads comes with a $7.8 billion price tag for Missouri motorists – as much as $2,031 per driver,” said Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director. “Adequate funding for the state’s transportation system would allow for smoother roads, more efficient mobility, enhanced safety, and economic growth opportunities while saving Missouri’s drivers time and money.”

MISSOURI KEY TRANSPORTATION FACTS

THE HIDDEN COSTS OF DEFICIENT ROADS

Driving on Missouri roads that are deteriorated, congested and that lack some desirable safety features costs Missouri drivers a total of $7.8 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.

MISSOURI ROADS PROVIDE A ROUGH RIDE

Due to inadequate state and local funding, 52 percent of major roads and highways in Missouri are in poor or mediocre condition. Driving on rough roads costs the average Missouri driver $695 annually in additional vehicle operating costs.

MISSOURI BRIDGE CONDITIONS

Thirteen percent of Missouri’s bridges are structurally deficient (the eleventh highest share in the nation), meaning there is significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components. 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 Missouri, 40 percent of the state’s bridges (9,913 of 24,487) were built in 1969 or earlier.

MISSOURI ROADS ARE INCREASINGLY CONGESTED

Congested roads choke commuting and commerce and cost Missouri drivers $2.4 billion each year in the form of lost time and wasted fuel. In the most congested urban areas, drivers lose up to $1,080 and nearly two full days each year in congestion.

MISSOURI TRAFFIC SAFETY AND FATALITIES

From 2012 to 2016, 4,163 people were killed in traffic crashes in Missouri. Traffic crashes imposed a total of $7.1 billion in economic costs in Missouri in 2016 and traffic crashes in which roadway features were likely a contributing factor imposed $2.4 billion in economic costs.

TRANSPORTATION AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

The health and future growth of Missouri’s economy is riding on its transportation system. Each year, $495 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in Missouri, mostly by truck. Increases in passenger and freight movement will place further burdens on the state’s already deteriorated and congested network of roads and bridges.

The design, construction and maintenance of transportation infrastructure in Missouri supports 79,083 full-time jobs across all sectors of the state economy. These workers earn $2.9 billion annually. Approximately 1.3 million full-time jobs in Missouri in key industries like tourism, retail sales, agriculture and manufacturing are completely dependent on the state’s transportation network.

 

 

 

 

 

TRIP Reports: The release of TRIP’s national rural roads report generated a good deal of news coverage…

The release of TRIP’s national rural roads report generated a good deal of news coverage when it was released last June and in the following months. Today, the report’s findings were quoted in the following White House briefing statement addressing America’s rural infrastructure needs. Click here to view online.

Building a Stronger America: Rural Communities Need Reliable, Modern Infrastructure

Infrastructure & Technology   Issued on: February 21, 2018

“No longer will we allow the infrastructure of our magnificent country to crumble and decay.”

President Donald J. Trump

RURAL INFRASTRUCTURE IS IN NEED OF REPAIR: Infrastructure systems across rural America have fallen into a state of disrepair, holding back rural communities.

  • More than a third of all major rural roads in the United States were in poor or mediocre condition in 2015 according to a report by TRIP, a national transportation research organization.
    • 15 percent of major rural roads were rated in poor condition.
    • 21 percent of major rural roads were rated in mediocre condition.
    • 14 states had 20 percent or more of their major rural roads rated in poor condition, with some states having around 40 percent in poor condition.
  • Ten percent of all rural bridges were rated as “structurally deficient” in 2016, according to TRIP.
  • Small community water systems, or systems that serve 3,300 people or fewer, have $64.5 billion in funding needs over a 20 year period according to a report by the Environmental Protection Agency.
    • Because small water systems lack economies of scale, small cities often experience the largest percentage increase in user charges and fees.
  • More than 100,000 miles of rail lines have been abandoned over the past few decades, reducing critical rail access in many rural communities.

INSUFFICIENT BROADBAND ACCESS: Far too many Americans living in rural communities lack sufficient broadband access. 

  • The high cost of rural broadband deployment has prevented commercial internet providers from installing broadband equipment in rural areas.
  • Insufficient broadband access has left many rural Americans without the tools they need to engage in the modern economy and use important services such as telemedicine and long-distance learning.
  • 39 percent of Americans living in rural areas, 23 million people, lack sufficient broadband access, according to a 2016 report by the Federal Communications Commission.

RURAL PROSPERITY DEPENDS ON INFRASTRUCTURE: It is time to give rural communities the quality infrastructure they need in order to grow and thrive.

  • 93 percent of rural Americans believe Federal investments in infrastructure are important to improving the job situation in their communities, according to a June 2017 poll published by The Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation.
    • 74 percent of rural Americans polled believe infrastructure investments are “very important” to improving the job situation in their communities.
  • Many industries important to the rural economy require efficient infrastructure, including energy production, manufacturing, and agriculture.
  • Communities with agriculture dominant economies need reliable infrastructure in order to effectively conduct business.
    • Effective transportation systems help reduce the prices farmers must pay for operating supplies.
    • The agriculture industry relies on a variety of transportation methods such as trucking, rail, and waterways to maintain the agriculture supply chain.

The White House

TRIP Reports AMERICA’S RURAL ROADS & BRIDGES HAVE SIGNIFICANT DEFICIENCIES & HIGH FATALITY RATES

AMERICA’S RURAL ROADS & BRIDGES HAVE SIGNIFICANT DEFICIENCIES & HIGH FATALITY RATES; REPAIRS & MODERNIZATION NEEDED TO IMPROVE CONDITIONS, BOOST SAFETY & SUPPORT ECONOMIC GROWTH AND 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. Rural America is home to an aging and increasingly diverse population that is heavily reliant on the quality of its transportation system. This is according to a new report released today by TRIP. 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 improvements to address deficient roads and bridges, high crash rates, and inadequate connectivity and capacity. TRIP is a national non-profit transportation research group based in Washington, D.C. The chart below shows the states with the highest rate of rural pavements in poor condition, states with the highest share of structurally deficient rural bridges and those 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. Sixteen percent of the nation’s rural roads are in fair condition and the remaining 48 percent are in good condition. Ten percent of the nation’s rural bridges are rated as structurally deficient, meaning there is significant deterioration to the major components of the bridge.

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 more than two-and-a-half times higher than on all other roads. In 2015, non-Interstate rural roads had a traffic fatality rate of 2.18 deaths for every 100 million vehicle miles of travel, compared to a fatality rate on all other roads of 0.83 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles of travel. The number of fatalities and the fatality rate on rural, non-Interstate U.S. roads increased in 2105 after decreasing each year between 2012 and 2014.

“Rural roads are far too often overlooked. With fatality rates rising, repairing and maintaining the nation’s roads must be a top priority for legislators,” said Kathleen Bower, AAA senior vice president of public affairs and international relations. “By investing in improvements for today and tomorrow, we can deliver safer experiences for motorists and save tens of thousands of lives.”

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 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.

“Farmers and ranchers depend on rural roads, highways and bridges to move their products to market,” said Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation. “Transportation delays and costs take a bite out of our profitability and competitiveness and impact the quality of rural life.  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 and foster economic growth.”

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 quality of life and enhance economic productivity. The nation’s ability to address its rural transportation challenges will 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.

“We applaud the president, the new administration, and members of Congress for leading the conversation on an issue of critical importance to our 21st century economy: rebuilding America’s infrastructure,” said U.S. Chamber’s Executive Director for Transportation Infrastructure Ed Mortimer. “The American business community looks forward to developing and implementing a long-term plan that will bring our nation’s rural and urban infrastructure up to speed and spur economic growth. Now is the time to take action and to get the job done.”

Rural America is home to the vast majority of tourist destinations, many of which rely on good access. “Crumbling bridges, poorly maintained roads and congested highways discourage travel, threatening the entire U.S. economy,” said Erik Hansen, vice president of government relations for the U.S. Travel Association. “Lawmakers have signaled their interest in finding solutions for America’s surface transportation, as evidenced in passage of the FAST Act and the formation of the NACTTI advisory board. However, far more is needed–and fast–to finish the job.”

Freight mobility and efficiency is fundamental to rural economic vitality and prosperity. “It’s time for our elected leaders to act. Investing in our rural roads will improve safety and efficiency on roadways that are vital to agricultural commerce. That is a top priority for our nation’s 3.2 million farmers, and the 320,000 Americans whose jobs are supported by the manufacturing of farm equipment,” said Robert B. Crain, senior VP & general manager, North and South America, AGCO Corporation.

“The safety and quality of life in America’s small communities and rural areas and the health of the nation’s economy ride on our rural transportation system. The nation’s 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.”

To read the full report and regional/state reports visit: TRIP Rural Roads Report