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TRIP Report: MODERNIZING OKLAHOMA’S TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM:

Progress and Challenges in Providing Safe, Efficient and Well-Maintained Roads, Highways and Bridges 

Executive Summary

Oklahoma’s extensive system of roads, highways and bridges provides the state’s residents, visitors and businesses with a high level of mobility. This transportation system forms the backbone that supports the state’s economy and contributes to the provision of a high quality of life in Oklahoma.

A decade ago, Oklahoma had significant road, highway and bridge deterioration and high rates of traffic fatalities.  But beginning with legislative action in 2005 and continuing through state legislative action as recent as 2013, Oklahoma has undertaken a sustained commitment to upgrade the condition and efficiency of its roads, highways and bridges and to reduce traffic fatalities by modernizing its highway system.

By making this effort, Oklahoma has been able to reverse the deterioration of major roads, highways and bridges and has begun to improve traffic safety in the state by modernizing urban and rural roads and highways.  These efforts have resulted in a large reduction in the number of state-maintained deficient bridges, the rehabilitation and reconstruction of thousands of miles of roadways, and the completion of safety improvements that are saving numerous lives each year.

But the state still has far to go to meet its initial goals through 2021 for the reconstruction and modernization of the state highway system, additional improvements in road and bridge conditions, and further traffic safety enhancements.  Achieving the state’s goals for a modern, well-maintained and safe transportation system will require “staying the course” with Oklahoma’s current transportation program and doubling down on this effort by proceeding with further transportation improvements well through the next decade.

Population and economic growth have placed increased demands on Oklahoma’s major roads and highways, leading to mounting wear and tear on the transportation system. 

  • Oklahoma’s population reached approximately 3.8 million in 2012, a 21 percent increase since 1990, when the state’s population was approximately 3.1 million.  Oklahoma has approximately 2.4 million licensed drivers.
  • Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in Oklahoma increased 45 percent from 1990 to 2012 – from 33.1 billion VMT in 1990 to 47.9 billion VMT in 2012, higher than the rate of VMT growth nationally, which increased by 38 percent since 1990.
  • By 2030, vehicle travel in Oklahoma is projected to increase by another 25 percent.
  • From 1990 to 2012, Oklahoma’s gross domestic product (GDP), a measure of the state’s economic output, increased by 59 percent, when adjusted for inflation

Oklahoma has been able to rehabilitate approximately a quarter of state-maintained roads and highways since 2006 as the state continues to reconstruct and modernize its highways.  While further improvements in roadway structural conditions, safety design and capacity are planned for the state’s major roads, Oklahoma will continue to face a challenge in maintaining surface pavement conditions and the need to further modernize its highway system.    

  • Since 2006, Oklahoma has made significant progress in improving the overall quality and condition of its 12,265 miles of state-maintained roadways, largely due to the increased funding approved by the state legislature beginning in 2005.
  • Since 2006, 301 miles of Oklahoma’s 673 miles of Interstate were rehabilitated or reconstructed.
  • Since 2006, Oklahoma has resurfaced, rehabilitated or reconstructed more than 3,000 miles of non-Interstate state roads and highways.
  • Currently, 4,600 miles of Oklahoma’s state-maintained roads lack paved shoulders, reducing safety and limiting capacity on these routes. The state’s current transportation plan calls for improving 567 miles of these two-lane roads, including the addition of paved shoulders, by 2021, making these routes safer and more efficient.
  • Currently 11.5 percent of state-maintained roads and highways in Oklahoma have pavements in deficient condition and this share is anticipated to increase to 12.2 percent in 2021.

The number of Oklahoma’s state-maintained structurally deficient bridges has been cut in half in recent years as a result of accelerated bridge replacement and rehabilitation efforts that were made possible by additional funding provided by the state legislature. By 2021 the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) anticipates reducing the number of state-maintained structurally deficient bridges to near zero. 

  • A total of 468 of Oklahoma’s 6,800 state-maintained bridges were rated structurally deficient in 2013. This represents a significant reduction since 2004 when 1,168 state-maintained bridges were structurally deficient.  From 2006 through 2013 ODOT replaced or rehabilitated 823 bridges.
  • By 2021, the state expects to replace or provide major rehabilitation to 924 state-maintained bridges, reducing the number of state-maintained, structurally deficient bridges to near zero.
  • As a result of the significant improvement in Oklahoma’s state-maintained bridges the state’s overall share of structurally deficient bridges, including locally maintained bridges, that dropped from 27 percent in 2006  (the highest share nationally)  to 18 percent in 2013 (the fifth highest share nationally).
  • A bridge is structurally deficient if there is significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components. Structurally deficient bridges are often posted for lower weight or closed to traffic, restricting or redirecting large vehicles, including commercial trucks and emergency services vehicles. Structurally deficient bridges are safe for travel and are maintained and monitored on a regular basis by the agencies responsible for their upkeep.

While Oklahoma has made significant safety improvements to its roadways in recent years, the state’s traffic fatality rate is still significantly higher than the national average.  Improved safety features on Oklahoma’s roads and highways are needed to decrease traffic fatalities and serious crashes in the state. It is estimated that roadway features are likely a contributing factor in approximately one-third of all fatal and serious traffic crashes.  

  • Between 2008 and 2012, 3,559 people were killed in traffic crashes in Oklahoma, an average of 712 fatalities per year.
  • Oklahoma’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.48 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2012 is 31 percent higher than the national average of 1.13.
  • The traffic fatality rate in Oklahoma declined from 1.57 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2006 to 1.48 fatalities in 2012 – a six percent decrease. During that time, the national fatality rate decreased 20 percent from 1.41 to 1.13 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel.
  • The traffic fatality rate on Oklahoma’s non-Interstate rural roads in 2012 was more than two-and-a-half times higher than on all other roads and highways in the state – 2.52 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel compared to 0.92.
  • Since 2006, 635 miles of cable median barriers have been completed or are under construction on Oklahoma’s divided high-speed roads. These barriers have dramatically reduced the number of fatalities resulting from crossover collisions. From 2007 to 2012, the number of fatalities due to crossover collisions in Oklahoma dropped from 39 to six.
  • Nearly a third – 31 percent – of miles of state-maintained highways in Oklahoma (3,862 of 12,265 miles) are rated as either critical or inadequate for safety, based on an evaluation of safety features such as passing opportunities, adequate sight distances, existence of paved shoulders, recovery areas for errant vehicles and the severity of hills and curves.
  • By 2021, the miles of state-maintained highways in Oklahoma that are rated either critical or inadequate for safety are anticipated to be reduced from 3,862 to 3,680.
  •  Several factors are associated with vehicle crashes that result in fatalities, including driver behavior, vehicle characteristics and roadway features. It is estimated that roadway features are likely a contributing factor in approximately one-third of fatal traffic crashes.
  • Where appropriate, highway improvements can reduce traffic fatalities and crashes while improving traffic flow to help relieve congestion.  Such improvements include removing or shielding obstacles; adding or improving medians; improved lighting; adding rumble strips, wider lanes, wider and paved shoulders; upgrading roads from two lanes to four lanes; and better road markings and traffic signals.
  • Investments in rural traffic safety have been found to result in significant reductions in serious traffic crashes.  A 2012 report by the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) found that improvements completed recently by the Texas Department of Transportation that widened lanes, improved shoulders and made other safety improvements on 1,159 miles of rural state roadways resulted in 133 fewer fatalities on these roads in the first three years after the improvements were completed (as compared to the three years prior).   TTI estimates that the improvements on these roads are likely to save 880 lives over the next 20 years.

Federal funding for Oklahoma’s roads, highways and bridges may be cut as early as this summer because of a lack of adequate federal transportation revenue.  The current federal transportation program, which provides funding for the state’s roads and bridges, is set to expire this fall and will require Congressional action to continue beyond September 30th, 2014.   Future state highway spending will also be reduced by $75 million annually, which will be required to pay off bonds that were issued to help pay for the state’s recent road and bridge improvements.

  • The MAP-21 program, approved by Congress in July 2012, increased funding flexibility for states and improved project approval processes to increase the efficiency of state and local transportation agencies in providing needed transportation improvements.
  • The impact of inadequate federal surface transportation revenues could be felt as early as summer of 2014, when federal funding for road, highway and bridge projects is likely to be delayed because the balance in the Highway Account of the federal Highway Trust Fund is expected to drop below $1 billion. This delay and uncertainty in funding will likely result in the postponement of numerous projects.
  • MAP-21 does not provide sufficient long-term revenues to support the current level of federal surface transportation investment.  Nationwide federal funding for highways is expected to be cut by almost 100 percent from the current investment level for the fiscal year starting October 1, 2014 (FY 2015) unless Congress provides additional transportation revenues.  This is due to a cash shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund as projected by the Congressional Budget Office.
  • If the funding shortfalls into the federal Highway Trust Fund are addressed solely by cutting spending it is estimated that federal funding for highway and transit improvements in Oklahoma will be cut by $625 million for the federal fiscal year starting October 1, 2014, unless Congress provides additional transportation revenues.
  • Oklahoma is obligated to pay $75 million annually to retire bonds issued over the last decade to help pay for road, highway and bridge improvements in the state.

The efficiency of Oklahoma’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the state’s economy.  Businesses are increasingly reliant on an efficient and reliable transportation system to move products and services. A key component in business efficiency and success is the level and ease of access to customers, markets, materials and workers.

  • Annually, $117 billion in goods are shipped from sites in Oklahoma and another $135 billion in goods are shipped to sites in Oklahoma, mostly by truck.

  • Eighty percent of the goods shipped annually from sites in Oklahoma are carried by trucks and another seven percent are carried by courier services or multiple mode deliveries, which include trucking.
  • Highway accessibility was ranked the number one site selection factor in a 2011 survey of corporate executives by Area Development Magazine.

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

TRIP Report: Maine’s Top 50 Transportation Challenges and Improvements Needed to Address Them

TRIPNew Report Identifies Maine’s Top 50 Transportation Challenges And Needed Fixes, Including Deteriorated And Congested Roadways, Deficient Bridges And Needed Safety Improvements

Deficient roads, highways and bridges in Maine are posing mounting challenges to the state’s residents, visitors and businesses and addressing these challenges will require numerous projects to reconstruct highways, repair and replace bridges improve safety features and improve access on the state’s transportation system.  This is according to a new report released recently by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation research organization.

The report, Maine’s Top 50 Transportation Challenges and the Improvements Needed to Address Them,” identifies and ranks the state’s top 50 transportation challenges. Those transportation challenges include 12 sections of major roads or highways that need significant repairs or reconstruction; 19 major bridges in the state that have significant deficiencies and need to be rebuilt or reconstructed; an expansion of a marine terminal; and 18 sections of the state’s transportation system that need improvements to address multiple challenges by improving safety, increasing access or improving road or bridge conditions.  The report also offers solutions for fixing each of the transportation challenges.

thThe top transportation challenges in the state, as identified by the TRIP report, are as follows. Additional details for all 50 transportation challenges can be found in the report’s Appendix.

Executive Summary

            Maine’s extensive system of roads, highways and bridges provides the state’s residents, visitors and businesses with a high level of mobility. As the backbone of the Pine Tree State’s economy, Maine’s surface transportation system plays a vital role in the state’s economic well-being, and is an integral part of what makes Maine an attractive place to live, work, visit and do business.

However, increasing roadway and bridge deterioration, traffic safety concerns, and growing congestion threaten to stifle economic growth and negatively impact the quality of life of the state’s 1.3 million residents. Due to insufficient transportation funding at the federal, state and local level, Maine faces numerous challenges in providing a road, highway and bridge network that is smooth, well-maintained, as safe as possible, and that affords a level of mobility capable of supporting the state’s economic goals

As Maine looks to build and maintain a thriving and diverse economy, it will need to modernize its transportation system by improving the physical condition of its roads, highways and bridges, and enhancing the system’s ability to provide efficient, safe and reliable mobility to the state’s residents, visitors and businesses.  Making needed improvements to Maine’s roads, highways and bridges will provide a significant boost to the state’s economy by stimulating short and long-term economic growth.

Numerous segments of Maine’s transportation system have significant deterioration, are congested or crowded, lack some desirable safety features, and do not have adequate capacity to provide reliable mobility, creating challenges for Maine’s residents, visitors, businesses and state and local governments.  This report looks at the condition and use of Maine’s system of roads, highways and bridges and provides information on the state’s top 50 transportation challenges and the improvements needed to address these challenges.

Deficient roads, highways and bridges, and crowded or congested routes in Maine are posing mounting challenges to the state’s residents, visitors and businesses in the form of lost time, increased vehicle operating costs and the financial burden of making needed transportation improvements. 

  • Maine’s top 50 transportation challenges as ranked by TRIP include: Twelve sections of major roads or highways that need significant repairs or reconstruction, 19 major bridges in the state that have significant deficiencies and need to be rebuilt or reconstructed; one improvement to a maritime facility, and 18 sections of the state’s transportation system that need improvements to address multiple challenges by improving safety, increasing access or improving road or bridge conditions.
  • TRIP ranked Maine’s top transportation challenges by giving each segment or facility an overall score, based on a scale that included points for the following categories: current volume of daily travel or ridership; the challenge posed to the public based on the significance of the problem or deficiency; the importance of the route or facility to regional, interstate or international travel patterns; the importance of the route or facility to the regional economy; and, the cost to repair the deficiency.
  • The following list details the top 10 transportation challenges in Maine. Further details about each challenge, as well as the full list of 50 challenges, can be found in the Appendix.

1.    Needed Reconstruction of a portion of Route 3 in Bar Harbor. Addressing this challenge will require reconstructing 4.8 miles of Route 3 in Bar Harbor from approximately one half-mile west of Sand Point Road to Route 233. Estimated cost is $14 million. Route 3, the Acadia All-American Road, is perhaps the most significant highway in Maine for the tourism industry, providing access to Acadia National Park and over 1,000 beds for lodging. It carries approximately 10,317 vehicles per day. The current design and construction of the road lead to constant cracking at the margins. Safety will be greatly improved with better road geometrics, improved access and improved facilities for pedestrian and bicycle. This completes Route 3 improvement projects from the head of the island near Trenton to Bar Harbor.

2.    Needed Replacement of Union Street Bridge in Bangor. Addressing this challenge will require replacing the Union Street Bridge over I-95 in Bangor. Estimated cost is $8.7 million. This is a critical bridge over I-95 on Union Street (Route 222), providing access to Bangor International Airport and the University of Maine at Bangor.

3.    Needed Reconstruction of a portion of Route 302 in Portland area. Addressing this challenge will require reconstructing Route 302 from Stack Em Inn Road and extending west 5.19 miles. Estimated cost is $7.4 million. Route 302 is the major highway from Portland to Fryeburg, Maine and Conway, New Hampshire. It is a major route for commerce, supplying raw products and finished goods to market, as well as a significant commuter route for the labor force in the Greater Portland labor market. This route also serves the tourist rich areas of Fryeburg, Maine and Conway, New Hampshire. There are no practicable alternative routes without adding substantial time and cost.

4.    Needed Replacement of Pine Point Crossing Bridge in Scarborough. Addressing this challenge will require replacing the Pine Point Crossing Bridge over the Pan Am Railroad. Estimated cost is $3.3 million. This bridge, located on Pine Point Road (Route 9), provides primary access to the Coastal Beaches surrounding the Cumberland-York County boundary. The bridge carries an important highway supporting tourism economy. Loss of the bridge will have negative economic impact especially to businesses along this section of Route 9. There are no practicable alternative routes without adding substantial time and cost.

5.    Needed Replacement of Bar Mills Bridge from Buxton to Hollis. Addressing this challenge will require replacing the deteriorated Bar Mills Bridge over the Saco River at the Buxton – Hollis town line. Estimated cost is $8.3 million. The replacement of this bridge will improve safety and access and provide a more direct connection from Buxton to Hollis.

6.    Needed Capacity Expansion of the International Marine Terminal (IMT).  Addressing this challenge will require property acquisition to increase the capacity of the terminal, providing direct rail access to the terminal, and other infrastructure improvements. Estimated cost is $9 million. The International Marine Terminal (IMT) in Portland was selected by the Icelandic Steamship Company, Eimskip, to serve as their North American logistical hub, and only port of call in the US.  They have been carrying freight to and from Portland since March 2013.  Maine businesses will benefit from competitive access to important markets in Eastern Canada, Scandinavia and Northern Europe.

7.    Needed Replacement of Durham Bridge between Durham and Lisbon. Addressing this challenge will require replacing the Durham Bridge (Route 9) over the Androscoggin River. Estimated cost is $6.8 million. This is an essential bridge over the Androscoggin River. Route 9 provides a major commuter route through high-population regions, from southern and western Kennebec through the rural areas of Cumberland County west of I-295. Route 9 is important as a commuter route for work force from rural areas to the service centers communities along its length from Gardiner to Portland. There are no practicable alternative routes without adding substantial time and cost.

8.    Needed Reconstruction of a portion of River Road in Westbrook and Windham. Addressing this challenge will require reconstructing three miles of River Road from Westbrook town line to 0.17 miles south of the intersection of Chute and Depot Road. Estimated cost is $4.8 million. River Road, an important commuter route, holds significant regional importance as a “bypass” alternative to congestion on Route 302 between Portland and Windham. It is an important route for goods and services that support regional businesses. Alternative routes are available, but with increased travel times and cost.

9.    Needed Reconstruction of a portion of Route 2 in Old Town and Milford. Addressing this challenge will require reconstructing 0.75 miles of Route 2 from Bradley Road to 0.29 miles north of Ferry Road. Estimated cost is $3.5 million. Route 2 provides a major non-interstate link from Houlton to Bangor and is a critical link from the forests of the region to the lumber and paper mills of the area, including those in Old Town, Bucksport and Lincoln.

10. Needed Construction of the Approach to the International Bridge at Fort Kent. Addressing this challenge will require constructing the approach associated with replacing the International Bridge on Route 1 in Aroostook. Estimated cost is $5.2 million. Route One connects the border crossings at Ft Kent, Madawaska, and Van Buren. This corridor, which carries approximately 8,100 vehicles per day, is the principal highway link to Route 11, Route 161, and to I-95 in Smyrna and Houlton. It is the transportation backbone of the natural resource based economy, serving as the gateway to the vast undeveloped forest of the “Maine Woods” and supplying raw products to paper and lumber mills throughout northern Maine. Route One also serves as a critical corridor for the logging, agricultural, winter sport and tourism industries. It also provides improved access to Canadian seaports.

Growth in population and vehicle travel has far outstripped the current capacity of Maine’s transportation system. The state’s population and economy will continue to grow in the future, bringing mounting challenges for the existing network of roads and bridges.

  • From 1990 to 2012, Maine’s population increased by eight percent, from approximately 1.2 million to approximately 1.3 million.
  • From 1990 to 2011, annual vehicle-miles-of-travel (VMT) in the state increased by 20 percent, from approximately 11.9 billion VMT to 14.2 billion VMT. Based on travel and population trends, TRIP estimates that vehicle travel in Maine will increase another 15 percent by 2030.
  • Every year, $30.9 billion in goods are shipped from sites in Maine and another $41.1 billion in goods are shipped to sites in Maine, mostly by trucks. Eighty-one percent of the goods shipped annually from sites in Maine are carried by trucks and another 13 percent are carried by parcel, U.S. Postal Service or courier services, which use trucks for part of their deliveries.

Maine’s extensive transportation system has some road and bridge deficiencies, lacks some desirable safety features and experiences severe congestion in key areas, resulting in significant costs to the state’s motorists.  Improvements to the condition and efficiency of the state’s transportation system will enhance quality of life, roadway safety and economic development.

  • Maine’s population and economy will continue to grow in the future, bringing mounting challenges for the existing network of roads and bridges. The state will need to expand key roads, highways and bridges to increase mobility and ease traffic congestion, make needed road and bridge repairs, and improve roadway safety.
  • Maine’s system of 22,874 miles of roads and 2,408 bridges carries 14.2 billion vehicle miles of travel annually.
  • In 2011, nine percent of Maine’s major roads were in poor condition and an additional 24 percent were in mediocre condition.
  •             The pavement data in this report is provided by the Federal Highway Administration, based on data submitted annually by the Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT) on the condition of major state and locally maintained roads and highways in the state.
  • Fifteen percent of Maine’s bridges are rated structurally deficient.  A bridge is structurally deficient if there is significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components.  Structurally deficient bridges are often posted for lower weight or closed to traffic, restricting or redirecting large vehicles, including commercial trucks, school buses and emergency services vehicles.
  • Eighteen percent of Maine’s bridges are rated as functionally obsolete. Bridges that are functionally obsolete no longer meet current highway design standards or are inadequate to accommodate current traffic levels, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment.
  • Maine’s urban roads are becoming increasingly congested, hampering commuting and commerce while reducing economic opportunities and quality of life in the state. Unless Maine’s transportation system is improved and enhanced, congestion will worsen dramatically in the coming years.
  • Roadway features are likely a contributing factor in approximately one-third of traffic fatalities. There were 136 traffic fatalities in 2011 in Maine. A total of 794 people died on Maine’s highways from 2007 through 2011.
  • Roadway features that impact safety include the number of lanes, lane widths, lighting, lane markings, rumble strips, shoulders, guard rails, other shielding devices, median barriers and intersection design.
  • Maine’s traffic fatality rate of 0.95 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2011 was lower than the national average of 1.10.
  • Where appropriate, highway improvements can reduce traffic fatalities and crashes while improving traffic flow to help relieve congestion.  Such improvements include removing or shielding obstacles; adding or improving medians; improved lighting; adding rumble strips, wider lanes, wider and paved shoulders; upgrading roads from two lanes to four lanes; and, better road markings and traffic signals.

Transportation projects that improve the efficiency, condition or safety of a highway provide significant economic benefits by reducing transportation delays and costs associated with a deficient transportation system.  Some benefits of transportation improvements include the following.

  • Improved business competitiveness due to reduced production and distribution costs as a result of increased travel speeds and fewer mobility barriers.
  • Improvements in household welfare resulting from better access to higher-paying jobs, a wider selection of competitively priced consumer goods, additional housing and healthcare options, and improved mobility for residents without access to private vehicles.
  • Gains in local, regional and state economies due to improved regional economic competitiveness, which stimulates population and job growth.
  • Increased leisure/tourism and business travel resulting from the enhanced condition and reliability of a region’s transportation system.
  • A reduction in economic losses from vehicle crashes, traffic congestion and vehicle maintenance costs associated with driving on deficient roads.
  • The creation of both short-term and long-term jobs.
  • Transportation projects that expand roadway or bridge capacity produce significant economic benefits by reducing congestion and improving access, thus speeding the flow of people and goods while reducing fuel consumption.
  • Transportation projects that maintain and preserve existing transportation infrastructure also provide significant economic benefits by improving travel speeds, capacity, load-carry abilities and safety, and reducing operating costs for people and businesses.  Such projects also extend the service life of a road, bridge or transit vehicle or facility, which saves money by either postponing or eliminating the need for more expensive future repairs.
  • Highway accessibility was ranked the number one site selection factor in a 2011 survey of corporate executives by Area Development Magazine.
  • A 2007 analysis by the Federal Highway Administration found that every $1 billion invested in highway construction would support approximately 27,800 jobs, including approximately 9,500 in the construction sector, approximately 4,300 jobs in industries supporting the construction sector, and approximately 14,000 other jobs induced in non-construction related sectors of the economy.
  • The Federal Highway Administration estimates that each dollar spent on road, highway and bridge improvements results in an average benefit of $5.20 in the form of reduced vehicle maintenance costs, reduced delays, reduced fuel consumption, improved safety, reduced road and bridge maintenance costs, and reduced emissions as a result of improved traffic flow.

Sources of data for this report include the Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT), the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Maine Transportation Institute (TTI), and the U.S. Census Bureau.  All data used in the report is the latest available.

 

TRIP Reports: The Top 50 Transportation Projects to Support Economic Growth and Quality of Life in New Mexico

TRIPNew Report Identifies New Mexico’s 50 Most Needed Transportation Projects For Economic Growth; Projects Would Improve, Modernize And Expand Road And Transit Systems To Support And Grow The State’s Economy

In order to adequately support New Mexico’s existing industries and provide for additional economic growth, the state will need to make numerous improvements to its surface transportation system. This is according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation research organization.

TRIP’s report, “The Top 50 Surface Transportation Projects to Support Economic Growth and Quality of Life in New Mexico,” identifies and ranks the projects needed to provide New Mexico with a transportation system that can support the increased movement of people, goods and resources throughout the state.  The most needed surface transportation improvements in New Mexico include projects to build, expand or modernize highways or bridges, projects to improve rail or public transportation, and multi-modal projects. These improvements would enhance economic development opportunities throughout the state by increasing mobility and freight movement, easing congestion, and making New Mexico an attractive place to live, visit and do business.

According to the TRIP report, the most needed projects for the state’s economic growth are as follows

1.     US 491 expansion to four lanes from Twin Lakes to Naschitti

2.     Reconstruction of US 64 from Farmington to McGee Park.

3.     Reconstruction of I-25 Gibson, Cesar Chavez and Lead/Coal Interchanges.

4.     Adding two lanes to US 82 from Artesia to Lovington.

5.     Reconstruction of the Comanche, Montgomery, Jefferson, San Mateo and San Antonio I-25 Interchanges.

6.     Reconstruction and rehabilitation of NM 68 in Espanola.

7.     Construction of Central Corridor Bus Rapid Transit in Albuquerque.

8.     Addition of a third lane on I-25 between the Rio Bravo and Broadway Interchanges.

9.     Construction of a new four-lane roadway with bike and pedestrian amenities over the Animas River in Farmington.

10.  Construction of a new river crossing from I-25 to NM 47 in Valencia County.

A full list of needed projects, descriptions and their impact on economic development can be found in the appendix of the report. TRIP ranked each transportation project based on a rating system that considered the following: short-term economic benefits, including job creation; the level of improvement in the condition of the transportation facility, including safety improvements; the degree of improvement in access and mobility; and the long-term improvement provided in regional or state economic performance and competitiveness.

“New Mexico’s highways and bridges form a vital statewide transportation network, which is essential not only in supporting a healthy economy for our state, but also in providing safe, reliable access to homes, schools, healthcare, shopping and recreation,” said Mike Beck, executive director of the Associated Contractors of New Mexico.  “In order to protect the investment already made in our surface transportation system, we must not fall behind in our efforts to enhance and expand that system.”

Enhancing critical segments of New Mexico’s surface transportation system will boost the state’s economy in the short-term by creating jobs in construction and related fields. In the long term these improvements will enhance economic competitiveness by reducing travel delays and transportation costs, improving access and mobility, improving safety, and stimulating sustained job growth, improving the quality of life for the state’s residents and visitors.

Sustaining New Mexico’s long-term economic growth and maintaining the state’s high quality of life will require increased investment in expanding the capacity of the state’s surface transportation system, which will enhance business productivity and support short- and long-term job creation in the state.

“Increasing investment in New Mexico’s transportation network of roads, bridges and transit is vital to boosting the state’s economy and the quality of life of its residents,” said Will Wilkins, executive director of TRIP. “In the short term, transportation investment creates good jobs, but the long-term benefits of an efficient transportation system connecting New Mexico’s residents, communities and businesses can span generations. If state and federal lawmakers fail to provide adequate transportation funding, New Mexico and the nation will lose their competitive edge and the state’s transportation system will become increasingly deteriorated and gridlocked.”

Executive Summary

New Mexico’s transportation system has played a significant role in the state’s development, providing mobility and access for residents, visitors, businesses and industry.  The state’s roads, highways, rails and public transit systems remain the backbone of the Land of Enchantment’s economy.  New Mexico’s transportation system also provides for a high quality of life and makes the state a desirable place to live and visit.  The condition and quality of its transportation system will play a critical role in New Mexico’s ability to capitalize on its economic advantages and meet the demands of the 21st Century

To achieve sustainable economic growth, New Mexico must proceed with numerous projects to improve key roads, bridges, highways and transit systems.  Enhancing critical segments of New Mexico’s transportation system will boost the state’s economy in the short-term by creating jobs in construction and related fields. In the long-term these improvements will enhance economic competitiveness and improve the quality of life for the state’s residents and visitors by reducing travel delays and transportation costs, improving access and mobility, improving safety, and stimulating sustained job growth.

In this report, TRIP examines recent transportation and economic trends in New Mexico and provides information on the transportation projects in the state that are most needed to support economic growth.  Sources of data include the New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT), the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the U.S. Census Bureau.  All data used in the report is the latest available.

TRIP has identified the 50 transportation projects that are most needed to support New Mexico’s economic growth. These projects are located throughout the state.

  • The most needed transportation improvements in New Mexico include projects to build, expand or modernize roads, highways, bridges and public transit systems throughout the state.  These improvements would enhance economic development opportunities throughout the state by increasing mobility and freight movement, easing congestion, and making New Mexico an attractive place to live, visit and do business.
  • TRIP evaluated each transportation project based on the following criteria: short-term economic benefits, including job creation; the level of improvement in the condition of the transportation facility, including safety improvements; the degree of improvement in access and mobility; and the long-term improvement provided in regional or state economic performance and competitiveness.
  • New Mexico’s 10 most needed transportation projects to support economic development in the state as determined by TRIP follow. A list of the top 50 needed projects and descriptions can be found in the appendix.
  • 11.  US 491 expansion to four lanes from Twin Lakes to Naschitti. This $89 million project would widen the remaining 26.8 miles of two-lane roadway to four- lanes. US 491 is the only feasible north-south corridor in the region that will support heavy truck traffic. Completion of this project would allow for more efficient transport of coal, oil and other goods, while enhancing safety and boosting tourism.
  • 12.  Reconstruction of US 64 from Farmington to McGee Park. This $40 million project would reconstruct a four-mile portion of US 64 to provide additional capacity and access management. This project will provide additional capacity and increased safety resulting in improved transportation and economic opportunities in the region.
  • 13.  Reconstruction of the I-25 Gibson, Cesar Chavez and Lead/Coal Interchanges. This $200 million project would eliminate the S-curve on I-25 and reconstruct the I-25 Gibson, Cesar Chavez and Lead/Coal Interchanges. Completion of this project will improve mobility in the area and enhance access to and from the area to the Interstate system.
  • 14.  Adding two lanes to US 82 from Artesia to Lovington. This $95 million project would construct two additional lanes to make a four-lane facility from Artesia to Lovington. Completion of this project will accommodate the increased traffic due to the oil and gas industry in southeastern New Mexico.
  • 15.  Reconstruction of the Comanche, Montgomery, Jefferson, San Mateo and San Antonio I-25 Interchanges. This $125 million project would reconstruct the Comanche, Montgomery, Jefferson, San Mateo and San Antonio Interchanges on I-25 to alleviate congestion and improve mobility on I-25.
  • 16.  Reconstruction and rehabilitation of NM 68 in Espanola. This $70 million project would reconstruct 35 miles of NM 68 to four lanes, with auxiliary lanes along two-lane sections. This corridor serves commuter and recreational traffic in the region. Completion of the project would address operation and safety concerns.
  • 17.  Construction of a Bus Rapid Transit system in the Central Corridor in Albuquerque. This project would construct a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system along the Central Corridor in Albuquerque, from I-40 and Tramway Boulevard to I-40 and Atrisco Vista. This would include a combination of dedicated busway and mixed flow lanes within the current right-of-way. Central Avenue is a key connector of transit destinations and serves a large part of the transit-dependent population of the city. The institution of a BRT system would create more timely and dependable transit options and would assist in redevelopment of the vacant or underused land along the Corridor.
  • 18.  Addition of a third lane on I-25 between the Rio Bravo and Broadway Interchanges. This $50 million project would add a third lane to five miles of I-25 between the Rio Bravo and Broadway Interchanges to address congestion and improve mobility on I-25.
  • 19.  Construction of a new four-lane roadway with bike and pedestrian amenities over the Animas River in Farmington. This $22 million extension of Pinon Hills Boulevard would create a new river crossing and connect the retail district along East Main St to the developing area of unincorporated San Juan County east of the river.  This connection would reduce out-of-direction travel that motorists currently experience.  This road extension would help alleviate traffic volumes on the two nearest river crossings at Browning Pkwy and CR 350.
  • 20.  Construction of a new river crossing in Los Lunas from I-25 to NM 47. This $60 million project would construct a new river crossing from I-25 to NM 47 to improve mobility in Valencia County, provide for economic development and ease congestion in the area.

Transportation projects that improve the efficiency, condition or safety of a roadway provide significant economic benefits by reducing transportation delays and costs associated with a deficient transportation system.  Some benefits of transportation improvements include the following.

  • Improved business competitiveness due to reduced production and distribution costs as a result of increased travel speeds and fewer mobility barriers
  • Improvements in household welfare resulting from better access to higher-paying jobs, a wider selection of competitively priced consumer goods, additional housing and healthcare options, and improved mobility for residents without access to private vehicles
  • Gains in local, regional and state economies due to improved regional economic competitiveness, which stimulates population and job growth.
  • Increased leisure/tourism and business travel resulting from the enhanced condition and reliability of a region’s transportation system.
  • A reduction in economic losses from vehicle crashes, traffic congestion and vehicle maintenance costs associated with driving on deficient roads.
  • Transportation projects that expand roadway capacity produce significant economic benefits by reducing congestion and improving access, thus speeding the flow of people and goods while reducing fuel consumption.
  • Site Selection magazine’s 2010 survey of corporate real estate executives found that transportation infrastructure was the third most important selection factor in site location decisions, behind only work force skills and state and local taxes
  • A 2007 analysis by the Federal Highway Administration found that every $1 billion invested in highway construction would support approximately 27,800 jobs, including approximately 9,400 in the construction sector, approximately 4,300 jobs in industries supporting the construction sector, and approximately 14,000 other jobs induced in non-construction related sectors of the economy.
  • The Federal Highway Administration estimates that each dollar spent on road, highway and bridge improvements results in an average benefit of $5.20 in the form of reduced vehicle maintenance costs, reduced delays, reduced fuel consumption, improved safety, reduced road and bridge maintenance costs, and reduced emissions as a result of improved traffic flow.

While New Mexico’s diverse economy has been impacted by the recession, the state’s transportation system will need to accommodate projected future growth.

  • From 1990 to 2012, New Mexico’s population increased by 38 percent, from approximately 1.5 million to approximately 2.1 million.
  • From 1990 to 2011, annual vehicle-miles-of-travel (VMT) in the state increased by 58 percent, from approximately 16.1 billion VMT to 25.5 billion VMT. Based on travel and population trends, TRIP estimates that vehicle travel in New Mexico will increase another 30 percent by 2030.
  • New Mexico’s unemployment rate nearly doubled from 3.5 percent in July 2007 to 6.9 percent in July 2013. New Mexico’s current unemployment rate is lower than the national average of 7.4 percent in July 2013.
  • New Mexico has benefited from a diverse economy, which includes significant employment in the following sectors: oil and gas production, tourism, agriculture, and film and television production.

New Mexico’s economy is served by an extensive surface transportation system that has some deficiencies and experiences severe congestion in key areas.  Roads carry the majority of freight shipped in the state.

  • New Mexico’s system of 68,384 miles of roads and 3,924 bridges, maintained by local, state and federal governments, carry 25.5 billion vehicle miles of travel annually.
  • Twenty-four percent of New Mexico’s major roads are deficient, with nine percent rated in poor condition and an additional 15 percent rated mediocre in 2011.  An additional 11 percent of the state’s major roads were rated in fair condition and 65 percent were rated in good condition.
  • Eight percent of New Mexico’s bridges were rated structurally deficient in 2012.  A bridge is structurally deficient if there is significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components.  Structurally deficient bridges are often posted for lower weight or closed to traffic, restricting or redirecting large vehicles, including commercial trucks, school buses and emergency services vehicles.
  • Every year, approximately $31.4 billion in goods are shipped annually from sites in New Mexico and another $46.6 billion in goods are shipped annually to sites in New Mexico, mostly by truck.
  • In 2012, nine percent of New Mexico’s bridges were rated as functionally obsolete. Bridges that are functionally obsolete no longer meet current highway design standards, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment.
  • Sixty-five percent of the goods shipped annually from sites in New Mexico are carried by trucks and another 18 percent are carried by parcel, U.S. Postal Service, courier services or by multiple modes, which use trucks for part of the deliveries.

Sources of data for this report include the , the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the U.S. Census Bureau.  All data used in the report is the latest available.

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:Deficient Roadways Cost Each Pennsylvania Driver As Much As $1,800 Annually, A Total Of $9.4 Billion Statewide. Costs Will Rise And Transportation Woes Will Worsen Without Significant Funding Boost

TRIPRoads and bridges that are deficient, congested or lack desirable safety features cost Pennsylvania motorists a total of $9.4 billion statewide – as much as $1,800 annually per driver in some urban areas due to higher vehicle operating costs (VOC), traffic crashes and congestion-related delays.   Increased investment in transportation improvements at the local, state and federal levels could relieve traffic congestion, improve road and bridge conditions, boost safety, and support long-term economic growth in Pennsylvania, according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation organization.

The TRIP report, Future Mobility in Pennsylvania: The Cost of Meeting the State’s Need for Safe and Efficient Mobility,” finds that throughout Pennsylvania, 37 percent of major roads and highways provide motorists with a rough ride. A total of 42 percent of Pennsylvania bridges show significant deterioration or do not meet current design standards. The state’s major urban roads are becoming increasingly congested, with drivers wasting increasing amounts of time and fuel. And Pennsylvania’s rural non-interstate traffic fatality rate is significantly higher than the fatality rate on all other roads in the state.

Driving on deficient roads costs Pennsylvania drivers a total of $9.4 billion per year in the form of extra vehicle operating costs 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 calculated the cost to motorists of insufficient roads in Pennsylvania’s largest urban areas: Harrisburg-York-Lancaster, Lehigh Valley-Reading, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. A breakdown of the costs per motorist in each area along with a statewide total is below.

The TRIP report finds that 41 percent of major urban roads in the Harrisburg/York/Lancaster metro area are in poor or mediocre condition. In the Reading/Lehigh Valley urban area, 52 percent of major urban roads are in poor or mediocre condition. A total of 73 percent of major urban roads in the Philadelphia urban area are in either poor or mediocre condition.  Forty-eight percent of major urban roads in the Pittsburgh urban area are in poor or mediocre condition. In the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre urban area, 66 percent of major urban roads are in poor or mediocre condition.

“As the General Assembly looks at a transportation funding measure, there’s a lot of discussion about the cost,” said Jason Wagner, managing director of the Pennsylvania Highway Information Association (PHIA). “The TRIP report quantifies the cost of not addressing this problem, and that cost is almost three times greater than the $3.5 billion annual transportation funding gap. Of even greater concern is the safety threat that a deficient transportation system represents, especially in Pennsylvania’s rural areas.”

According to the TRIP report, 25 percent of Pennsylvania’s bridges are structurally deficient, meaning there is significant deterioration to the bridge deck, supports, or other major components. Pennsylvania has the highest share of structurally deficient bridges in the nation. These bridges are often posted for lower weight or are closed to traffic, restricting or redirecting large vehicles, including commercial trucks, school buses and emergency service vehicles. An additional 17 percent of the state’s bridges are functionally obsolete. These bridges no longer meet current highway design standards, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment with the approaching road. Bridges that are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete are safe for travel and are monitored regularly by the organizations responsible for maintaining them.

Significant levels of traffic congestion are causing increasing delays in Pennsylvania, particularly in the state’s larger urban areas, choking commuting and commerce. In some urban areas, drivers lose as many as 48 hours per year stuck in traffic congestion – the equivalent of two days.

Traffic crashes in Pennsylvania claimed the lives of 1,286 people in 2011. The traffic fatality rate in 2011 on Pennsylvania’s non-Interstate rural roads was 2.33 traffic fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel, nearly two-and-a-half times higher than the 0.95 traffic fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel on all other roads and highways in the state. A disproportionate share of highway fatalities occur on Pennsylvania’s rural, non-Interstate roads.  In 2011, 45 percent of traffic fatalities in Pennsylvania occurred on rural, non-Interstate routes, while only 25 percent of vehicle travel in the state occurred on these roads.

“Addressing Pennsylvania’s needs for a safe, efficient and well-maintained transportation system will require a significant investment boost at the federal and state level.  But not addressing the state’s need for an improved transportation system will result in even greater costs to the public,” said Will Wilkins, executive director of TRIP.

PENNSYLVANIA TRANSPORTATION BY THE NUMBERS:

Meeting the State’s Need for Safe and Efficient Mobility

Key Transportation Numbers in Pennsylvania

$9.4 billion

TRIP estimates that Pennsylvania roadways that lack some desirable safety features, have inadequate capacity to meet travel demands or have poor pavement conditions cost the state’s residents approximately $9.4 billion annually in the form of additional vehicle operating costs, the cost of lost time and wasted fuel due to traffic congestion and traffic crashes.

$1,646$1,355

$1,798

$1,418

$1,320

The costs to motorists of driving on roads that are congested, deteriorated and that lack some desirable safety features in Pennsylvania’s largest urban areas are:  Harrisburg/York/Lancaster – $1,646; Reading/Lehigh Valley – $1,355; Philadelphia – $1,798; Pittsburgh – $1,418; Scranton/Wilkes-Barre – $1,320.

37% 

Thirty-seven percent of Pennsylvania’s major locally and state- maintained roads and highways are either in poor or mediocre condition.

41%52%

73%

48%

66%

 

Forty-one percent of major urban roads in the Harrisburg/York/Lancaster metro area are in poor or mediocre condition. In the Reading/Lehigh Valley urban area, 52 percent of major urban roads are in poor or mediocre condition. A total of 73 percent of major urban roads in the Philadelphia urban area are in either poor or mediocre condition. Forty-eight percent of major urban roads in the Pittsburgh urban area are in poor or mediocre condition. In the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre urban area, 66 percent or major urban roads are in poor or mediocre condition.

1,3656,825

An average of 1,365 people were killed annually in Pennsylvania traffic crashes From 2007 to 2011, a total of 6,825 fatalities over the five year period.

2.5X

The fatality rate on Pennsylvania’s non-interstate rural roads is nearly two-and-a-half times higher than on all other roads in the state (2.33 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs. 0.95).

42 %

#1

A total of 42 percent of Pennsylvania bridges are in need of repair, improvement or replacement. Twenty-five percent of the state’s bridges are structurally deficient and 17 percent are functionally obsolete. Pennsylvania has the highest share of structurally deficient bridges in the nation.

16 %15 %

Vehicle miles of travel in Pennsylvania increased 16 percent from 1990 to 2011 and are expected to increase another 15 percent by 2030.

8,796,774

There are 8,796,774 licensed drivers in Pennsylvania.

$1.00 = $5.20

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

Executive Summary

Pennsylvania’s extensive system of roads, highways and bridges provides the state’s residents, visitors and businesses with a high level of mobility. This transportation system forms the backbone that supports the state’s economy. Pennsylvania’s surface transportation system enables the state’s residents and visitors to travel to work and school, visit family and friends, and frequent tourist and recreation attractions while providing its businesses with reliable access to customers, materials, suppliers and employees

As Pennsylvania looks to retain its businesses, maintain its level of economic competitiveness and achieve further economic growth, the state will need to maintain and modernize its roads, highways and bridges by improving the physical condition of its transportation network and enhancing the system’s ability to provide efficient and reliable mobility for motorists and businesses.  Making needed improvements to Pennsylvania’s roads, highways and bridges could also provide a significant boost to the state’s economy by creating jobs in the short term and stimulating long term economic growth as a result of enhanced mobility and access.

With a current unemployment rate of 7.9 percent and with the state’s population continuing to grow, Pennsylvania must improve its system of roads, highways and bridges to foster economic growth and keep businesses in the state. In addition to economic growth, transportation improvements are needed to ensure safe, reliable mobility and quality of life for all Pennsylvanians.  Meeting Pennsylvania’s need to modernize and maintain its system of roads, highways and bridges will require a significant boost in local, state and federal funding.

An inadequate transportation system costs Pennsylvania residents a total of $9.4 billion every year in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC), congestion-related delays and traffic crashes.

  • TRIP estimates that Pennsylvania roadways that lack some desirable safety features, have inadequate capacity to meet travel demands or have poor pavement conditions cost the state’s residents approximately $9.4 billion annually in the form of additional vehicle operating costs, the cost of lost time and wasted fuel due to traffic congestion and traffic crashes.
  • TRIP has calculated the annual cost to Pennsylvania residents of driving on roads that are deteriorated, congested and lack some desirable safety features both statewide and in the state’s major urban area.  The following chart shows the cost breakdown for these areas.

Population and economic growth in Pennsylvania have resulted in increased demands on the state’s major roads and highways, leading to increased wear and tear on the transportation system. 

  • Pennsylvania’s population reached 12.8 million in 2012, a seven percent increase since 1990. Pennsylvania had 8,796,774 licensed drivers in 2011.
  • Vehicle miles traveled in Pennsylvania increased by 16 percent from 1990 to 2011 – jumping from 85.7 billion vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in 1990 to 99.2 billion VMT in 2011.
  • By 2030, vehicle travel in Pennsylvania is projected to increase by another 15 percent.
  • From 1990 to 2011, Pennsylvania’s gross domestic product, a measure of the state’s economic output, increased by 35 percent, when adjusted for inflation.

Thirty-seven percent of major locally and state-maintained roads and highways in Pennsylvania have pavement surfaces in poor or mediocre condition, providing a rough ride and costing motorist in the form of additional vehicle operating costs. 

  • Fifteen percent of Pennsylvania’s major roads and highways have pavements in poor condition, while an additional 22 percent of the state’s major roads are rated in mediocre condition.  Twenty-one percent are rated in fair condition and the remaining 43 percent are rated in good condition.
  • The pavement data in this report for all arterial roads and highways is provided by the Federal Highway Administration, based on data submitted annually by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) on the condition of major state and locally maintained roads and highways in the state.
  • Forty-one percent of major urban roads in the Harrisburg/York/Lancaster metro area are in poor or mediocre condition. In the Reading/Lehigh Valley urban area, 52 percent of major urban roads are in poor or mediocre condition. A total of 73 percent of major urban roads in the Philadelphia urban area are in either poor or mediocre condition.  Forty-eight percent of major urban roads in the Pittsburgh urban area are in poor or mediocre condition. In the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre urban area, 66 percent of major urban roads are in poor or mediocre condition.
  • Roads rated in poor condition may show signs of deterioration, including rutting, cracks and potholes.  In some cases, poor roads can be resurfaced, but often are too deteriorated and must be reconstructed. Roads rated in mediocre condition may show signs of significant wear and may also have some visible pavement distress. Most pavements in mediocre condition can be repaired by resurfacing, but some may need more extensive reconstruction to return them to good condition.
  • Driving on rough roads costs Pennsylvania motorists a total of $3 billion annually in extra vehicle operating costs. Costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.
  • The costs to motorists of driving on roads that are congested, deteriorated and that lack some desirable safety features in Pennsylvania’s largest urban areas are: Harrisburg/York/Lancaster – $358; Reading/Lehigh Valley – $420; Philadelphia – $572; Pittsburgh – $432; Scranton/Wilkes-Barre – $539.

Forty-two percent of locally and state-maintained bridges in Pennsylvania show significant deterioration or do not meet current design standards often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment. This includes all bridges that are 20 feet or more in length. 

  • Twenty-five percent of Pennsylvania’s bridges are structurally deficient – the highest share in the nation. A bridge is structurally deficient if there is significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components. Structurally deficient bridges are often posted for lower weight or closed to traffic, restricting or redirecting large vehicles, including commercial trucks and emergency services vehicles. 
  • Seventeen percent of Pennsylvania’s bridges are functionally obsolete.  Bridges that are functionally obsolete no longer meet current highway design standards, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment.
  • Significant levels of traffic congestion cause increasing delays in Pennsylvania, particularly in the state’s larger urban areas, choking commuting and commerce.
  • The chart below includes congestion-related data for the average commuter in Pennsylvania’s major urban areas, including the cost of lost time and wasted fuel as a result of traffic congestion.

Pennsylvania’s traffic fatality rate on rural, non-Interstate routes is nearly two-and-a-half times higher than that on all other roads and highways in the state.  Improving safety features on Pennsylvania’s roads and highways would likely result in a decrease in the state’s traffic fatalities and serious crashes. Roadway features are likely a contributing factor in approximately one-third of all fatal and serious traffic crashes.  

  • Between 2007 and 2011 a total of 6,825 people were killed in traffic crashes in Pennsylvania, an average of 1,365 fatalities per year.
  • Pennsylvania’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.30 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2011 is higher than the national average of 1.10.
  • The fatality rate on Pennsylvania’s rural non-Interstate roads was 2.33 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2011, nearly two-and-a-half times higher than the 0.95 fatality rate in 2011 on all other roads and highways in the state.
  • The cost of serious traffic crashes in Pennsylvania in 2011, in which roadway features were likely a contributing factor, was approximately $2.7 billion. The cost of serious crashes includes lost productivity, lost earnings, medical costs and emergency services.
  • The cost to motorists of traffic crashes in each of the state’s major urban areas are:  Harrisburg/York/Lancaster – $330; Reading/Lehigh Valley – $279; Philadelphia – $208; Pittsburgh – $160; Scranton/Wilkes-Barre – $344.
  • Roadway features that impact safety include the number of lanes, lane widths, lighting, lane markings, rumble strips, shoulders, guard rails, other shielding devices, median barriers and intersection design.  The cost of serious crashes includes lost productivity, lost earnings, medical costs and emergency services.
  • Several factors are associated with vehicle crashes that result in fatalities, including driver behavior, vehicle characteristics and roadway features.  TRIP estimates that roadway features are likely a contributing factor in approximately one-third of fatal traffic crashes.
  • Where appropriate, highway improvements can reduce traffic fatalities and crashes while improving traffic flow to help relieve congestion.  Such improvements include removing or shielding obstacles; adding or improving medians; improved lighting; adding rumble strips, wider lanes, wider and paved shoulders; upgrading roads from two lanes to four lanes; and better road markings and traffic signals.
  • Investments in rural traffic safety have been found to result in significant reductions in serious traffic crashes.  A 2012 report by the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) found that improvements completed recently by the Texas Department of Transportation that widened lanes, improved shoulders and made other safety improvements on 1,159 miles of rural state roadways resulted in 133 fewer fatalities on these roads in the first three years after the improvements were completed (as compared to the three years prior).   TTI estimates that the improvements on these roads are likely to save 880 lives over the next 20 years.

The efficiency of Pennsylvania’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy.  Businesses are increasingly reliant on an efficient and reliable transportation system to move products and services. A key component in business efficiency and success is the level and ease of access to customers, markets, materials and workers.

  • Annually, $489 billion in goods are shipped from sites in Pennsylvania and another $458 billion in goods are shipped to sites in Pennsylvania, mostly by truck.
  • Seventy-seven percent of the goods shipped annually from sites in Pennsylvania are carried by trucks and another 14 percent are carried by courier services or multiple mode deliveries, which include trucking.
  • Increasingly, companies are looking at the quality of a region’s transportation system when deciding where to re-locate or expand. Regions with congested or poorly maintained roads may see businesses relocate to areas with a smoother, more efficient and more modern transportation system.
  • Businesses have responded to improved communications and greater competition by moving from a push-style distribution system, which relies on low-cost movement of bulk commodities and large-scale warehousing, to a pull-style distribution system, which relies on smaller, more strategic and time-sensitive movement of goods.
  • Site Selection magazine’s 2010 survey of corporate real estate executives found that transportation infrastructure was the third most important selection factor in site location decisions, behind only work force skills and state and local taxes.
  • A 2007 analysis by the Federal Highway Administration found that every $1 billion invested in highway construction would support approximately 27,800 jobs, including approximately 9,500 in the construction sector, approximately 4,300 jobs in industries supporting the construction sector, and approximately 14,000 other jobs induced in non-construction related sectors of the economy.
  • The Federal Highway Administration estimates that each dollar spent on road, highway and bridge improvements results in an average benefit of $5.20 in the form of reduced vehicle maintenance costs, reduced delays, reduced fuel consumption, improved safety, reduced road and bridge maintenance costs and reduced emissions as a result of improved traffic flow.

Sources of information for this report include the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the U.S. Census Bureau, the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).  

TRIP Reports: Des Moines Drivers Waste Nearly $1,400 Each Year Driving On Deficient Roads – A Total Of $1.9 Billion Statewide

TRIPForty-Two Percent Of Iowa Roads Need Improvement, One Quarter Of Bridges Require Repair Or Replacement, And Rural Fatalities Are Disproportionately High

More than two-fifths of Iowa’s major locally and state-maintained roads are in either poor or mediocre condition, the state has the third highest percentage of deficient bridges, and Iowa drivers experience growing congestion and delays. In addition to deteriorated roads and bridges, Iowa’s rural roads have a significantly higher traffic fatality rate than all other roads in the state. Increased investment in transportation improvements could improve road and bridge conditions, ease congestion, boost safety, and support long-term economic growth in Iowa, according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation organization. The TRIP report, Iowa Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe and Efficient Mobility,” provides data on key transportation facts and figures in the state.

 

$1.9 billion

 

$1,368

Iowa roadways that lack some desirable safety features, have inadequate capacity to meet travel demands or have poor pavement conditions cost the state’s residents approximately $1.9 billion annually in the form of additional vehicle operating costs, the cost of lost time and wasted fuel due to traffic congestion and traffic crashes. Driving on deficient roads costs the average Des Moines area motorist $1,368 annually.

$215 million

According to the Iowa Department of Transportation, the state faces an annual transportation funding shortfall of $215 million in order to meet the state’s most critical public roadway needs.

42%

 

60%

Forty-two percent of Iowa’s major locally and state- maintained roads and highways are either in poor or mediocre condition.  Sixty percent of Des Moines-area major locally and state- maintained urban roads are in poor or mediocre condition.
395

1,977

From 2007 to 2011, an average of 395 people were killed annually in Iowa traffic crashes, a total of 1,977 fatalities over the five year period.

 

2.5

The fatality rate on Iowa’s non-interstate rural roads is nearly two-and-a-half times higher than on all other roads (1.81 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs. 0.77).

 

27 %

More than a quarter of Iowa bridges are in need of repair, improvement or replacement. Twenty-two percent of the state’s bridges are structurally deficient and five percent are functionally obsolete.

Third

Iowa has the third highest share of structurally deficient bridges in the nation, behind only Pennsylvania and Oklahoma.

36 %

Vehicle miles of travel in Iowa increased 36 percent from 1990 to 2011.

 

 

$1 billion =27,800

A 2007 analysis by the Federal Highway Administration found that every $1 billion invested in highway construction would support approximately 27,800 jobs, including approximately 9,500 in the construction sector, approximately 4,300 jobs in industries supporting the construction sector, and approximately 14,000 other jobs induced in non-construction related sectors of the economy.

 

$1.00 = $5.20

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

“The TRIP report validates the findings of both TIME 21 and Governor Branstad’s Transportation 2020 Commission that more funding for Iowa’s highway infrastructure system is crucial.  The report’s findings underscore the fact that the cost of bad roads has a significantly more adverse economic impact on the driving public than any increase in user fees,” noted David Scott, Executive Director, Iowa Good Roads Association.  Iowa Good Roads Association is part of a larger group of business, agricultural, and development organizations.

Iowa roadways that lack some desirable safety features, have inadequate capacity to meet travel demands or have poor pavement conditions cost the state’s residents approximately $1.9 billion each year in the form of additional vehicle operating costs, the cost of lost time and wasted fuel due to traffic congestion, and traffic crashes. Driving on roads that are congested, deteriorated and that lack some desirable safety features costs the average Des Moines area driver $1,368 annually.

According to the TRIP report, 42 percent of Iowa’s major locally and state-maintained roads are in either poor or mediocre condition. In the Des Moines metro area, 60 percent of roads are in poor or mediocre condition. A total of 27 percent of Iowa’s bridges show significant deterioration or do not meet modern design standards. Twenty-two percent of the state’s bridges are structurally deficient, the third highest total in the nation. Structurally deficient bridges have significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components. An additional five percent of Iowa’s bridges are functionally obsolete. These bridges no longer meet current highway design standards, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment.

Growing traffic congestion, particularly in the state’s urban areas, threatens to choke commuting and commerce. The average commuter in the Des Moines metro area loses 27 hours each year stuck in congestion.

Traffic crashes in Iowa claimed the lives of 1,980 people between 2007 and 2011. The state’s traffic fatality rate of 1.23 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel (VMT) is higher than the national average of 1.11 fatalities per 100 million VMT. However, the traffic fatality rate in 2010 on Iowa’s non-Interstate rural roads was 1.81 traffic fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel, nearly two-and-a-half times higher than the 0.77 traffic fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel on all other roads and highways in the state. Roadway features are likely a contributing factor in approximately one-third of all fatal and serious traffic crashes. Where appropriate, highway improvements can reduce traffic fatalities and crashes while improving traffic flow to help relieve congestion.

“These key transportation numbers in Iowa add up to trouble for the state’s residents in terms of deteriorated roads and bridges, reduced traffic safety and constrained economic development,” said Will Wilkins, executive director of TRIP.  “Improving road and bridge conditions, improving traffic safety and providing a transportation system that will support economic development in Iowa will require a significant boost in state and federal funding for road, highway and bridge improvements.”

Executive Summary:

Iowa Transportation By The Numbers:

Meeting the State’s Need for Safe and Efficient Mobility

Iowa’s extensive system of roads, highways and bridges provides the state’s residents, visitors and businesses with a high level of mobility. This transportation system forms the backbone that supports the state’s economy. Iowa’s surface transportation system enables the state’s residents and visitors to travel to work and school, visit family and friends, and frequent tourist and recreation attractions while providing its businesses with reliable access to customers, materials, suppliers and employees.

As Iowa looks to retain its businesses, maintain its level of economic competitiveness and achieve further economic growth, the state will need to maintain and modernize its roads, highways and bridges by improving the physical condition of its transportation network and enhancing the system’s ability to provide efficient and reliable mobility for motorists and businesses.  Making needed improvements to Iowa’s roads, highways and bridges could also provide a significant boost to the state’s economy by creating jobs in the short term and stimulating long-term economic growth as a result of enhanced mobility and access.

With an unemployment rate of five percent and with the state’s population continuing to grow, Iowa must improve its system of roads, highways and bridges to foster economic growth and keep businesses in the state. In addition to economic growth, transportation improvements are needed to ensure safe, reliable mobility and quality of life for all Iowans.  Meeting Iowa’s need to modernize and maintain its system of roads, highways and bridges will require a significant boost in local, state and federal funding.

An inadequate transportation system costs Iowa residents a total of $1.9 billion every year in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC), congestion-related delays and traffic crashes. Drivers in the Des Moines area lose an average of $1,368 each year due to driving on deteriorated roads.

  • TRIP estimates that Iowa roadways that lack some desirable safety features, have inadequate capacity to meet travel demands or have poor pavement conditions cost the state’s residents approximately $1.9 billion annually in the form of additional vehicle operating costs, the cost of lost time and wasted fuel due to traffic congestion and traffic crashes. Driving on roads that are deteriorated, congested and that lack all desirable safety features costs the average Des Moines area motorist $1,368 annually.
  • TRIP has calculated the annual cost to Iowa residents of driving on roads that are deteriorated, congested and lack some desirable safety features both statewide and in Des Moines.  The following chart shows the cost breakdown both statewide and in Des MoiIowa faces an annual transportation funding shortfall of $215 million in order to make critically needed roadway improvements. The state’s transportation system will become increasingly deteriorated and overburdened unless additional transportation funding can be secured.
  • According to the Iowa Department of Transportation, the state faces an annual transportation funding shortfall of $215 million in order to meet the state’s most critical public roadway needs.
  • Unless the state can close the transportation funding shortfall, Iowa will experience an increasing number of bridge closures and bridges with weight restrictions, deteriorating conditions throughout the system that will impact the movement of goods and people, increased costs to transportation providers and users, and potential economic losses to the state.

Population and economic growth in Iowa have resulted in increased demands on the state’s major roads and highways, leading to increased wear and tear on the transportation system. 

  • Iowa’s population reached 3.1 million in 2012, a 10 percent increase since 1990, when the state’s population was approximately 2.8 million. Iowa had 2,191,715licensed drivers in 2011.
  • Vehicle miles traveled in Iowa increased by 35 percent from 1990 to 2011 – jumping from 23.2 billion vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in 1990 to 31.4 billion VMT in 2011.
  • By 2030, vehicle travel in Iowa is projected to increase by another 20 percent.
  • From 1990 to 2011, Iowa’s gross domestic product, a measure of the state’s economic output, increased by 55 percent, when adjusted for inflation.

Forty-two percent of major locally and state-maintained roads and highways in Iowa have pavement surfaces in poor or mediocre condition, providing a rough ride and costing motorist in the form of additional vehicle operating costs. 

  • Nineteen percent of Iowa’s major roads and highways have pavements in poor condition, while an additional 23 percent of the state’s major roads are rated in mediocre condition.  Nineteen percent are rated in fair condition and the remaining 39 percent are rated in good condition.
  • The 2011 pavement data in this report for all arterial roads and highways is provided by the Federal Highway Administration, based on data submitted annually by the Iowa Department of Transportation (IowaDOT) on the condition of major state and locally maintained roads and highways in the state.
  • In the Des Moines urban area, 38 percent of major locally and state-maintained roads are rated in poor condition and 22 percent are rated in mediocre condition.
  • Roads rated in poor condition may show signs of deterioration, including rutting, cracks and potholes.  In some cases, poor roads can be resurfaced, but often are too deteriorated and must be reconstructed. Roads rated in mediocre condition may show signs of significant wear and may also have some visible pavement distress. Most pavements in mediocre condition can be repaired by resurfacing, but some may need more extensive reconstruction to return them to good condition.
  • Driving on rough roads costs Iowa motorist a total of $910 million annually in extra vehicle operating costs. Costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.
  • Driving on rough roads costs the average Des Moines motorist $591 annually in extra vehicle operating costs.

More than a quarter of locally and state-maintained bridges in Iowa show significant deterioration or do not meet current design standards often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment. This includes all bridges that are 20 feet or more in length. 

  • Twenty-two percent of Iowa’s bridges are structurally deficient, the third highest rate nationally, behind only Pennsylvania with 25 percent and Oklahoma also with 22 percent.
  • A bridge is structurally deficient if there is significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components. Structurally deficient bridges are often posted for lower weight or closed to traffic, restricting or redirecting large vehicles, including commercial trucks and emergency services vehicles. 
  • Five percent of Iowa’s bridges are functionally obsolete.  Bridges that are functionally obsolete no longer meet current highway design standards, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment.

The growing level of traffic congestion is causing mounting delays on Iowa’s roadways, particularly in the state’s larger urban areas.

  • According to the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI), the average driver in the Des Moines urban area loses $585 each year in the cost of lost time and wasted fuel as a result of traffic congestion. The average commuter in the Des Moines urban area loses 27 hours each year stuck in congestion. 
  • The statewide cost of congestion related delays and wasted fuel is $360 million each year.

Iowa’s traffic fatality rate on rural, non-Interstate routes is nearly two-and-a-half times higher than that on all other roads and highways in the state.  Improving safety features on Iowa’s roads and highways would likely result in a decrease in the state’s traffic fatalities and serious crashes. Roadway features are likely a contributing factor in approximately one-third of all fatal and serious traffic crashes.

  • Between 2007 and 2011, a total of 1,977 people were killed in traffic crashes in Iowa, an average of 395 fatalities per year.
  • Iowa’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.23 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2010 is higher than the national average of 1.11.
  • The fatality rate on Iowa’s rural non-Interstate roads was 1.81 fatalities per 100 vehicle miles of travel in 2010, nearly two-and-a-half times than the 0.77 fatality rate in 2010 on all other roads and highways in the state.
  • The cost of serious traffic crashes in Iowa in 2011, in which roadway features were likely a contributing factor, was approximately $625 million. In the Des Moines urban area, the cost of serious traffic crashes in which roadway features were likely a contributing factor is approximately $192 per motorist. The cost of serious crashes includes lost productivity, lost earnings, medical costs and emergency services.
  • Roadway features that impact safety include the number of lanes, lane widths, lighting, lane markings, rumble strips, shoulders, guard rails, other shielding devices, median barriers and intersection design.  The cost of serious crashes includes lost productivity, lost earnings, medical costs and emergency services.
  • Several factors are associated with vehicle crashes that result in fatalities, including driver behavior, vehicle characteristics and roadway features.  TRIP estimates that roadway features are likely a contributing factor in approximately one-third of fatal traffic crashes.
  • Where appropriate, highway improvements can reduce traffic fatalities and crashes while improving traffic flow to help relieve congestion.  Such improvements include removing or shielding obstacles; adding or improving medians; improved lighting; adding rumble strips, wider lanes, wider and paved shoulders; upgrading roads from two lanes to four lanes; and better road markings and traffic signals.
  • Investments in rural traffic safety have been found to result in significant reductions in serious traffic crashes.  A 2012 report by the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) found that improvements completed recently by the Texas Department of Transportation that widened lanes, improved shoulders and made other safety improvements on 1,159 miles of rural state roadways resulted in 133 fewer fatalities on these roads in the first three years after the improvements were completed (as compared to the three years prior).   TTI estimates that the improvements on these roads are likely to save 880 lives over the next 20 years.

The efficiency of Iowa’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy.  Businesses are increasingly reliant on an efficient and reliable transportation system to move products and services. A key component in business efficiency and success is the level and ease of access to customers, markets, materials and workers.

  • Annually, $157 billion in goods are shipped from sites in Iowa and another $142 billion in goods are shipped to sites in Iowa, mostly by truck.
  • Eighty-one percent of the goods shipped annually from sites in Iowa are carried by trucks and another seven percent are carried by courier services or multiple mode deliveries, which include trucking.
  • Increasingly, companies are looking at the quality of a region’s transportation system when deciding where to re-locate or expand. Regions with congested or poorly maintained roads may see businesses relocate to areas with a smoother, more efficient and more modern transportation system.
  • Businesses have responded to improved communications and greater competition by moving from a push-style distribution system, which relies on low-cost movement of bulk commodities and large-scale warehousing, to a pull-style distribution system, which relies on smaller, more strategic and time-sensitive movement of goods.
  • Site Selection magazine’s 2010 survey of corporate real estate executives found that transportation infrastructure was the third most important selection factor in site location decisions, behind only work force skills and state and local taxes.
  • A 2007 analysis by the Federal Highway Administration found that every $1 billion invested in highway construction would support approximately 27,800 jobs, including approximately 9,500 in the construction sector, approximately 4,300 jobs in industries supporting the construction sector, and approximately 14,000 other jobs induced in non-construction related sectors of the economy.
  • The Federal Highway Administration estimates that each dollar spent on road, highway and bridge improvements results in an average benefit of $5.20 in the form of reduced vehicle maintenance costs, reduced delays, reduced fuel consumption, improved safety, reduced road and bridge maintenance costs and reduced emissions as a result of improved traffic flow.

Sources of information for this report include the Iowa Department of Transportation (IowaDOT), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the U.S. Census Bureau, the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).