TRIP Reports: Las Vegas Area Drivers Waste Nearly $1,500 Each Year Driving On Deficient Roads – A Total Of $2.1 Billion Statewide. Fifty-Six Percent Of Las Vegas Area Roads Need Improvement, Area Drivers Lose 44 Hours Annually In Congestion

TRIPAt a time when the state faces a large and growing transportation funding shortfall, more than half of Nevada’s major locally and state-maintained roads are in either poor or mediocre condition, vehicle travel has grown at the fastest rate in the nation, and Nevada drivers experience growing congestion and delays. In addition to deteriorated roads and bridges, Nevada’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 Nevada, according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation organization. The TRIP report, Nevada 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.

 

$2.1 billion

TRIP estimates that Nevada 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 $2.1 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.

 

$2 billion

 

$3.4 billion

Estimates by the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) calculate that the current backlog to repair all state maintained roads and bridges in Nevada is approximately $2 billion.  Under current funding, the backlog is expected to increase to $3.4 billion by 2025.
 

$1,464

 

$1,698

Driving on roads that are congested, deteriorated and that lack some desirable safety features costs the average Las Vegas area driver $1,464 annually. The average driver in the Reno-Carson City urban area loses $1,698 each year due to driving on deficient, congested roads.

51%

56%

86%

Fifty-one percent of Nevada’s major locally and state-maintained urban roads and highways are either in poor or mediocre condition.  Fifty-six percent of Las Vegas-area major locally and state- maintained urban roads are in poor or mediocre condition. In the Reno-Carson City area, 86 percent of roads are in poor or mediocre condition.

289

1,443

From 2007 to 2011, on average 289 people were killed annually in Nevada traffic crashes, a total of 1,443 fatalities over the five year period.

 

2X

The fatality rate on Nevada’s non-interstate rural roads is nearly two times higher than on all other roads in the state (1.91 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs. 0.98).

 

12

A total of 12 percent of Nevada bridges are in need of repair, improvement or replacement. Two percent of the state’s bridges are structurally deficient and ten percent are functionally obsolete.

137 %

1st

Vehicle miles of travel in Nevada increased 137 percent from 1990 to 2011, the largest increase in vehicle travel in the nation.

1,700,829

There are 1,700,829 licensed drivers in Nevada.

 

$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 gap between the available funding and Nevada’s highway needs continues to grow every time our highway infrastructure is assessed. We must invest in our infrastructure again to enable our economy to grow, diversify and stay competitive,” said Darrell Armuth, stakeholder of the Nevada Highway Users Coalition.

Nevada 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 $2.1 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 Las Vegas area driver $1,464 annually.

According to the TRIP report, 51 percent of Nevada’s major locally and state-maintained roads are in either poor or mediocre condition. In the Las Vegas metro area, 56 percent of roads are in poor or mediocre condition. A total of 12 percent of Nevada’s bridges show significant deterioration or do not meet modern design standards. Two percent of the state’s bridges are structurally deficient. Structurally deficient bridges have significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components. An additional 10 percent of Nevada’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 Las Vegas metro area loses 44 hours each year stuck in congestion.

Traffic crashes in Nevada claimed the lives of 1,443 people between 2007 and 2011. The state’s traffic fatality rate of 1.16 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 Nevada’s non-Interstate rural roads was 1.91 traffic fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel, nearly two times higher than the 0.98 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 Nevada 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 Nevada will require a significant boost in state and federal funding for road, highway and bridge improvements.”

NEVADA TRANSPORTATION BY THE NUMBERS:

Meeting the State’s Need for Safe and Efficient Mobility

Executive Summary

Nevada’s extensive system of roads, highways and bridges provides the state’s residents, visitors and businesses with a high level of mobility and forms the backbone that supports the state’s economy. Nevada’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 Nevada 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 Nevada’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 9.7 percent and with the state’s population continuing to grow, Nevada 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 Nevadans.  Meeting Nevada’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 Nevada residents a total of $2.1 billion every year in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC), congestion-related delays and traffic crashes.

  • TRIP estimates that Nevada 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 $2.1 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 Nevada residents of driving on roads that are deteriorated, congested and lack some desirable safety features both statewide and in the state’s largest urban area.  The following chart shows the cost breakdown for these areas.

Nevada faces a growing transportation funding shortfall. Estimates by the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) calculate that the current backlog to repair all state maintained roads, highways and bridges in Nevada is approximately $2 billion.

  • A bi-annual state report released in early 2013 by the Nevada Department of Transportation found that there is a significant backlog in needed repairs on Nevada’s state-maintained roads, highways and bridges. These state-maintained roads, highways and bridges are a critical component of the state’s transportation system, accounting for 20 percent of the state’s road mileage, but carrying 54 percent of all vehicle miles of travel and 80 percent of all large truck travel in the state.
  • The report found that currently 23 percent of state-maintained roads and highways in Nevada need major rehabilitation and that the current backlog to repair all state maintained roads and bridges is approximately $2 billion, with $1.9 billion being for pavement preservation and the remainder for needed bridge repairs.
  • The report noted that the backlog for needed road, highway and bridge repairs has increased significantly since 2011 when it was $1.36 billion and that under current levels of funding the preservation backlog to repair state-maintained roads, highways and bridges in the state is expected to increase to $3.4 billion by 2025. The report estimated that eliminating the backlog of needed repairs on Nevada’s state-maintained roads, highways and bridges would require an additional investment of $285 million annually through 2025.

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

  • Nevada had the largest increase in population in the nation between 1990 and 2012. Nevada’s population reached 2.7 million in 2012, a 125 percent increase since 1990, when the state’s population was approximately 1.2 million.
  • Nevada had 1,700,829licensed drivers in 2011.
  • Vehicle miles traveled in Nevada increased by 137 percent from 1990 to 2011, the largest increase in the nation during that time. Vehicle travel in Nevada jumped from 10.2 billion vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in 1990 to 24.2 billion VMT in 2011.
  • By 2030, vehicle travel in Nevada is projected to increase by another 50 percent.
  • From 1990 to 2011, Nevada’s gross domestic product, a measure of the state’s economic output, increased by 138 percent, when adjusted for inflation 

Approximately half of major locally and state-maintained, urban roads and highways in Nevada have pavement surfaces in poor or mediocre condition, providing a rough ride and costing motorist in the form of additional vehicle operating costs. 

  • Sixteen percent of Nevada’s major urban roads and highways have pavements in poor condition, while an additional 35 percent of the state’s major roads are rated in mediocre 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 Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) on the condition of major state and locally maintained roads and highways in the state
  • In the Las Vegas urban area, 11 percent of major locally and state-maintained roads are rated in poor condition and 45 percent are rated in mediocre condition.  Fifteen percent of Las Vegas’ major urban roads are rated in fair condition and 29 percent are rated in good condition.
  • In the Reno-Carson City urban area, 55 percent of major locally and state-maintained roads are rated in poor condition and 31 percent are rated in mediocre condition.  Two percent of the Reno-Carson City major urban roads are rated in fair condition and 12 percent are rated in good 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 Nevada motorist a total of $538 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 Las Vegas motorist $365 annually in extra vehicle operating costs.
  • The average driver in the Reno-Carson City urban area loses $771 each year in extra vehicle operating costs.

Twelve percent of locally and state-maintained bridges in Nevada 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. 

  • Two percent of Nevada’s bridges are structurally deficient. A bridge is structurally deficient if there is significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components. Structurally deficient bridges are often posted for lower weight or closed to traffic, restricting or redirecting large vehicles, including commercial trucks and emergency services vehicles. 
  • Ten percent of Nevada’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 significant delays in Nevada, particularly in its larger urban areas, choking commuting and commerce.
  • According to the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI), the average driver in the Las Vegas urban area loses $906 each year in the cost of lost time and wasted fuel as a result of traffic congestion. The average commuter in the Las Vegas urban area loses 44 hours each year stuck in congestion.
  • TTI calculates that the average driver in the Reno-Carson City urban area loses $590 each year in the cost of lost time and wasted fuel as a result of traffic congestion. The average commuter in the Reno-Carson City urban area loses 27 hours each year stuck in congestion.
  • Throughout the state, lost time and wasted fuel due to congestion cost Nevada’s drivers a total of $1.1 billion each year.

Nevada’s traffic fatality rate on rural, non-Interstate routes is more than two-and-a-half times higher than that on all other roads and highways in the state.  Improving safety features on Nevada’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 1,443 people were killed in traffic crashes in Nevada, an average of 289 fatalities per year.
  • Nevada’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.16 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2010 is higher than the national average of 1.11.
  • The fatality rate on Nevada’s rural non-Interstate roads was 1.91 fatalities per 100 vehicle miles of travel in 2010, nearly two times higher than the 0.98 fatality rate on all other roads and highways in the state.
  • The cost of serious traffic crashes in Nevada in 2011, in which roadway features were likely a contributing factor, was approximately $508 million. In the Las Vegas urban area, traffic crashes cost the average driver $193 annually, while the average Reno-Carson City motorist loses $337 each year.
  • 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 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 Nevada’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, $53 billion in goods are shipped from sites in Nevada and another $77 billion in goods are shipped to sites in Nevada, mostly by truck.
  • Seventy-eight percent of the goods shipped annually from sites in Nevada are carried by trucks and another 18 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.
  • 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 Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT), 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).  

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