COLORADO MOTORISTS LOSE $7.1 BILLION PER YEAR ON ROADS THAT ARE ROUGH, CONGESTED & LACK SOME SAFETY FEATURES – AS MUCH AS $2,306 PER DRIVER. LACK OF FUNDING WILL LEAD TO FURTHER DETERIORATION, INCREASED CONGESTION AND HIGHER COSTS TO MOTORISTS
Roads and bridges that are deteriorated, congested or lack some desirable safety features cost Colorado motorists a total of $7.1 billion statewide annually – as much as $2,306 per driver in some areas – due to higher vehicle operating costs, traffic crashes and congestion-related delays. Increased investment in transportation improvements at the local, state and federal levels could relieve traffic congestion, improve road, bridge and transit conditions, boost safety, and support long-term economic growth in Colorado, according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation research organization.
The TRIP report, “Colorado Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe, Smooth and Efficient Mobility,” finds that throughout Colorado, two-fifths of major locally and state-maintained roads are in poor or mediocre condition and six percent of locally and state-maintained bridges are structurally deficient. The report also finds that Colorado’s major urban roads are becoming increasingly congested, causing significant delays and choking commuting and commerce.
Driving on roads in Colorado costs motorists $7.1 billion per year in the form of extra vehicle operating costs (VOC) as a result of driving on roads in need of repair, lost time and fuel due to congestion-related delays, and the costs of traffic crashes in which roadway features likely were a contributing factor. The TRIP report calculates the cost to motorists of insufficient roads in the Colorado Springs, Denver, Northern Colorado, Grand Junction and Pueblo areas. A breakdown of the costs per motorist in each area, along with a statewide total, is below.
The TRIP report finds that 20 percent of major locally and state-maintained roads in Colorado are in poor condition and 20 percent are in mediocre condition. Sixteen percent of Colorado’s major roads are in fair condition and the remaining 44 percent are rated in good condition. Driving on rough roads costs the state’s drivers a total of $1.9 billion each year in extra vehicle operating costs, including accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.
“This report shows us in dollars and cents just how much our failure to invest is costing us all,” said Kelly Brough, president, and CEO of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce. “We know it will only get worse until we create a sustainable solution for funding transportation and are able to make the improvements we need to move more people and goods safely and efficiently. Reading the TRIP report paints the clearest picture possible of why Coloradans have been speaking out in frustration about the state of our transportation system. We’re paying today without any strategic investment of those dollars.”
Traffic congestion throughout the state is worsening, as many as 52 annual hours of delay for some motorists, and cost drivers up to $1,190 each year in lost time and wasted fuel.
Six percent of Colorado’s bridges are structurally deficient, with significant deterioration to the bridge deck, supports or other major components.
Traffic crashes in Colorado claimed the lives of 2,595 people between 2012 and 2016. Colorado’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.17 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel is on par with the national average of 1.18. The fatality rate on Colorado’s non-interstate rural roads is more than double that on all other roads in the state (1.97 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs. 0.96). The financial impact of traffic crashes costs the state’s drivers $2.1 billion annually.
The efficiency and condition of Colorado’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy. Annually, $323 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in Colorado, mostly by trucks, relying heavily on the state’s network of roads and bridges. Increasingly, companies are looking at the quality of a region’s transportation system when deciding where to relocate or expand. Regions with congested or poorly maintained roads may see businesses relocate to areas with a smoother, more efficient and more modern transportation system. The design, construction, and maintenance of transportation infrastructure in Colorado supports 77,308 full-time jobs across all sectors of the state economy.
“Driving on deficient Colorado roads comes with a $7.1 billion price tag for the state’s motorists,” said Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director. “Adequate funding for the state’s transportation system would allow for smoother roads, more efficient mobility, enhanced safety, and economic growth opportunities while saving Colorado’s drivers time and money.”
by the Numbers
MEETING THE STATE’S NEED FOR
SAFE, SMOOTH AND EFFICIENT MOBILITY
COLORADO KEY TRANSPORTATION FACTS
THE HIDDEN COSTS OF DEFICIENT ROADS
Driving on Colorado roads that are deteriorated, congested and that lack some desirable safety features costs Colorado drivers a total of $7.1 billion each year. TRIP has calculated the cost to the average motorist in the state’s largest urban areas in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC) as a result of driving on rough roads, the cost of lost time and wasted fuel due to congestion, and the financial cost of traffic crashes.
COLORADO ROADS PROVIDE A ROUGH RIDE
Due to inadequate state and local funding, 40 percent of major urban roads and highways in Colorado are in poor or mediocre condition. Driving on rough roads costs the annual Colorado driver $468 annually in additional vehicle operating costs.
COLORADO BRIDGE CONDITIONS
Six percent of Colorado’s bridges are structurally deficient, meaning there is significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components.
COLORADO ROADS ARE INCREASINGLY CONGESTED
Congested roads choke commuting and commerce and cost Colorado drivers $3.1 billion each year in the form of lost time and wasted fuel. In the most congested areas, drivers lose up to $1,190 and more than two full days each year in congestion.
COLORADO TRAFFIC SAFETY AND FATALITIES
Over the last five years, 2,595 people were killed in traffic crashes in Colorado. Traffic crashes in Colorado in 2016 imposed $6.2 billion in economic costs. Traffic crashes in which roadway features were likely a contributing factor imposed $2.1 billion in economic costs in 2016 – an average of $515 per Colorado driver.
TRANSPORTATION AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
The health and future growth of Colorado’s economy is riding on its transportation system. Each year, $323 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in Colorado, mostly by truck. Increases in passenger and freight movement will place further burdens on the state’s already deteriorated and congested network of roads and bridges.
The design, construction and maintenance of transportation infrastructure in Colorado supports 77,308 full-time jobs across all sectors of the state economy. These workers earn $3.4 billion annually. Approximately 1.1 million full-time jobs in Colorado in key industries like tourism, retail sales, agriculture and manufacturing are completely dependent on the state’s transportation network.
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.
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