TRIP has updated its national and state Surface Transportation System Fact Sheets, which contain the latest available data on the state of our surface transportation system. You can access the fact sheets and recently released state reports (and the resulting news coverage generated) at the following map-link, TRIP State Fact Sheets
The Following Are Key Facts About America’s Surface Transportation System And Federal Funding. (This Information was updated April 2010)
The nation’s roads and highways are the backbone of the U.S. transportation system, allowing Americans to travel approximately 3 trillion miles annually. But conditions on the system are deteriorating, as the need for transportation improvements far outpaces the amount of funding available. As the nation looks to rebound from the current economic downturn, making needed improvements to roads, bridges and public transit could provide a significant boost to the economy by creating jobs and stimulating long-term economic growth as a result of enhanced mobility and access.
Congress is currently deliberating over a long-range federal surface transportation program, the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation Equity Act – A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU). SAFETEA-LU was originally set to expire on September 30, 2009. Following a series of short term continuing resolutions, the current program now expires December 31, 2010. The level of funding and the provisions of a future federal surface transportation program will have a significant impact on future highway and bridge conditions and safety as well as the level of transit service, which, in turn, will affect the state’s ability to improve its residents’ quality of life and enhance economic development opportunities.
Federal Funding for Our Nation’s Surface Transportation System Generates Jobs; Making Needed Highway Improvements Assures Economic Recovery and Growth
• Our nation’s highways, transit systems, railroads, airports, ports and inland waterways drive our economy, enabling industry to achieve the growth and productivity that have made America strong and prosperous.
• A U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) study concludes that for each $1 billion of federal spending on highway construction nationwide nearly 28,000 jobs are generated annually.
• The USDOT also found that every dollar invested in the nation’s highway system yields $5.40 in economic benefits in reduced delays, improved safety and lower vehicle operating costs.
• Seventy-four percent of the $8.4 trillion worth of commodities delivered annually from sites in the U.S. is transported by trucks on the state’s highways. An additional 12 percent is delivered by parcel, U.S. Postal Service or courier, which use multiple modes, including highways.
• Approved in February 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided a total of $26.8 billion in stimulus funding for highway and bridge improvements and $7.5 billion for public transit improvements nationwide. This funding can serve as a down payment on needed road, highway, bridge and transit improvements, but it is not sufficient to allow states to proceed with numerous projects needed to modernize their surface transportation system.
Current Road and Bridge Conditions, Travel Trends and Traffic Congestion
• Thirty-three percent of America’s major roads are in poor or mediocre condition. Driving on roads in need of repair costs U.S. motorists $67 billion a year in extra vehicle repairs and operating costs – $335 per motorist.
• Twenty-five percent of America’s bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.
• Forty-four percent of America’s major urban highways are congested. Traffic congestion costs American motorists $78.2 billion a year in wasted time and fuel costs. Americans spend 4.2 billion hours a year stuck in traffic.
• Vehicle travel on America’s highways increased by 36 percent from 1990 to 2008, while new road mileage increased by only four percent. The nation’s population grew by 22 percent from 1990 to 2008.
• Americans rely almost exclusively on motor vehicles for mobility. Travel in private vehicles accounts for 88 percent of all person miles of travel. Air travel accounts for eight percent of all person miles of travel, while transit (including buses and trains) accounts for one percent.
Roadway Improvements Can Save Lives and Reduce Traffic Crashes
• Roadway conditions are a significant factor in approximately one-third of traffic fatalities. There were 37,261 traffic fatalities in 2008 in the U.S. A total of 207,574 people died on U.S. highways from 2004 through 2008.
• The national traffic fatality rate is 1.25 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel. • Motor vehicle crashes cost the U.S. $230 billion per year, $819 for each resident, in medical costs, lost
productivity, travel delays workplace costs, insurance costs and legal costs.
• Where appropriate, highway improvements such as removing or shielding obstacles, adding or improving medians, widening lanes and shoulders, upgrading roads from two lanes to four lanes, and improving road markings and traffic signals can reduce traffic fatalities and accidents and improve traffic flow to help relieve congestion.
• According to a study conducted by the Federal Highway Administration, $100 million spent on highway safety improvements will save 145 lives over a 10-year period.
Data from the U.S Census, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Texas Transportation Institute was compiled and analyzed by TRIP, a nonprofit transportation research group based in Washington, D.C. Information is the latest available.