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Report: CA Roads Impact Drivers' Wallets

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

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Bridge and road conditions in California are estimated to cost the state’s drivers as much as $53.6 billion a year, according to a national transportation research group.

TRIP, a private nonprofit organization that researches, evaluates and distributes economic and technical data on surface transportation issues, suggests that without increased funding, those costs will continue to rise and transportation troubles will worsen.

The Washington, DC-based group published its findings in “California Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe, Smooth and Efficient Mobility,” released Wednesday (Aug. 17).

CA highway interchange
© iStock.com / Predrag Vuckovic

The combination of higher vehicle operating costs, traffic crashes and congestion-related delays resulting from driving on deficient roads ends up costing each California driver $2,800 a year, a national transportation research group says.

The report says that 37 percent of major locally and state-maintained roads throughout California are in poor condition, and 25 percent of California’s bridges are considered structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, TRIP said in a statement.

Moreover, the state’s major urban roads are becoming increasingly congested, with drivers expending significant amounts of time and fuel each year. And, the association adds, between 2010 and 2014, more than 14,000 people were killed in crashes on state roads.

"The TRIP report confirms what everyone in California knows: the transportation system in this state is in bad shape,” Will Kempton, executive director of Transportation California, a nonprofit coalition dedicated to achieving support for critical transportation improvements to protect the state's quality of life.

The Big Picture

In addition to the nearly 40 percent of major roads reported to be in poor condition, the TRIP report finds 42 percent are in mediocre or fair condition and the remaining 21 percent are in good condition.

When it comes to bridges, one quarter of the state’s spans show significant deterioration or do not meet modern design standards, according to TRIP.

San Diego bridge
© iStock.com / Art Wager

The report says that 37 percent of major locally and state-maintained roads throughout California are in poor condition, and 25 percent of California’s bridges are considered structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.

Eight percent of California bridges are reported to be structurally deficient, with significant deterioration to the bridge deck, supports or other major components.

Another 17 percent of the state’s bridges are functionally obsolete, which means they no longer meet modern design standards, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment, it adds.

“These conditions are only going to get worse if greater funding is not made available at the state and local levels,” said Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director.

“Without adequate investment, California’s transportation system will become increasingly deteriorated and congested, hampering economic growth and the quality of life of the state’s residents.”

Impact on Drivers, Economy

The TRIP report makes use of data on regional pavement condition, congestion levels, highway safety data and cost breakdowns to calculate the cost to motorists of insufficient roads in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco-Oakland and San Jose urban areas.

CA Road Costs
TRIP   

The TRIP report says bridge and road conditions in California end up costing drivers $53.6 billion each year statewide in terms of vehicle costs, accidents and congestion.

Driving on deteriorated roads, together with a lack of safety features, causes California drivers to bear $18.3 billion each year in extra vehicle operating costs (VOCs), including accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear, the report indicates.

Traffic accidents in which roadway design was a possible contributing factor cost residents $7.3 billion a year via lost household and workplace productivity, insurance costs and other financial costs, the report explains.

With traffic congestion in the state said to be worsening as well, delaying personal and commercial travel, drivers in the state drop $28 billion annually in lost time and wasted fuel as a result of traffic congestion, TRIP notes.

The combination of higher vehicle operating costs, traffic crashes and congestion-related delays ends up costing more than $2,800 per driver in some urban areas, TRIP says.

Additionally, the efficiency and condition of California’s transportation system, especially its highways, are essential to the health of the state’s economy, TRIP points out.

LA congestion
© iStock.com / lazyday

An increase in traffic congestion costs drivers in the state $28 billion annually in lost time and wasted fuel as a result of traffic congestion, TRIP notes.

Annually, $2.8 trillion in goods are shipped to and from sites within the state. Trucks carry 68 percent of these shipments, while another 19 percent are reportedly carried by courier services or multiple mode deliveries, which include trucking.

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 California, TRIP says.

“It is past time for our elected officials in Sacramento to step up and deal with this problem," Kempton stated.

About TRIP

Founded in 1971, TRIP promotes transportation policies that help relieve traffic congestion and its impact on air quality, improve road and bridge conditions, make surface travel safer, and enhance economic productivity.

According to its website, the organization 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 an efficient and safe surface transportation network that promotes economic development and quality of life.

   

Tagged categories: Bridges; Infrastructure; Market research; North America; Program/Project Management; Research; Roads/Highways; Transportation

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