Substandard roads are costing American drivers $80 billion in maintenance costs

| October 3, 2013

(Phto: VCU CNS / Flickr)

(Phto: VCU CNS / Flickr)

More than a quarter of major American urban roads are in substandard or poor condition and cost the average driver $377 annually, according to a report released Thursday by national transportation research group TRIP.

The report, “Bumpy Roads Ahead: America’s Roughest Rides and Strategies to Make Our Roads Smoother,” notes that 27 percent of the nation’s major urban roads, including Interstates, freeways and other arterial routes, have substandard pavements that provide rough rides and increase vehicle operating costs. Another 27 percent are in mediocre condition, while 15 percent are in fair condition and 31 percent are in good condition.

Additionally, 14 percent of America’s major urban roadways, including major rural roads, are in poor condition, while 19 percent are in mediocre condition, 17 percent are in fair condition  and 50 percent are in good condition.

Here’s a numerical breakdown of some of the report:

  • $377: Amount of money the average driver in the U.S. loses each year to vehicle operating costs (VOC) due to roads that need repair

  • $80 billion: Amount of money U.S. drivers collectively lose about each year to VOCs caused by rough roads

  • 37 percent: Amount overall vehicle travel increased from 1990 to 2011

  • 49 percent: Amount large commercial truck travel increased from 1990 to  2011

  • 25 percent: Amount overall vehicle travel is expected to increase by 2030

  • 64 percent: Amount heavy truck travel is anticipated to increase by 2030

  • $156 billion: Shortfall in costs the U.S. faces to maintain roadways through 2032

  • $374 billion: Shortfall in costs the U.S. faces to make modest improvements to roads

  • $670 billion: Shortfall in costs the U.S. faces to make significant improvements to roads

  • $36.5 billion: Amount all levels of government currently spend each year on road rehabilitation and preservation

  • $44.3 billion: Amount the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) estimates it needs annually to maintain roads

  • $70 billion: Amount the DOT estimates it needs annually to significantly improve roads

  • $38 billion: Approximate amount MAP-21 provides annually for transportation infrastructure annually in fiscal years 2013 and 2014.

  • 27,800 jobs: Number of jobs in every sector of the economy supported by each $1 billion invested in infrastructure

  • $5.20: Average benefit of each dollar spent on infrastructure improvements

The report offers recommendations to improve these figures, including a pavement preservation approach for transportation agencies, as well as an increase in funding.

For more details, check out the full TRIP report.

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