Roads and bridges that are deteriorated, congested or lack some desirable safety features cost Missouri motorists a total of $7.8 billion statewide annually – as much as $2,0311 per driver- 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 Missouri, according to a new report released by TRIP, a Washington, D.C.-based national transportation research group.
The TRIP report, “Missouri Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe, Smooth and Efficient Mobility,” finds that throughout Missouri, one-half of major locally and state-maintained roads are in poor or mediocre condition and 13 percent of locally and state-maintained bridges are structurally deficient. The report also finds that Missouri’s major urban roads are becoming increasingly congested, causing significant delays and choking commuting and commerce.
Driving on Missouri roads costs the state’s drivers a total of $7.8 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 cost 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 Columbia-Jefferson City, Kansas City, St. Louis and Springfield areas. A breakdown of the costs per motorist in each area, along with a statewide total, is below.
The TRIP report finds that 24 percent of major locally and state-maintained roads in Missouri are in poor condition and 28 percent are in mediocre condition. Nineteen percent of the state’s major roads are in fair condition and the remaining 29 percent are in good condition.
Driving on rough roads costs the state’s motorists a total of $3 billion each year in extra vehicle operating costs, including accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.
Traffic congestion throughout Missouri is worsening, causing up to 45 annual hours of delay for drivers in the largest urban area and costing the state’s drivers $2.4 billion each year in lost time and wasted fuel.
Thirteen percent of Missouri’s bridges are structurally deficient, with significant deterioration to the bridge deck, supports or other major components. This is the 11th highest rate in the nation.
Traffic crashes in Missouri claimed the lives of nearly 4,200 people between 2012 and 2016. Missouri’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.28 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel is higher than the national average of 1.18.
The fatality rate on Missouri’s non-interstate rural roads is nearly two and a half times that on all other roads in the state (2.15 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs. 0.88). The financial impact of traffic crashes costs the state’s drivers a total of $2.4 billion annually.
“TRIP’s report shows bad roads cost Missourians money and time in big and small ways that add up to considerable expense, stress and frustration,” said Scott Charton, communications director for SaferMo.com. “Missouri voters have the opportunity on November 6 to do something to fix our roads by voting ‘YES’ on Proposition D, which will provide more than $400 million annually in new road and bridge funding across Missouri, including a 66 percent increase in state funding for local priority projects. Missourians can take a positive step for safer roads and safer streets by supporting Prop D.”
The efficiency and condition of Missouri’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy. Annually, $495 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in Missouri, 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 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. The design, construction and maintenance of transportation infrastructure in Missouri supports more than 79,000 full-time jobs across all sectors of the state economy.
“Driving on deficient roads comes with a $7.8 billion price tag for Missouri motorists – as much as $2,031 per driver,” 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 Missouri’s drivers time and money.