ASCE Report Card rates nation’s roads as “Poor, At Risk”

ASCE 2017 Report CardThe 2017 Infrastructure Report Card, published by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), gives America’s roads a disappointing letter grade of “D”. The engineers at ASCE define “D” as infrastructure that is “Poor, At Risk”:

“The infrastructure is in poor to fair condition and mostly below standard, with many elements approaching the end of their service life. A large portion of the system exhibits significant deterioration. Condition and capacity are of serious concern with strong risk of failure.”

The statistics are astounding. When you include everything from multi-lane interstates to residential streets, more than 4 million miles of roads stretch across the United States. They form the backbone of America’s transportation system. Private motorists depend on our roadways for convenient access to work, school, shopping and travel. Companies in every industry rely on the highway system for reliable and timely delivery of everything from bulk commodities and machinery to thousands of items that line retail shelves.

In 2016 alone, U.S. roads carried people and goods more than 3 trillion miles. Additionally, Americans are driving more these days increasing total Vehicle Miles Traveled to record levels, second only to 2007.

But with more traffic on the roads, highway congestion throughout America is getting worse. Our highway capacity is far less than needed:

  • More than two out of every five miles of U.S. urban interstates are congested
  • All but five of the country’s largest metro areas experienced an increase in traffic congestion from 2013 to 2014
  • In 2014, Americans spent 6.9 billion hours delayed in traffic – 42 hours per driver
  • Time wasted in traffic delays consumed 3.1 billion gallons of fuel
  • The lost time and wasted fuel added up to $160 billion in 2014

A significant number of highways throughout the nation are also in poor condition:

  • 20% of the nation’s highways had poor pavement conditions in 2014
  • Urban roads are in much worse shape than rural due to consistently higher traffic volume
  • 32% of urban roads are in poor condition compared to 14% of rural roads
  • In 2014, driving on poor roads cost U.S. motorists $112 billion in extra vehicle repairs and operating costs

While the nation’s roads earned a “D” grade overall, ASCE’s Ohio Infrastructure Overview notes that Ohio faces infrastructure challenges of its own:

  • Ohio has 122,926 miles of public roads with 17% in poor condition
  • Driving on roads in need of repair costs each driver $475 per year

Ohioans can expect more state-specific data in the future. The Ohio ASCE Council of Local Sections will soon be updating the Ohio Infrastructure Report Card with release planned for late 2018. The most recent Ohio Report Card, which was originally published by ASCE in 2009, gave Ohio roads a grade of “D”. We look forward to seeing what our letter grades will be this time around!

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