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Highways for LIFE

ArrowLeading Highway Construction in the 21st Century

Pete Rahn, Director
Missouri Department of Transportation
Highways for LIFE Session
TRB Annual Meeting
Jan. 12, 2005

PDF Version (240 kb)

The Challenge for Our Industry

MoDOT Mission: Our mission is to provide a world-class transportation experience that delights our customer and supports a prosperous Missouri.

Importance to Our Economy

  • Transportation accounts for nearly 11% of the U.S. GDP... placing 2nd to only healthcare at 15%.
  • 9 cents of every $1 spent by consumers on a manufactured good is for transportation.
  • 14 cents of every $1 spent by consumers on agricultural products is for transportation.
  • Over 7% of the total civilian workforce works in transportation related activities.

Importance to Individuals

  • The typical U.S. household spends between 17 and 19% of their income on transportation... 2nd only to housing at 24%.
  • The average American spends 443 hours annually behind the wheel of an automobile, with major metropolitan area congestion accounting for 4.5 billion hours of delay and 6.8 billion gallons of wasted fuel.

Highways for LIFE

Long Lasting Innovative=Better
Fast Construction=Faster
Efficient and safe=Less Cost

We must have all three!

Innovation only occurs when empowerment encounters need.

Why long lasting?

  • Federal deregulation = 132 percent increase in interstate motor carriers between 1990 and 2000
  • Freight tonnage to increase 70 percent between 1998 and 2020
  • International trade rose from $900 billion to $2.2 trillion from 1990-2000
  • Licensed drivers increased from 103 million in 1969 to 191 million in 2000 - an increase of 88 million drivers
  • Household vehicles increased by four percent a year from 1969 to 1990 - a 128 percent increase
  • Capacity on NHS routes was exceeded on 28 percent of the system during 1998
  • Expected to increase to 46 percent by 2020
  • 90 percent of urban interstates will approach/exceed capacity by 2020
  • Aging interstate system
  • One-third of our interstate system is in fair or poor condition

Congested roadway

Congested roadways

Dump truck on deteriorated roadway

Why Faster?

  • Average project takes 5-7 years from concept to construction
  • Major project (involving EIS) takes 8-10 years from concept to construction
  • Construction timelines routinely fail to require even optimum traditional construction processes, let alone new construction techniques and materials.
  • Our customers have told us: We take too long to do our job!

Why More Efficient?

  • Productivity:
    General Mills Plant-Hannibal, MO
    Transportation Productivity 1990-2000:
    • all business labor = +22.8%
    • non-local labor = +18.1%
    • local trucking labor = +65.3%
  • Shrinking resources:
    5 cent Federal gas tax from 1956 would have to be over 33 cents today to have held its purchasing power with CPI!
  • Global Competition:
    China is spending an estimated $96,500 per lane mile of road construction compared to $890,000 per lane mile in the U.S. Approximately 1/9 the cost.

We don't have to know the answers before we begin!

Presentation can be found on-line:

More Information



Scott Wolf
Center for Accelerating Innovation

PDF files can be viewed with the Acrobat® Reader®
Updated: 04/04/2011

United States Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration