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Status of the Nation's Highways, Bridges, and Transit:
2002 Conditions and Performance Report

Executive Summary
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Executive Summary
Part I: Description of Current System
Ch1: The Role of Highways and Transit
Ch2: System and Use Characteristics
Ch3: System Conditions
Ch4: Operational Performance
Ch5: Safety Performance
Ch6: Finance

Part II: Investment Performance Analyses
Ch7: Capital Investment Requirements
Ch8: Comparison of Spending and Investment Requirements
Ch9: Impacts of Investment
Ch10: Sensitivity Analysis

Part III: Bridges
Ch11: Federal Bridge Program Status of the Nation's Bridges

Part IV: Special Topics
Ch12: National Security
Ch13: Highway Transportation in Society
Ch14: The Importance of Public Transportation
Ch15: Macroeconomic Benefits of Highway Investment
Ch16: Pricing
Ch17: Transportation Asset Management
Ch18: Travel Model Improvement Program
Ch19: Air Quality
Ch20: Federal Safety Initiatives
Ch21: Operations Strategies
Ch22: Freight

Part V: Supplemental Analyses of System Components
Ch23: Interstate System
Ch24: National Highway System
Ch25: NHS Freight Connectors
Ch26: Highway-Rail Grade Crossings
Ch27: Transit Systems on Federal Lands

Appendix A: Changes in Highway Investment Requirements Methodology
Appendix B: Bridge Investment/Performance Methodology
Appendix C: Transit Investment Condition and Investment Requirements Methodology
List of Contacts

Ch 3: System Conditions

Highway and Bridge

The ride quality of 86.0 percent of the total road mileage is rated "Acceptable" for 2000, up from 85.4 percent in 1999. Of the total rural road miles, 89.0 percent are rated as having acceptable ride quality, while 79.8 percent of total small urban road miles and 76.6 percent of the total road miles in urbanized areas are rated as having acceptable ride quality.

Miles with
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On the National Highway System (NHS), 93.0 percent of the pavements meet or exceed standards for acceptable ride quality. Of all vehicle miles traveled (VMT) on the NHS, 91.0 percent were on pavements with acceptable ride quality.

VMT on NHS Acceptable Pavements
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The condition of higher order roads improved, while those of the lower order roads declined. Three indicators are commonly used to describe bridge condition. Bridge component ratings provide a detailed description of elements, but these are more widely used within the engineering community. The number of deficient bridges is widely used by policymakers to describe bridge quality nationwide, but this indicator fails to provide a specific description of bridge elements. The Federal Highway Administration has developed a new indicator that will provide a better measure of bridges impact on mobility: the amount of deck area on deficient bridges.

In 2000, 27.9 percent of the Nation's bridge deck area was on bridges that were classified as structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. This percentage decreased on every functional system from 1996 to 2000. Rural Interstate bridges had the smallest amount in 2000 (about 15 percent), while urban collector bridges had the largest amount (39.6 percent).

Deficient Bridge Deck Area by Functional System, 2000

Other Principal Arterial
Minor Arterial
Major Collector
Minor Collector
Other Freeway and Expressway
Other Principal Arterial
Minor Arterial
Bridge Total


U.S. transit system conditions are determined by the aggregate number and type of transit vehicles in service, their average age and condition, the physical conditions and ages of bus and rail maintenance facilities, and the conditions of transit rail infrastructure components such as track, power systems, stations, and structures.

The Federal Transit Administration has undertaken extensive engineering surveys and collected a considerable amount of data on the U.S. transit infrastructure to evaluate transit asset conditions. A rating system of 1 to 5 is used to describe asset conditions.

Definitions of Transit Asset Condition

No visible defects, near new condition.
Some slightly defective or deteriorated components.
Moderately defective or deteriorated components
Defective or deteriorated components in need of replacement.
Seriously damaged components in need of immediate repair.

In 2000, the average condition of urban bus vehicles was 3.07, compared with 2.96 in 1997. The percentage of bus maintenance facilities in adequate or better condition decreased from 77 to 71 percent during this same period.

Distribution of Urban Bus Maintenance Facilities Condition, 2000
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The average condition of rail vehicles declined gradually throughout the 1990s. In 2000, all rail vehicles were estimated to have an average condition level of 3.55, down marginally from a re-estimated condition level of 3.61 in 1997. The average conditions of rail vehicles and rail facilities, except those for commuter rail, have been re-estimated to be lower than was reported in the last edition of this report based on additional information collected by engineering surveys between 1999-2001. This does not reflect a true decline in condition in earlier years for which the condition levels have also been revised. Urban rail maintenance facilities continue to age and their condition continues to decline. In 2000, 64 percent of all urban rail maintenance facilities were in good or better condition compared with 77 percent in the 1997. About 75 percent of this decline was due to methodological revisions.

Distribution of Condition of Urban Rail Maintenance Facilities Condition, 2000
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The average condition of the remaining non-vehicle transit infrastructure in 2000 is estimated to be similar to the average condition which existed in 1997, as reported in the 1999 C&P Report.
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