Status of the Nation's Highways, Bridges, and Transit:
2002 Conditions and Performance Report
Part I: Description of Current System
Part II: Investment Performance Analyses
Part III: Bridges
Part IV: Special Topics
Part V: Supplemental Analyses of System Components
Since the last edition of the C&P Report, FHWA has adopted
three new measures of operational performance. These measures clearly
show congestion is increasing throughout the Nation.
Annual Hours of Delay:Annual Hours of Traveler Delay is an indicator of the total time an individual loses due to traveling under congested conditions. Cities with less than 500,000 population experienced the greatest percentage growth in the average annual delay experienced by drivers, from 4.8 hours in 1987 to 15.2 hours in 2000-an increase of 217 percent. Drivers in cities with populations under 500,000 were experiencing close to the same delays in 2000 as communities with populations between 1 million and 3 million in 1987.
Percent of Travel Under Congested Conditions:Percent of Travel Under Congested Conditions is defined as the percentage of traffic on freeways and principal arterial streets in an urbanized area moving at less than free flow speeds. Congested travel increased from 31.7 percent in 1992 to 33.1 percent in 2000. Based on this measure, the congested period, or "Rush Hour," increased from 5 to 5.3 hours per day over this period-approximately 18 minutes. For urban areas with populations greater than 3 million, 40.4 percent of daily travel in 2000 was under congested conditions.
Average bus speed
has remained relatively constant over the past decade, while rail speeds
have declined very slightly from their peak in 1991, reflecting growth in
the utilization of systems with heavy use and slower speeds.
Vehicle Utilization: Vehicle utilization is measured as passenger miles per vehicle adjusted to reflect differences in the capacities of each type of vehicle. On average, rail vehicles operate at a higher utilization level than non-rail vehicles. Between 1997 and 2000 vehicle utilization for rail vehicles increased while decreasing for bus and demand response vehicles.
Frequency and Reliability of Service: Waiting times vary according to the type of passenger making the trip. Passengers with limited incomes and without access to a private vehicle have the longest average waiting time (12.1 minutes); passengers with above-poverty incomes without access to a private vehicle have a slightly lower average waiting time (8.9 minutes); and those with access to a vehicle, but who choose to use transit (often to avoid road congestion), have the lowest average waiting time (7.3 minutes).
Seating Conditions: Seating conditions, measured by the percentage of passengers who find a seat unavailable upon boarding, are slightly worse for those with lower incomes and without access to a car.